Potomac News Reservoir

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News from Around the Basin – June 29, 2023

Click here to see the full Potomac News Reservoir – June 29, 2023.

Celebrating Safely

Many people will grab their boat, kayak, or paddleboard during this long weekend to spend time relaxing on the water. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

⛈️ Check water levels and the weather before heading out.

📢 Let someone know your plans.

🦺 Wear a lifejacket.

👀 Avoid suspect water.

Safety is important both on and off the water. Drought conditions and elevated fire risks throughout the basin have officials urging everyone to think twice about their pyrotechnics display. Fireworks start over 19,000 fires each year. To keep from being part of the 2023 statistics, please leave the fireworks to the professionals.

From all of us at ICPRB, we hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Potomac River Conditions

When it rains, it pours. Literally. The Potomac watershed received an average of 1.8 inches of rain since last week’s newsletter, with the most rain seen in the southern reaches of the watershed. The river flow at Point or Rocks quickly surpassed the median flow. The river’s flashiness is on display once again, as the yellow peak heads south.

Even with all the rain, the Potomac watershed is still 3.1 inches below the 3-month average. As the NWS Mid Atlantic River Forecast Center map shows, precipitation averages are low across the Chesapeake Bay. At least there was a perk to our dry spring, a smaller dead zone in the Bay. (Graph: USGS Gage at Point of Rocks)

Current flow: 6440 cfs

Median flow: 4460 cfs

90 Day Precipitation: 3.1 inches below average

Reminder: We’re Hiring!

Applications are due tomorrow for the Outreach Program Manager position, so get those resumes in soon!

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Media From Around the Basin – May 4, 2023

Click here to see the full Potomac News Reservoir – May 4, 2023

PFAS Monitoring in the Potomac River Basin

Have you seen PFAS mentioned in the news lately? PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals”,  are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances found in food packaging, non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and many other items we use on a daily basis. The chemicals are linked to negative human health impacts, including cancer, fertility issues, and immune-system changes. Due to their pervasiveness and prevalence, they can be found in our food, drinking water, and even the air we breathe.

Screenshot of Map of monitoring locations in the Potomac Basin. As the science and regulatory landscapes around PFAS are quickly changing, government agencies and water utilities are closely tracking the situation. Recently, ICPRB worked with members of the Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership (DWSPP) to develop an interactive map featuring PFAS sampling locations in the basin. The webpage, PFAS in the Potomac Basin, includes a review of federal regulations and the regulatory status of PFAS in each state in the basin—Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The map is not comprehensive, but a starting point for tracking monitoring in the region. It will be updated as more data is gathered.

Learn more about PFAS in the Potomac Basin > > >

The U.S. EPA has a website dedicated to PFAS information. Potomac-focused information can be found in the presentations and videos from ICPRB’s 2022 Potomac Conference: A Conversation on PFAS.

Fishing Reports

Spring is the air and that means many people will be throwing a line in the water. Find fishing reports and other fish-focused news at the bottom of the newsletter.

ICPRB in the Community

WEBINAR: Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture (May 12, Virtual)

Anacostia River Festival (May 20, Washington, D.C.)

Find these and other events around the Potomac watershed on our Events Calendar.


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Media from Around the Basin – March, 30, 2023

Potomac News Reservoir

Remembering the Colonial Pipeline Spill

Thirty years ago this week, an oil spill in a suburban Virginia town wreaked havoc on the Potomac River. It put drinking water at risk, created toxic fumes, and decimated local wildlife. We explore the impacts that endure on drinking water resources in a recent article.

*Cancelled* Saturday’s Walk in the Woods: Lets be Smart about Winter Salt

Due to the pending storms, Saturday’s Walk in the Woods: Let’s be Smart about Winter Salt event has been cancelled. The walk will be rescheduled for the fall. Stay tuned for the new date. In the meantime, head over to the Izaak Walton League’s Salt Watch program to take the Salt Watch Pledge and get a free stream monitoring kit.

We are Hiring

Applications are due tomorrow for the Communications Director position. Check out our jobs page for more information.


Pushback on weapons testing on the Potomac, new fly fishing trail, a changing climate changes the river, & more in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – March 30, 2023.

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Media from around the basin – March 16, 2023

Continuing Curtis’ Legacy

As you may have heard, our friend and colleague, Curtis Dalpra, passed away on March 5, 2023. We would like to thank all of those who sent condolences and memories. It is evident by the outpouring of love and support, that he inspired many people during his four-decade career at ICPRB.

Among his many responsibilities here at ICPRB was the weekly Potomac News Reservoir. We will continue his legacy by sharing news and information from around the basin that informs the public as well as inspires stewardship of the Potomac River.

Upcoming ICPRB Events

Walk in the Woods: Let’s be Smart About Winter Salt (April 1 in Gaithersburg, MD)

Stream Cleanup: Rock Creek (April 15 in Frederick, MD)

Walk in the Woods: Frederick Municipal Forest (April 29 near Frederick, MD)


Find news from around the basin in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir.

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Media from around the Basin — February 16, 2023

Good News for the Bay

New data shows an improvement in stream health across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A popular song in the hit Broadway show, Rent, asks how to measure a year. In minutes? In moments? A recent report from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) explores how scientists can measure stream health. By macroinvertebrates? By miles? The experts at the Chesapeake Bay Program think so. Chessie BIBI, a data-tracking tool used to calculate the health of small- to medium-sized streams, suggests a roughly 6 percent improvement in stream health in the Bay watershed.

The Chesapeake Basin-wide Index of Biotic Integrity, known in the water-world as Chessie BIBI, is a multi-metric index calculated from the numbers and types of small animals, called macroinvertebrates, that live in free-flowing (non-tidal) streams of the Bay watershed. The index relies on data collected by state, federal, county, and volunteer monitoring programs to track the number of “healthy” stream miles in the region from year to year. Chessie BIBI is a long-term ICPRB evaluation that provides water quality assessment for the Potomac basin and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

According to the report, there are many ways to measure stream health. Chessie BIBI is just one of them, but it is a good overall indication of stream health across the Bay watershed. Dr. Buchanan says that Chessie BIBI can be used as a management tool to track progress across jurisdictional boundaries and towards the goals set out in the Bay Agreement.

Upcoming ICPRB Business Meeting on March 7, 2023

The ICPRB will virtually hold its first quarter business meeting on March 7, 2023. Commissioners will be updated on ICPRB efforts to enhance drinking water supply resiliency, the successful Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee meeting, and a presentation on the 30th Anniversary of the Colonial Pipeline Spill on the Potomac. The public is invited to view the virtual meeting. Please Contact Us for more information on how to attend.

Find more news about Chessie BIBI, stream health, and PFAS in the Potomac News Reservoir.