Our Mission

To restore the Elizabeth River through equitable collaboration with diverse communities, businesses, and governments.

We Need Our River. Our River Needs Us.

By the 1990s, the Elizabeth River had been left for dead. Decades of unchecked pollution had rendered it lifeless, and in the eyes of many, hopeless. But then Hampton Roads’ people, businesses, governments and schools came together to Do Something Beautiful. They joined together to turn the tide of history and bring new life to the Elizabeth River. The most beautiful thing? You can Do Something Beautiful, too. Join us.

Our Story

The Elizabeth River Project is a growing non-profit organization leading the effort to restore the health of our historic urban river, while affirming her value to our region’s maritime economy.

Formed by four concerned residents over a kitchen table in 1991, our organization is a collection of community members, businesses, governments, students, educators and public servants working together to ‘Do Something Beautiful’ by restoring our home river. 

To that end, we rely on the power of partnership – rather than lawsuits and finger-pointing – to accomplish our restoration goals. That philosophy has become an international model for collective action, and led the Stanford Social Review to cite the Elizabeth River Project as one of the country’s best examples of convincing disparate interests to work together on a community project.

Commitment to Equity

We recognize that historically across this country, people of color disproportionately have borne the impacts of pollution. The Elizabeth River is for everyone, and we are committed to addressing these inequities as a cornerstone of our Watershed Action Plan for the Elizabeth River.

It is the policy of the Elizabeth River Project to take equity, inclusivity, and environmental justice into account in all decision-making. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement:

At Elizabeth River Project, we embrace diversity, inclusion, equity, and environmental justice as fundamental values of our river restoration work. Through active listening and intentional involvement, we seek to diversify our staff, board, and partners as we appreciate the unique perspectives and experiences of our diverse community. Our commitment extends to advocating for environmental justice, recognizing the intersectionality of social and environmental challenges. Together, we work towards a brighter future for the river and its people where everyone feels a sense of belonging and purpose within our organization and beyond.

At the Elizabeth River Project, we are committed to integrating DEI principles into all aspects of our work. By embracing diversity, promoting equity, and fostering inclusion, we believe we can restore the Elizabeth River in a way that benefits all communities and creates a healthier, more equitable future for both people and nature.


From Distinction Magazine

Marjorie Mayfield Jackson
Executive Director
The Elizabeth River Project

“From my perspective, there’s been a dramatic change in how people perceive the river and how much they care about it. People are enthralled with it. They never tell me it’s dead anymore. They just want to know what they can do to help.”


State of the River

The latest river report card by the Elizabeth River Project with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, HRSD, Virginia Department of Health and other area agencies and scientists.

Our Elizabeth – Executive Summary

Quick read of our equity-focused 2022 plan for community-wide action to restore the Elizabeth River.

Our Watershed Action Plan

The latest update to our Watershed Action Plan sets the course for a new decade of restoration and environmental equity on the Elizabeth River. 

Where the Elizabeth River flows

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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