Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special scientific report in applied marine science and ocean engineering ; no. 7.


A comprehensive study of the physical and biological characteristics of the James Estuary has been carried out by oceanographers of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science under contract with the Virginia Commission of Fisheries. This research project, under way for three years, has been directed especially to the effects of the proposed James River Navigation Project channel dredging on physical features--i·~.,the structure and dynamics, of the estuary, and indirectly on oyster production. Five separate phases were carried out under the project (called Operation James River). These involved: 1) accumulation and study of relevant literature and data, 2) research into the physical characteristics of the James, itself, 3) studies of oysters and related organisms in the field, 4) research on relevant marine organisms under laboratory conditions, and 5) studies of "before and after" effects of channel dredging on the salinity and currents in the especially-constructed hydraulic model.

OJR has produced much new knowledge of the biological, chemical, geological and physical characteristics of the tidal James which is of great value scientifically and also will be of value in the future development of the James River Basin. Of greater immediacy, the physical studies indicate clearly that the proposed channel deepening will cause changes in the salinity and current regimes of the estuary. Biological research, however, shows that these physical changes will have no significant effect on the production of seed or market oysters in the James Estuary. If conducted properly, the dredging will not affect other marine populations significantly. Future proposals for alterations in the physical, chemical and geological characteristics of tidal James should be evaluated just as carefully.


Evaluation of the physical and biological effects of the proposed James River Navigation Project.



Dredging -- Environmental aspects -- Virginia -- James River; Salinity -- Virginia -- James River; Oyster culture -- Virginia -- James River; Marine biology -- Virginia -- James River

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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