The James River Rapids

AMST 4500: Kamya's Final Project- Tour of Texas Beach

The James River Rapids

Richmond, Virginia 23219, United States

Created By: University of Virginia


As we began to get closer to the river itself, we formed a closer view of the rapids- fast streams in the river that crash against rocks. The James River rapids are host to many different watersports such as kayaking yearly, but are dangerous to navigate at such high speeds. As a child I had some fear of the speed of the water and was nervous to even dip my feet in, as I was scared that I would be swept away into the vastness.

One of the major energy companies in Virginia and North Carolina, Dominion Energy, has many stations and facilities along the river, which it uses to power turbines that generate power. Power lines and 17 transmission towers owned by Dominion Energy have been major detractors from the landscape and have threatened the environmental integrity of the riverside, leading to widespread advocacy from environmental activists aiming to preserve the unique quality of the river. While indigenous folks used the river as a source of food and live, English colonizers wished to use it as a transportation hub bringing tobacco to Atlantic ports for shipment to Europe. The waterway soon went from beautiful and untouched to polluted- an industrial open sewer. In the mid-20th century, the river became so polluted that public access became prohibited out of public health concerns. The James River Park (comprised of natural areas, rocks, and rapids along the falls) was created to improve water quality and spare the natural wildlife and vegetation of the James from further contamination.

When environmental advocates became more cognizant of the "oustandingly remarkable" historical signficance of the James River, an advocacy organization called American Rivers filed an amicus brief with the courts to challenge construction of more power equipment by Dominion on the riverbank. Despite valiant efforts, Dominion Energy has continued to expand construction.

Sources: James River - American Rivers and History of the Park - Friends of the James River Park

Link to video:

This point of interest is part of the tour: AMST 4500: Kamya's Final Project- Tour of Texas Beach


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