News

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Media From Around the Basin – February 22, 2024

ICPRB on the Hill, #PotomacLove, a riverkeeper’s review, and more in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Feb. 22, 2024 >>>

ICPRB on the Hill

Last Thursday, ICPRB staff briefed lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill about the issues facing the Potomac basin and the work we do to protect and preserve its waters. They joined the experts from our two sister Mid-Atlantic river basin commissions, the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. ICPRB’s aquatic biologist, Mike Selckmann, presented on his team’s research on harmful algal blooms.

ICPRB staff also met with elected leaders and their representatives to discuss federal funding for a study to make the DC Metro area water supply more resilient. In addition, ICPRB staff requested that the federal government carry out it’s statutory commitment to the organization.

ICPRB staff and commissioners shared their #PotomacLove

Last week, ICPRB staff, commissioners and our partners shared photos and sentiments about why they love the Potomac River. Check out the video of ICPRB posts or click on your preferred social media platform below to see all the #PotomacLove posts. We would love to hear why you love the Potomac River!

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Celebrating a Year of Protecting and Preserving the Potomac River

When entrusted with protecting and preserving the Potomac River and its resources, it is important to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. In our 2023 Annual Report, we do just that. We explore our mission, vision, values, and goals. We pay tribute to our colleague and friend, Curtis Dalpra, who unexpectedly passed early in the year. We celebrate the highlights and staff successes over the year. And finally, we set our sights on the goals and possibilities of 2024.

2023 Annual Report

ICPRBAnnualReport.2023 by Renee Bourassa

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News from around the basin – Feb. 8, 2024

Protecting our drinking water, the history of a Potomac island, funding for tree planting in underserved communities, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Feb. 8, 2024 >>>

Protecting our Drinking Water

Cover page to the DWSPP Annual Report - 2023In water-sector jargon, source water protection means protecting or improving the quality of water before it reaches the water treatment plant. Better water quality going into the plant means better water quality at your tap.

One organization addressing source water protection in the region is the Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership (DWSPP). Coordinated by ICPRB, this voluntary coalition of government agencies and water suppliers work together to address source water protection in the Potomac River watershed. Learn about their work addressing PFAS, conducting spill exercises, tracking permits, and addressing the winter salt issue in DWSPP’s recently published 2023 Annual Report.

Click here to read DWSPP’s 2023 Annual Report >>>

 

 

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News from Around the Basin – February 1, 2024

How road salt affects waterways, local history, drought advisories lifted, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Feb. 1, 2024 > > >

River Report

Impacts from the recent winter weather have been reflected in the river’s flow, reaching as high as 8 times the median for this time of year (as seen in the graph from the USGS Point of Rocks gage).

Temperatures dipped, creating icy conditions and interfering with gage functionality (the vertical blue line).

The temperature swings turned the weather from snowstorms to rainstorms. What happened to the winter salt during all that rain? If it wasn’t swept up, it was swept away into our rivers and streams.

The salty stormwater is dangerous for the critters that live in the creek, is destructive to infrastructure, and pollutes our drinking water. We were glad to see this important water quality issue widely covered in the news (WUSA9, WTOP, FOX5).

Wisconsin celebrated Winter Salt Awareness Week last week with a series of short webinars on the different aspects of winter salt impacts, including an environmental justice component, ecological consequences, and how to reduce our winter salt use.

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News from Around the Basin – January 25, 2024

A report from the Chesapeake Bay Program moves the needle on the Bay Barometer, winter salt runoff, where we are on drought, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Jan. 25, 2024 >>>

Moving the Needle on the Bay Barometer

ICPRB is just one of many organizations working together to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Chesapeake Bay Program recently released the Bay Barometer, which takes a look at the progress we have made towards the 18 outcomes set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

There is some good news. Oyster habitat, public access points, and protected lands are on-course for their restoration targets.

ICPRB’s stream health index, Chessie BIBI, also provides positive news, with the report noting that between 2012 and 2017, 67.8% of stream miles in the watershed were considered healthy, marking a 6% increase since the previous assessment period.

