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ICPRB Celebrates 80 Years

The commissioners and staff of ICPRB celebrate as 2020 marks our 80th anniversary of protecting and preserving the Potomac River basin.

These 80 years have seen incredible change in the Potomac basin, and much has been accomplished by ICPRB and many others to return the Potomac to a resource that its residents so gratefully use and rely on for drinking water, recreation, commercial/agricultural use, and a way to appreciate nature.

The commission will be telling its story during the year in a number of ways, including a social media “Throwback Thursday” series on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each Thursday throughout 2020, ICPRB posted a photo that highlighted the history of the river and the efforts to protect and preserve it throughout the past 80 years. Join in the conversation on social media by using #Potomac80.

Below is a slideshow of all the social media posts.


Anniversary Celebration Brochure

The Anniversary Celebration Brochure highlights the accomplishments of ICPRB over the last 80 years. Additionally, after 8 decades of success, we look to future decades with the fourteen recommendations from the Potomac River Basin Water Resources Comprehensive Plan.

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Is the Potomac Getting ‘Dirtier and Dirtier and Dirtier’?

A statement from Michael Nardolilli, Executive Director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin:

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has generated lots of discussion about the Potomac River in a recent interview that included his belief that the Potomac River has gotten ”Dirtier and dirtier and dirtier and dirtier. I go down there and that litter is left almost exclusively by immigrants, who I’m sure are good people, but nobody in our country—.”

The Potomac is certainly cleaner than it was 30 years ago in almost every respect. However, stormwater, and the litter it carries, remains a major impact to the Potomac. Stormwater collects litter from everywhere in the landscape and dumps it in waterways. Research suggests that trash in our rivers is a long-term problem throughout society and is not limited to any particular socioeconomic or racial group.

Research shows the large scope of the problem and assessed efforts to combat the issue, both in the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay cleanups. The annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup held every spring since 1989 brings thousands of volunteers to area waterways, showing the region’s strength of commitment. Many great organizations organize cleanup events throughout the year and we encourage basin residents to join them. These cleanup are underpinned by research showing that trash in our waterways is a problem created across social and economic boundaries.

Much progress has been made and the Potomac River is cleaner than it has been in decades. Litter is a problem, but it is not the only threat to our Nation’s River and it is certainly not linked with any specific group of people. Nutrients, sediment, and the medical and industrial chemicals placed in the river each day also contribute to the pollution problem. But even with these threats, the resilience of the river and its people is evident. Each day, the river provides clean drinking water, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat to those who are lucky enough to live within its watershed.

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ICPRB Activates Drought Monitoring

Most of the drinking water consumed in the metropolitan area comes from the Potomac River, which is now in its driest part of the year. Low river flows caused the ICPRB Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac (CO-OP) to begin daily monitoring of river conditions this week. Decreased river flow at the Point of Rocks gage on the Potomac (upstream from drinking water intakes) triggers the first stage of CO-OP drought monitoring, where river flow and, drinking water withdrawals are collected and assessed daily. If conditions continue to worsen, estimates of future demands will be included in the daily assessment. Currently, Point of Rocks gage shows a flow of about 1.16 billion gallons per day. Current water withdrawals for the metropolitan area total about 443 million gallons per day.

The current low river conditions are not unusual for this time of year, and the increased monitoring by CO-OP occurs in many years. The probability that releases of stored water from upstream reservoirs is still small. The enhanced monitoring is a part of a robust system employed by water suppliers, state water managers, and ICPRB to ensure that the region has a reliable source of drinking water even during drought conditions.