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News Release: A Fresh Path Forward for the Potomac River

ICPRB Commissioners approve updates to the Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan.

Click here for a PDF of this announcement >>>

The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) will use this as a tool to protect water supplies, drinking water sources, water quality, and aquatic life, and encourages other organizations to do the same.

Population changes in the Potomac River watershed (2010-2020).

Population changes in the Potomac River watershed (2010-2020).

“The Potomac River watershed is home to 6.9 million people. As the saying goes, we all live downstream. Practices and policies throughout the watershed impact our waterways. We expect this updated plan to continue to serve as a catalyst for sustainable water resources management throughout the watershed,” explains Michael Nardolilli, Executive Director of ICPRB.

The plan addresses water resources challenges to the watershed, including sustainable water uses and supplies, protecting and improving water quality, sustainably managing human land use, and protecting ecological health.

The Potomac River watershed includes parts of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as the entire District of Columbia. According to Nardolilli, most of the residents in the watershed rely on the Potomac River or its tributaries for drinking water.

The planning document, titled Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan, was originally published in 2018. The 2023 updates were the result of a yearlong review process by an advisory committee composed of regional governments, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions. It was officially adopted by the ICPRB Commissioners at the business meeting on March 12, 2024.

“The population in the Potomac River watershed has increased by 13% since 2010. With this immense growth, it is more important than ever that we practice smart and sustainable water resources planning. We think this Comprehensive Plan is the tool to achieve that vision,” says Nardolilli.

According to Nardolilli, milestones from the initial 2018 plan are mostly complete. New goals developed in the recent update are expected to begin in the spring of this year.

“It takes a watershed-wide effort to protect and preserve the Potomac River and its related resources. Through a diverse stakeholder group, the plan provides a voice for people and organizations throughout the basin. Further, the update highlights the need to reach the wonderfully varied communities of the basin, with particular focus on those disproportionately affected by water resources issues,” states Dr. Heidi Moltz, Director of Program Operations at ICPRB and an author of the plan.

Dr. Moltz shares some of the ways the public can get involved which are suggested in the new report:

  • Encourage and participate in stewardship activities that improve watershed conditions, such as trash pickups, reducing winter salt use, and picking up pet waste.
  • Share the plan with local politicians, water suppliers, environmental organizations, and civic organizations.
  • Use ICPRB-created tools such as the flow alteration from impervious cover map, the land prioritization tool, and land use webinars to make land use decisions that support sustainable water resources management.



Renee Bourassa, Communications Director
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin | Rockville, MD | 301.417.4371 | ICPRB

The 2023 Updates to the Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Plan can be found on ICPRB’s website at:

The ICPRB is an interstate compact commission established by Congress in 1940. Its mission is to protect and enhance the waters and related resources of the Potomac River basin through science, regional cooperation, and education. Represented by appointed commissioners, the ICPRB includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the federal government. The ICPRB affirms the importance of fostering diversity equity, inclusion, and justice in all activities. The Potomac belongs to all.

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ICPRB hires new General Counsel

The ICPRB has hired Rick Masters as its new General Counsel to replace long-time General Counsel Robert Bolle who retired at the end of 2023. Mr. Masters has engaged in extensive research and writing in the field of interstate compacts, including co-authoring the largest compilation of laws and commentary on the subject published by the American Bar Association in 2016 entitled “The Evolving Law and Use of Interstate Compacts (2nd Edition).” Mr. Masters also served for over 20 years as Special Counsel to the National Center for Interstate Compacts and authored the 2019 Legal Assessment of the Great Lakes Compact Commission.

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We are Hiring!

ICPRB is hiring for a Communications Director position.

We are seeking a Communications Director who will control and oversee the flow of communication and information between ICPRB and the public. This individual will be responsible for acting as the face of ICPRB at media events and directing marketing and public relations campaigns. We seek a dynamic team player who will set the tone for messaging and who can effectively portray ICPRB’s values and mission.

Learn more about the position and how to apply on our Jobs page.

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2022 Potomac Conference: A Conversation on PFAS

On September 22, 2022, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin held a virtual conference on the state of the science, policy, technology, and the future of PFAS in the Potomac River basin.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – or PFAS – are a class of ubiquitous chemicals known as “forever chemicals” that are used in everything from non-stick pans to takeout containers. The chemicals have been found in water, soil, and air. Scientific studies indicate that PFAS may be harmful to human health.

During the webinar, 220 attendees heard about how the basin jurisdictions and the U.S. EPA are addressing PFAS through policy and research. They also heard talks on the environmental justice perspective, the latest scientific research, and what other organizations across the basin are doing to address the issue.

Below you will find links to videos, and PDF presentations from the conference. The videos can also be found on the ICPRB YouTube Playlist: 2022 Potomac Conference: A Conversation on PFAS.

Conference Resources

Session 1: Opening

  • Welcome – Mike Nardolilli, ICPRB
  • Introduction – Lisa Daniels, PA DEP
  • Keynote: EPA’s Update on the PFAS Strategic Roadmap – Zachary Schafer, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for Water, US EPA
  • The Science of PFAS and Environmental Justice – Kimberly Jones, Howard University

Session 2: PFAS Occurrence in the Potomac Basin

Session 3: PFAS Policy and Regulation

  • Policy and Regulation in Potomac Basin Jurisdictions Panel – Moderator: Sarah Grace Hughes, ECOS
    • Joshua Rodriguez (DC)  •  Lee Currey (MD)  •  Lisa Daniels (PA)  •  Jeffery Steers (VA)  •  Mindy Neil (WV)


Session 4: Addressing PFAS through Technology

Session 5: Next Steps

  • Improving the Understanding and Coordination of Science Activities for PFAS in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: A Summary of the Chesapeake Bay Program Workshop – Emily Majcher, USGS
  • Advocacy Priorities to Address PFAS in Our Watershed – Brent Walls, Potomac Riverkeeper Network
  • What’s Next: Continuing the Conversation on PFAS – Lee Currey, MDE