Learn about Chessie BIBI and explore the interactive map on ICPRB’s website >>>

Recording of ICPRB’s Webinar on Agriculture

On January 19, 2024, ICPRP hosted a webinar with speakers from Devereux Consulting and the National Association of Conservation Districts to cover the impacts that agricultural land use has on water quality in the Potomac basin and funding opportunities available to mitigate these effects.

The recording and presentations can be found on ICPRB’s website >>>

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ICPRB Holds Webinar on Agriculture and Water Quality

On January 19, 2024, ICPRP hosted speakers from Devereux Consulting and the National Association of Conservation Districts to cover the impacts that agricultural land use has on water quality in the Potomac basin and funding opportunities available to mitigate these effects. Check out the webinar recording below…

This webinar is held as part of the implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan. Previous webinars can be found on ICPRB’s YouTube page.

Presentations:

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News from around the Basin – January 18, 2024

From droughts to floods and dry to salty… lots of highs and lows for the river in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Jan. 18, 2024 >>>

Join tomorrow’s webinar

We will talk about water quality impacts from agricultural land use in the Potomac basin and what funding is available to mitigate them. Olivia Devereux from Devereux Consulting who will share about the impacts that agriculture in the Potomac basin have on water quality. Mark Masters and Annica McGuirk from the National Association of Conservation Districts will share funding sources for agricultural related practices in the region.

Click here to register >>>

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News from around the Basin – January 11, 2024

New sewer tunnels are working but others aren’t meeting their deadline, US Navy agrees to env. permit, calls for using less winter salt, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Jan. 11, 2024 >>>

River Report

Graph of adjustd flow at Little Falls showing a spike in flow.

After one of our driest summers on record, we have now received greater than 75% above average rainfall for the year. You’ll see in the graph that the adjusted flow at Little Falls (black line) has shot out of the 90th percentile range. However, we are only 11 days into that year.

Our drought conditions have improved, but are still sticking around. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 42% of the basin is in Abnormally Drought and 18% is in Moderate Drought conditions.

More rain is in the forecast for the next 3 days, which could result in more flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

Please be safe during flooding conditions. Don’t put your life, your passenger’s life, or first responders in danger. If you see a flooded street, turn around, don’t drown. WUSA9 provides additional tips to help protect your property from flooding.

Agriculture in the Watershed

Join us at noon on January 19 to learn about water quality impacts from agricultural land use in the Potomac basin and what funding opportunities are available to mitigate them.

Click here to sign up >>>

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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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News from around the basin – January 4, 2024

How to protect our drinking water during a snowstorm, staff adventures in the field, a ferry tale, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – Jan. 4, 2024 > > >

The mixed blessing of snow

Snow is in the forecast. When you work in water resources in the Potomac River watershed, snow is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, slowly melting snow refills our depleted groundwater, which is especially important after our dry 2023.

On the other hand, salt added to roads and sidewalks will run into our waterways, putting our drinking water, aquatic life, and infrastructure at risk. Our long history of winter salt use has increased the chloride levels in the Potomac River by 10-fold over the past 80 years.

Public safety is always the number one priority. However, using smart winter salting practices will ensure safety and reduce the amount of salt that ends up in our waterways.

Here’s what you can do:

❄️ Shovel First

🧂 Use Less Salt

🧹 After the storm, sweep it up and reuse it next time!

Let’s reduce our winter salt use to protect our drinking water, fish, and infrastructure! MWCOG has more tips and tricks for being Winter Salt Smart. #saltsmart

Graphic depictions of two sidewalks. One, under the heading, Not That, has piles of winter salt. The other, under the heading Do This, has only a sprinkling of winter salt.

A celebration of field work

Person standing in water next to scientific equipment.In 2023, ICPRB staff accomplished a variety of field activities, including monitoring for microplastics in Washington, D.C., tracking underground streams in the Cacapon River, and tagging and tracking fish in the North Branch Potomac. Stay tuned in 2024 for the results of these studies!

Find more photos of staff adventures on our Facebook page > > >

 

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