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.