Water Resources Planning

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin


The ICPRB actively participates in national initiatives to enhance water resources planning and assessment capabilities such as the the federal Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS) initiative.

The ICPRB participates in a number of national professional organizations including the Interstate Council on Water Policy (ICWP) and the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA).


In collaboration with existing state authorities and other basin stakeholders, ICPRB developed a Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan which works towards the sustainable management of this interstate resource. The plan identifies and develops management recommendations for water resources issues of interstate and/or basin-wide significance.

ICPRB evaluated state water withdrawal data collection efforts and made recommendations for aligning efforts throughout the basin. Consistent basin-wide withdrawal data would improve the capability for interstate considerations in water use permitting, planning, and decision-making. The report is available upon request.


Upon request, ICPRB assists in the development and implementation of state water plans and other state-wide water resource-related investigations.

In West Virginia, ICPRB hosted a series of water resource management trainings and contributed a number of technical analyses to the state water plan. As part of the state planning effort, ICPRB prepared reports for the Department of Environmental Protection on topics including non-consumptive use, impacts of anthropogenic activities, cooperative water supply operations, water resources sustainability and safe yield, consumptive use projections, and water conservation measures.

The ICPRB was involved in the state water plan process in Pennsylvania, initiated under Act 220 of 2002. Specifically, ICPRB evaluated watersheds in the Potomac portion of the Commonwealth to identify potential Critical Water Planning Areas. Two of the watersheds underwent extensive evaluation including Marsh and Rock Creeks. The Critical Area Resource Plan for the Marsh and Rock creek watersheds was subsequently prepared by ICPRB (see description under local/regional planning efforts).

We continue to participate on the local, regional, and state-wide water resources committees in Pennsylvania that review and oversee the planning effort.

Partnering with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), ICPRB conducted a study on nitrous oxide emission reductions from agricultural land in Maryland. The project assisted NRCS in developing Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative programmatic guidance. The final report is available online.


Due to their potential downstream and interstate impacts, ICPRB participates in local and regional planning and assessment efforts.

North Branch Potomac Scoping Study: This is a multi-year study to determine if an update of the Army Corps’ 1997 Water Control Plan for Jennings Randolph Lake is needed.

Pennsylvania Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan: The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was established in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to specified targets by 2025. Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPS) are required by each jurisdiction to explicitly identify how the pollution reduction goals will be accomplished.  The third version of the plan, the Phase 3 WIP, is currently under development in Pennsylvania. The Phase 3 WIP process utilizes a bottom-up, local stakeholder-driven approach to achieve county-specific goals for full achievement of statewide reductions.  As a first step in identifying practical, implementable local actions, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Pa. DEP) is conducting a pilot effort in four counties. Two of the pilot counties, Adams and Franklin, are in the Potomac basin. ICPRB is assisting SRBC and Pa. DEP with the development of the Phase 3 WIP for Adams and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania.

Broad Run Stressor Analysis: The Broad Run watershed covers 86 square miles in northern Virginia. The majority of the watershed lies in Loudoun County with the remainder in Fairfax County.  In fall 2018, ICPRB expects to assist Va. DEQ with a stressor analysis to identify the most probable pollutant(s) associated with the benthic impairments. Va. DEQ will use the stressor analysis in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) process to address bacteria impairments in the watershed.

Goose Creek, Virginia: In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local stakeholders, ICPRB developed an Implementation Plan and Technical Report for a portion of the Goose Creek watershed in Loudoun and Fauquier counties (Upper Goose Creek, Cromwells Run, and Little River) to address bacteria impairments identified in a 2003 TMDL. The plan was approved by the U.S. EPA in April 2018.

Adams County, Pennsylvania: In collaboration with a local advisory committee, concerned citizens, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, ICPRB prepared the Critical Area Resources Plan for the Marsh and Rock creek watersheds. The voluntary plan identifies water resources issues in the watersheds and enumerates practical, implementable solutions. ICPRB maintained the  Marsh and Rock blog as a communications tool during the CARP development process. ICPRB also participates in the county’s Water Resources Advisory Committee. As part of the collaboration with ICPRB, the USGS monitors groundwater levels in a network of wells in the area.

Fairview Beach, Virginia: ICPRB, in collaboration with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local stakeholders, prepared the first non-TMDL watershed plan to address a water quality impairment in Virginia. Learn more about the project or download the complete report.

North Branch Potomac River Advisory Committee: The NBPRAC is a stakeholder advisory group that focuses on advising management of the Jennings Randolph and Savage River reservoirs to help better meet project goals of providing drinking water, flood control storage, and in-lake and downstream recreational fishing and boating opportunities. Learn more about the initial efforts to inform decision making in the region through the North Branch Shared Vision Plan.

Mid-Atlantic Carbon Symposium: ICPRB held a one-day conference on February 16, 2010, to focus on an interstate approach to a regional voluntary carbon trading market in the Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.

Watershed Resources Registry for Mattawoman Creek, Maryland: ICPRB assisted a state and federal inter-agency team with determining and documenting how the interactive, online repository for watershed data could be used to guide development decisions in Charles County, Maryland. The full report is available for download.