Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

Two men rowing a canoe in Point of Rocks, Md.


The mission of ICPRB is to protect and enhance the waters and related resources of the Potomac River basin through science, regional cooperation, and education. Considered the “Nation’s River,” for more than six million basin residents, the river plays an important role in the lives of all. Through regional cooperation and partnerships, ICPRB is protecting the river and improving the quality of life in the watershed.

Download an ICPRB and Potomac basin fact sheet


Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1940, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin is an advisory, non-regulatory interstate compact agency of the Potomac basin states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The federal government also is a member. ICPRB was formed in response to extreme pollution levels that required a regional, cooperative response by all the jurisdictions. In 1970, amendments to the compact empowered ICPRB to address not just pollution issues, but water resources and related land issues by two or more jurisdictions.

The river’s water quality has in many ways vastly improved, but threats to the river (population increases, land use change and the growth of impervious surface, chemical contaminants, and nutrient and sediment enrichment) require regional attention. The regional efforts needed to address these challenges help to inform ICPRB’s Strategic Plan.

Facts about the Potomac Basin

Commissioners and Staff

ICPRB jurisdictions are represented by appointed Commissioners. The staff includes professionals from various disciplines, including environmental engineers, aquatic ecologists, biologists, and professionals in communications. One staff member works directly with the Chesapeake Bay Program out of their Annapolis, Maryland, office.

Learn more about the history of the Potomac and ICPRB

Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ)

The ICPRB Commissioners adopted the following DEIJ Policy Statement at the December 15, 2023 quarterly meeting:

The mission of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) is to protect and enhance the waters and related resources of the Potomac River Basin through science, regional cooperation, and education. Given that the Potomac River serves more than six million residents, the ICPRB affirms the importance of fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in all activities. The Commission understands that increasing the diversity of its workforce, broadening outreach to marginalized and vulnerable communities, and actively considering equity issues in all of its work will enhance the ability of the ICPRB to fulfill its mission.

This statement complements several references in ICPRB’s Staff Manual of Operations and the most recent Strategic Plan. Specifically, to grow a diverse workforce, create a broader outreach to — and in support of — marginalized/vulnerable communities, and support environmental justice. In addition, DEIJ is a critical focus area in the 2023 update to the Potomac River Basin Water Resources Comprehensive Plan.

Looking for up-to-date information on the Potomac River basin? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our Newsletter!