#1: Potomac River (MD, VA, PA, WV, DC)
At risk: Clean water and public health
American Rivers named the Potomac River, known as ‘the nation’s river’ as it flows through the capital, the most endangered in the country. While the Potomac is cleaner than it used to be, the river is still threatened by urban and agricultural pollution– and it could get much worse if Congress rolls back critical clean water safeguards. As our country commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year, the Potomac is emblematic of what’s at stake for rivers nationwide. American Rivers launched a national call to action, giving citizens the opportunity to contact members of Congress and speak up for clean water.
“We need strong federal leadership as we redouble our efforts at the local level to achieve the goal of a healthy, clean Potomac,” said Hedrick Belin, President of the Potomac Conservancy. “This regional treasure contributes so much to our community’s quality of life, and our neighborhoods deserve healthy, clean streams and creeks.”
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- Be a Potomac Advocate. Keep up on important issues for the lands and waters of the Potomac.
- Write your member of Congress to Stop the Continued Attacks on Your Clean Water.
Congress must stop the ongoing attempts to weaken the Clean Water Act or prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restoring protections for small streams and wetlands under the Act. (Click here for a list of Congressional representatives. For a sample letter, scroll down or click here).
- Potomac Fact Sheet
- 2011 State of the Nation's River report
- Press Release
- Potomac Report from American Rivers
America’s Most Endangered Rivers® is an annual call to action, spotlighting rivers facing significant threats, and emphasizing solutions for the rivers and their communities. It is a list of rivers at a crossroads or tipping point, whose fates will be decided in the coming year. (To see the full list of rivers, click here.)
Subject: Vote Against S. 2245/H.R. 4965 and Save the Clean Water Act
As a supporter of American Rivers, I am writing to urge you to oppose the “Preserve the Waters of the United States Act” (S. 2245/H.R. 4965) introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Representative Mica (R-FL), which puts polluters before people by preventing the restoration of critical protections for clean water. This bill would effectively block the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing guidance to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, ensuring that the small streams and wetlands that are a source of drinking water for 117 million Americans will continue to be vulnerable to degradation and pollution.
Recently, American Rivers named the Potomac River the #1 Most Endangered River in the country due to the threat of these clean water rollbacks. Flowing through our nation’s capital and providing drinking water to millions, the Potomac is emblematic of what is at stake for rivers and public health nationwide.
We have made great progress since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972– but recently, clean water safeguards have come under attack, leaving an estimated 2 million stream miles (excluding Alaska) at risk. In the Potomac River basin alone, close to 10,000 miles of streams may now be left vulnerable. Pollution in the Potomac threatens drinking water supplies, kills fish, and poses a health risk to people who swim, fish, and boat on the river.
This threat could get even worse if this bill passes in Congress. Americans want and expect clean water that is safe to drink, clean to swim in, and healthy enough to support fish and wildlife. Bills like S. 2245/H.R. 4965 that turn back the clock on the Clean Water Act threaten the health of the Potomac River and every river and stream in the country.
I urge you to stand up for clean water and America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. Please oppose this bill– S. 2245/H.R. 4965– and all other dirty water bills.