James River downgraded to "C"

Despite a massive effort to rejuvenate the Chesapeake Bay, the health of one of its key tributaries is declining, a report issued Wednesday states.

The James River, which runs 350 miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Newport News, received a “C” grade, down from “C+” two years ago, according to the James River Association.

“I certainly hope it’s not the start of a nose dive,” Bill Street, the association’s executive director, said in a conference call. “I think this shows our progress has leveled off.”

The EPA, Virginia and other bay watershed states are drafting a 15-year plan — projected to cost tens of billions of dollars — to restore the bay’s water quality and organisms, such as the blue crab and oysters.

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