This year, our report provides a look at one of the most pressing issues in the Potomac region—polluted stormwater runoff. Rapid, channel-eroding runoff wreaks havoc on our streams, particularly those in urban areas. Instead of allowing the earth to naturally absorb and filter water from storms, we have created systems to channel rainwater with curbs and stormdrains. This runoff travels quickly to our local streams, and along the way it is warmed by hot pavement and polluted with pathogens, chemicals, and trash.
Our report has identified the high percentage of “impervious” surfaces such as roofs, pavement, and parking lots as the main culprit. Accessories to the crime include areas that have been ‘paved’ with turf grass, such as our ball fields and golf course, and yes, our lawns. More than 25 percent of the Potomac River watershed is considered impervious—and as much as 45 percent in some of our urban areas.
- PDF of Report (500 KB) (Click here for 4-MB print-quality version)
- Potomac Agenda
- Potomac Conservancy Survey: Public Awareness of Stormwater Runoff
- Ten things you can do
- Effects of Diminishing Natural Ground Cover on Water Quality (Figure 1)
- Symptoms of a Sick Stream: Urban Stream Syndrome (Figure 4)
- ABC's of What's in our Stormwater (table)
- Stormwater Video