Success Stories


Stephenson River Property

fine creek


Erosion was occurring on Fine Creek in Powhatan County, VA, with consequences for the creek as well as the James River downstream.



The property owners worked with James River Association staff and volunteers to replant the buffer area with native trees and shrubs.



The replanted buffer will help prevent erosion to the creek and to the James River and will attract and support wildlife, for years to come.

Planting the future

Michael and Nancy Stephenson heard about the James River Buffer Program from a presentation that Joey Shelton of the James River Association (JRA) provided to the Goochland/Powhatan Master Gardeners Association. They decided to contact him and submitted an application for their property in Powhatan County along the James River where they have erosion occurring.

On Wednesday, April 10, JRA, along with volunteers, came out to the Stephensons’ to plant 162 native trees and shrubs along Fine Creek down to the James River. It was a beautiful, overcast day with low humidity, perfect for planting. The ground was moist from the previous rains and the whole team finished up in about two hours.  It was fast, fun, and the Stephensons were grateful for the help and the opportunity to meet each volunteer.

“These trees and shrubs will aid in preventing erosion to the creek as well as the James River,” the couple noted. “Shelter will be provided to a variety of birds as the trees and shrubs mature. Food produced by the shrubs will eventually be abundant for a variety of wildlife to include songbirds, turtles, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc.” 

The variety of trees and shrubs planted including Arrowwood Viburnum, Silky Willow, Canada Serviceberry, Swamp White Oak, Redbuds Sycamore, Red Maple, Black Gum, Willow Oak, Swamp Oak, Elderberry Chokeberry Silky Dogwood, and Red Dogwood.

sycamoreCheck out the Consortium’s “Which Tree Should I Plant: A Guide for Selecting Riparian Trees and Shrubs in Virginia” to learn more about these and other riparian species.


Thanks so much to the James River Association and their James River Buffer Program for this opportunity to protect the James River and provide food and shelter to wildlife that travel through this area frequently.


JRA staff and an amazing crew of volunteers helped the Stephensons restore the buffer, above; below, Michael and Nancy Stephenson, at left, and their newly planted buffer

Michael and Nancy Stephenson
fine creek after

Before and after

map of powhatan county

The owners of this rural property understood the importance of buffers to the health of the land.

About the Project

Location: Powhatan, VA

Year Installed: 2024

Land type: Residential

Area of Riparian Buffer: .054 acres

Trees planted: 162

Improvements: A variety of native trees and shrubs were planted to restore the buffer along Fine Creek, a James River tributary

Programs used: James River Buffer Program

Key Partners: James River Association

Installed by: JRA and volunteers