News

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Residential Oil Tanks: What you Need to Know

Image courtesy of David Bonta on Flickr.

Image courtesy of David Bonta on Flickr.

Without proper care, old and rusted heating oil tanks can cause costly leaks and spills. Underground tanks are especially problematic because they can leak for years without notice. Large toxic spills may get all the media-fueled attention, but these silent, slow leaks add up to one major environmental problem for the Potomac River basin and its residents. Read more…

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There’s an app for that!

Do you have a favorite stream that you paddle, fish, or walk along? Have you found areas where stringy green algae seems to always grow? How about new stands of plants, or areas where the water always seems green with algae? Would you share your observations with us?

In ICPRB’s  5th year studying the prevalence and ecological impact of algae and plants in freshwater systems, our biologists hope to expand the project’s range and scope to include more rivers and streams affected by dense plant blooms. Logistically, this task is daunting without the help of volunteers. For this project, we are asking volunteers in different organizations throughout the Potomac basin to report bloom areas that they regularly visit. Ideally ICPRB biologists hope to identify more hot spots within the basin to later target more exhaustive localized research efforts.

The reporting network will be made up of volunteers and researchers found throughout Potomac waters. Using a newly developed smartphone APP we hope to get snapshots of these sites throughout the basin. This work can be done by watershed or other groups, or interested individuals. Read more…

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April Water Supply Outlook Available

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin provides a monthly Water Supply Outlook and Status from April to October of each year. Based on careful data analyses, the report provides information on the possibility of a water release from local reservoirs. Read the April Report… 

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Eagles, Ospreys, and Falcons…oh my!

It’s finally spring. Along with cherry blossoms and warmer weather, this time of year brings new wildlife young. We are lucky to live in an area with an abundance of these new little creatures along the Potomac river and its surrounding areas. We are even more lucky to have great organizations that set up cameras to watch the little ones grow.

The National Arboretum Eagle Cam features a pair of Bald Eagles, known as “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” perched in a Tulip Poplar tree in the National Arboretum. They have two eaglets that were born in mid-March. The American Eagle Foundation is currently taking name suggestions for the new little birds. 

The Chesapeake Conservancy has two bird cameras. The Osprey camera features “Tom” and “Audrey” who will be making a family in their cozy nest for the second year in a row. “Boh” and “Barb,” in the Peregine Falcon camera, have already laid four eggs.  

The Earth Conservation Corps has their eyes trained on “Liberty” and “Justice,” a pair of Bald Eagles who have made their home in SE Washington, DC for the past eleven years.

The Bald Eagle cam on the grounds of the US Fish and Wildlife National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia has been active for over a decade. You can watch “Bell” and “Ben” feed their eaglets while looking over the NCTC campus.

Bonus cams! Watch the American Shad on the Shad Cam run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Although not active yet, these native fish should be making their way up the river soon. Done with wildlife? Check out this live view of the Southwest DC Waterfront where construction of the $2 billion project known as The Wharf is underway.

Below, Jim Cummins of ICPRB explains why eaglet eggs hatch this time of year:

 

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Potomac Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership – 2015 Annual Report

The Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership (DWSPP)  is coordinated by staff at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.

DWSPP is pleased to share the 2015 Annual Report. Inside you will find:

  • a note from the 2015 Co-chairs from the District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment and Washington Aqueduct;
  • a summary of 2015 activities; and
  • our plans for 2016, including gathering information on chemicals stored in the basin, further improving regional spill response, and exploring a role for the Partnership related to toxic and non-toxic algae.

Many thanks to all of you who participated in their efforts to protect Potomac basin source waters in 2015. We hope to see you again this year!

To learn more about the Partnership and upcoming activities, visit www.PotomacDWSPP.org.

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Help Us Learn More About the Potomac

Do you have a favorite stream that you paddle, fish, or walk along? Have you found areas where stringy green algae seems to always grow? How about new stands of plants, or areas where the water always seems green with algae? Would you share your observations with us?

In ICPRB’s  5th year studying the prevalence and ecological impact of algae and plants in freshwater systems, our biologists hope to expand the project’s range and scope to include more rivers and streams affected by dense plant blooms. Logistically, this task is daunting without the help of volunteers. For this project, we are asking volunteers in different organizations throughout the Potomac basin to report bloom areas that they regularly visit. Ideally ICPRB biologists hope to identify more hot spots within the basin to later target more exhaustive localized research efforts.

The reporting network will be made up of volunteers and researchers found throughout Potomac waters. Using a newly developed smartphone APP we hope to get snapshots of these sites throughout the basin. This work can be done by watershed or other groups, or interested individuals. For more information, contact Mike Selckmann at GMSelckmann@icprb.org.

A close-up of a man's face.

The Passing of a Commissioner

The ICPRB is saddened to announce the death of former Pennsylvania Commissioner Andy Zemba. Mr. Zemba, 50, passed away at his home on January 3. He was the director of the Interstate Waters Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). His responsibilities as an ICPRB Pennsylvania Commissioner had recently been assumed by DEP Special Secretary of Water Resources Planning Kelly Heffner.

Mr. Zemba was appointed a Pennsylvania commissioner in 2011, served on the executive committee, served as vice-chairman in 2014 and chairman in 2015. During his tenure, Mr. Zemba worked closely with ICPRB in efforts to help with Pennsylvania’ Water Resources Planning Act, which involves stakeholders in planning for sustainable water resources. Mr. Zemba worked with ICPRB, which helped to assess needs and develop plans in the state’s Potomac drainage.

As vice-chairman, and later chairman, Mr. Zemba helped ICPRB administrate a range of efforts. He brought with him a positive attitude toward the ICPRB, and was always constructive in guiding the commission in protecting and preserving the waters of his state and the basin. We thank him for his many efforts and contributions. He is missed by the commission and Pennsylvania.

For information on the services or to send condolences to the Zemba family, please visit:
http://www.parthemore.com/obituaries/obituary-listings?obId=706768#/obituaryInfo

A picture of a bridge across a river. It is slightly foggy. It is a stone bridge with three arches.

The Relationship Between Forest Cover and Source Water Protection

Water utilities across the United States and the world face difficult decisions in evaluating source water protection opportunities. While source water protection is seen as an important component of a multi-barrier approach to providing high-quality drinking water, it can be difficult to assess the financial benefits of specific programs.

A new project, conducted by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, seeks to explore the relationship between forest cover and source water protection. This project will apply sophisticated watershed modeling tools to determine the potential impacts of forest loss on water quality, and how this in turn may affect drinking water treatment costs. The results will provide an initial step for evaluating the costs and benefits of protecting forested land within the non-tidal Potomac River basin. Read more…