May 28, 2023

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The Potomac River earned a B on the 2022 report card

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Since 2007, the Potomac Conservancy has released progress reports in the form of a letter grade that reflects the health of the river. The report is in for 2022.

WASHINGTON — The Potomac River received a B for 2022. This grading system is done to see how well the Potomac is holding up to the goals laid out in the 1972 Clean Water Act.

“It’s an improvement from a B- three years ago and more importantly I think from a dreadful D back in 2011,” explains Hedrick Belin, the President of the Potomac Conservancy.  “So our river report card confirms that the Potomac is making a comeback and it’s much cleaner than it used to be and more people are getting out and enjoying it than ever before.”

Over 20 different water quality measurements are used to monitor the rivers progress and complete a thorough health assessment.

“We know that this grade reflects upon a lot of the work that we do on a daily basis so having that grade go up really means a lot to us,” said Director Jackson from the DC Department of Energy and Environment.

Director Jackson went on to stress that while we have come a long way, there is still work to be done. Some of the remaining challenges to get the Potomac up to an A include managing storm water runoff and litter control.

Martha Shimkin, Deputy Director from the Chesapeake Bay Program Office at the EPA, was also in attendance as the report was released. She added that climate change is also a concern moving forward. 

“It causes more intensity, frequency and duration of storms. Puts more urban runoff into the rivers. And so everything that we do matters. If you see trash on the ground and pick it up, you have helped conserve the river. And that will help us get that B going up to an A mark.”

The five indicators used to measure the state of the river are: pollution, fish, habitat, land and people. 

According to the Potomac Conservancy, progress in these indicators demonstrates the stewardship of the river is paying dividends for the waterway and those who enjoy its many benefits.

2023-05-16 19:53:04

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