- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
- HUMPRHIES: The Liberal Bully of the Week is …
- Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met if he got close to Clinton, mascot claims
Pollution down, fish recovering in Potomac
River’s health given grade of C in conservancy’s report
The Potomac River earned an overall grade of C on its 2013 State of the Nation’s River report card, a step in the right direction from its previous D, conservationists said, but a score that leaves much room for improvement.
Pollution is down and fish populations are up, according to the Potomac Conservancy’s report, but the growth rate of underwater grass — a key indicator of a healthy river — dropped below 40 percent for the first time in seven years.
“Our 2013 report shows the Potomac River is moving toward recovery,” said Hedrick Belin, president of the Potomac Conservancy. “The report also documents some troubling signs that are on the horizon.”
Though still a problem, wastewater levels earned an A-minus from the conservancy for reaching an 82 percent compliancy rate for treatment facilities to meet water quality standards. Nitrogen loads were down, as were sediment loads. Phosphorus levels, however, remain a problem.
And while more than 50 percent of the nontidal streams in the Potomac River Basic had good or fair water quality, nearly 37 percent of those streams were in poor or very poor condition.
“We are still learning what a restored Potomac might look like,” said Claire Buchanan, associate director of Aquatic Habitats at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. “We’re finding out achieving one goal of the ecosystem does not necessarily mean achieving the goal of other features.”
The report covers five key indicators of the river’s health: fish, habitat, pollution, land and people.
Last year the Potomac was named America’s Most Endangered River by the American Rivers group.
“It’s a mixed set of grades there, and no big surprises,” said Rich Batiuk, senior vice resident for science at the Environmental Protection Agency. “There’s been good, solid progress on the wastewater front, but there’s more work to do.”
Mr. Belin said the biggest threat to the river is polluted rainwater runoff, the result of the “explosion of development” that led to impermeable surfaces that cannot absorb rain water.
The pollution caused by runoff is increasing, according to the conservancy’s report, and the only way to address it is to work with property owners and local leaders to ensure smart building practices are applied to future development projects.
Mr. Belin said the conservancy plans a three-pronged approach to cutting back on pollution: working to increase funding for water programs, strengthening regulatory laws at the local level and establishing programs that provide incentives to property owners “so they can do the right thing.”
“The fate of the nation’s river is in the hands of local planning boards, city council members and commissioners,” Mr. Belin said. “At the end of the day, we need leadership at the local level in terms of solutions. The fight at the local level is where this will either be won or lost.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Feeling taxed today? How about a prayer to St. Matthew?
- 'Matzah Factory' provides hands-on experience for learning about Passover
- Higher Ground: Sex Pistol Superstar
- Younger generations lead move as Americans lose faith in the Bible, poll shows
- Jesuits mourn well-loved priest, murdered in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.