News from Around the Basin – November 16, 2023

Books to read, hikes to go on, plus sharks and beavers. We’ve got it all in today’s Potomac News Reservoir!

The River Report – A Harbinger of Drought?

Dry weather continues throughout the basin.

If you read last week’s newsletter, you saw that the current flow trends are similar to those found in previous drought years, which could signify more intense drought conditions to come. However, meteorologists are predicting a particularly snowy winter. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that is the case! It is predicted that most of the precipitation won’t be seen until the new year, so dry conditions might continue through the end of the year.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) maintains a “normal” drought stage as defined by the Metropolitan Washington Water Supply and Drought Awareness Response Plan.

The DC metro area is well protected during a drought due to decades of planning and preparation by ICPRB and our partners. However, it is always a good idea to practice wise water use by turning the faucet off when not in use and running your laundry/dishwasher only when full. Find more wise water use from Water Use It Wisely >>>

The Sum of its Parts: Calculating Stream Health

When it comes to watersheds, the whole can only be as great as the sum of its parts. Last week, ICPRB staff, Dr. Claire Buchanan and Rikke Jepsen, demonstrated a way to measure stream health using the Chessie BIBI — an index of biological health for streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Click here to explore the interactive map of the Chessie BIBI Stream Health Index.

The presentation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission included an overview of current monitoring efforts in the Chesapeake watershed and how streams have — or have not — improved. A PDF of their presentation is available.

One monitoring project discussed were the findings of the report about Potomac River Water Quality at Great Falls: 1940 – 2019 which included a heatmap showing the increasing chloride levels in the Potomac River over the past 80 years.

Increased chloride levels can pollute our drinking water, be dangerous for aquatic life, and be damaging to infrastructure.

Learn about the impacts of winter salt use and what you can do to make a difference >>>