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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.


Message from the Executive Director

Special Celebration on May 15, 2021

A special message from the Executive Director, Michael Nardolilli:
“Due to COVID-19 and the continued uncertainty about a “second wave” in the Fall, many similar events scheduled for the Fall have also been postponed. The new date of May 15, 2021 coincides with the 80th anniversary of the formal organization of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin on May 10, 1941. While the Interstate Compact was passed by Congress on July 11, 1940, the true “birthday” of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin did not occur until the organizational meeting on May 10, 1941. At that time, Governor Herbert R. O’Conor of Maryland was elected Chairman and Hugh R. Pomeroy, Director of the Virginia State Planning Board was elected vice-chairman. So, the new date is very fitting for holding the celebration.”

The year of celebration will culminate with a fundraising cruise on the Potomac River. All proceeds of the event will go towards implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan. For more information on the event, click on the picture below.

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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.