Potomac River and District Get Environmental Praise

Canoeists paddle on the B-minus waters of the Potomac River. | Courtesy Potomac Conservancy.

The Potomac River got its best report card yet, a B minus, as it continued to improve its grade in the Potomac Conservancy’s biennial State of the Nation’s River reports. In 2013, it got a C, and in 2011, a D.

After decades of decline, shad, white perch and other common game fish are on the rebound; more people are spending their outdoor activities on or near the river by fishing, using water access trails and taking advantage of state parks on the river; and the top three pollutants are on the decline. According to the report, the Potomac River is on its way
to recovery.

“But the Potomac is not in the clear yet,” says Potomac Conservancy President Hedrick Belin. Pollution from urban runoff into the river is rising, blue catfish and snakeheads are invading the waters and underwater grasses, habitat and water clarity are recovering slowly, according to the report.

Washington, D.C., also received accolades, coming in for the second year in a row at the top of the Environment Protection Agency’s 2016 Top Cities list, which ranks metropolitan areas according to the number of buildings earning Energy Star certification. An Energy Star building must outperform 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide, according to a statement by the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment.

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