Released March 27, 2018

The health of the Potomac River, the source of drinking water for over 5 million DC area residents, continues to improve, earning a B in Potomac Conservancy’s tenth State of the Nation’s River report. It is the highest grade the river has ever received, up from a B- in 2016, a C in 2013, and a D in 2011.

Declining pollution, returning wildlife, and protected land are contributing to the river’s comeback. But polluted urban runoff, rapid deforestation, and federal attacks on water protections could derail progress, the report warns. (Read the full report at

The Chesapeake Bay Program, a multi-state cleanup effort coordinated by the EPA, continues to be the driving force behind water quality improvements for the Potomac River, the second largest Bay tributary. Despite the program’s success, the Trump administration has proposed drastic funding cuts two years in a row. The report warns that a lack of federal enforcement or funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program could stall progress.

US Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD), a champion of continued funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program, says “[D]ecades of hard work and investments to restore the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay are starting to pay off. If we truly want to protect these national treasures for future generations, we cannot stop now”. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Van Hollen was able to secure full funding at $73 million dollars for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program in the FY 2018 Omnibus. But, the FY 2019 funding is still at risk.

For more information, contact Potomac Conservancy at or 301-608-1188.