Leading Academia Gives Potomac a Passing Grade-With Some Reservations by rxb16942


									Potomac Basin

Vol. 61, No. 6           Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin                          Nov./Dec. 2005

 In addition to his science expertise, conference presenter Kent Mountford is also an artist, and drew this cartoon
 while listening to the remarks of Reds Wolman, who noted that researchers predicting problems in the 1970s had
 “Hit the nail on the head, except the nail is much larger [than they originally thought].”

ICPRB Biology Symposium
Leading Academia Gives Potomac a
Passing Grade–With Some Reservations
    A veritable “Who’s Who” of Potomac                        watershed, which overall scored a qualified
River researchers during the last 30 years                    “C+.”
convened in October to assess progress                           The conference, based on two biological
and provide guidance on a direction for                       conferences held by ICPRB in the mid-
the future of the Potomac watershed. Each                     1970s, featured many of the same
of the presenters at the ICPRB conference,                    researchers, who brought their expertise,
“Human Influences on the Biology of the                       credibility, and subsequent research back
Potomac River,” gave the basin a letter                       to help reassess the river’s biological
grade for different aspects of the river,                     condition and establish a new course for
based on their expertise. The conference                      the river’s health. “The symposium, based
audience also participated in grading the                     on the earlier meetings, builds on the
                                             Potomac’s living resources legacy, and will
                                             provide greater direction to the continuing
   Our mission is to                         effort to protect and preserve the region’s
enhance, protect and                         heritage and quality of life through its
                                             greatest natural asset, the river,” said
conserve the water and                       ICPRB Executive Director Joseph Hoffman.
associated land                                  M. Gordon “Reds” Wolman, a professor
                                             of geography and international affairs,
resources of the                             Johns Hopkins University, and one of a
                                             number of participants who contributed to
Potomac River and its                        the 1970s seminars, opened with an
tributaries through                          overview of the river’s recent past, and
                                             discussed the predictable and
regional and interstate                      unpredictable futures.
                                                 A veteran of the Potomac’s struggles,
cooperation.                                 Wolman (who has published articles about
                                             river issues since the 1950s) noted that a
ICPRB                                        success of the recent past has been that the
                                             river, particularly in the metropolitan area,
COMMISSIONERS                                has improved greatly, despite the 40
                                             percent population growth that has caused
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Theodore J.            great stress. Wolman alluded to the “Red
Gordon, Vincent R. Nathan, Alternate;        Queen” character from “Through the
Hamid Karimi*, Anne D. Snodgrass,            Looking Glass,” who noted that we must run
Alternate; Lloyd Preslar                     faster and faster just to stay in the same
MARYLAND: Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.,           In his optimistic way, Wolman spoke
Robert M. Summers, Alternate; James          hopefully of the predictable future, noting
H. Gilford*, Minny Pohlmann, Alternate;      that assessments of the river’s current
George H. Shoemaker, John Parran             biology provides the basis for management
Bowling, Alternate                           in the future. He noted that some of the
                                             major tools needed to continue the
PENNSYLVANIA: John T. Hines, Lori            Potomac’s restoration exist in the form of
Mohr, Alternate; Rep. Stephen R.             total maximum daily load plans (TMDL),
Maitland, Rep. Bob Bastian, Alternate;       which are taking the place of ambient water
William I. Plank*, Roger C. Steele,          quality standards, and best management
Alternate                                    practices to mitigate non-point source or
                                             runoff pollution in both urban and
VIRGINIA: Robert G. Burnley, Scott W.        agricultural areas. These tools are more
Kudlas, Alternate; John D. Markley, Jr.,     complex, Wolman noted, because restoring
Andrew H. Macdonald*, Alternate; Del.        the rivers is about “more than just
Joe T. May                                   wastewater treatment plants.” Our
                                             commitment to using these tools, and how
WEST VIRGINIA: Marten R. Jenkins, Jr.,       they are used will help to determine if we
Phyllis M. Cole, Alternate; Del. Harold K.   reach restoration goals in the face of
Michael; Stephanie R. Timmermeyer,           increasing population and development
William D. Brannon*, Alternate               pressure.
                                                 Looking back on the results of the 1970s
UNITED STATES: J. Winston Porter*,           symposia, Wolman praised the group for
Frederick R. Eames, Alternate; George        the foresight shown in using biology as the
Reiger, Mel M. Baughman, Alternate;          best judge of a river’s health, in moving the
Jane G. Witheridge, Howard Graeffe,          focus of pollution prevention to nonpoint
Alternate                                    source issues, and in citing urban/suburban
                                             expansion as the major challenge. “They
*Executive Committee Member                  were right then,” Wolman said. “They hit the
                                             nail on the head, except the nail is much
The ICPRB Officers:                          larger [than originally thought],” Wolman
William D. Brannon, Chairman                 said.
Hamid Karimi, Vice Chairman                      Reaching out to discuss the
Joseph K. Hoffman, Executive Director        “unpredictable future,” Wolman noted that
Robert L. Bolle, General Counsel             his biggest concern is our (society’s)
                                             behavior. Our behavior determines the
Commissioners and their alternates are       scale of urban development, our attitude
appointed by the state’s governors, the      about natural resources and how they are
mayor of the District of Columbia, and the   treated. We should expect that our
President of the United States.              unpredictable future will include challenges
                                             such as increased frequency of flooding
                                             and pollution that comes with a growing
                                                        Todd of the U.S. Forest Service; Neil Gillies
                                                        of the Cacapon Institute; and representatives
                                                        of several citizens watershed organizations
                                                        and other agencies. In addition to reviewing
                                                        the basin’s ongoing challenges, several
                                                        presenters covered newer issues, including
                                                        the newly discovered intersex fishes (male
                                                        bass with eggs), the impacts of exotic
                                                        species like the rapidly multiplying
                                                        snakehead fish and Japanese stiltweed, a
                                                        plant that is damaging the forest under story,
                                                        and recent fish kills in two major tributaries,
                                                        the Shenandoah and the South Branch.
                                                            As each successive presenter, serving as
                                                        a “professor” covered an aspect of the river’s
                                                        biological health, they produced a letter
                                                        grade for the river, and were joined by
                                            C. Dalpra   symposium attendees, who also gave a
 M. Gordon “Reds” Wolman, like his father, Abel has     grade. Overall, the river received a “C+” after
 been working on Potomac issues for many decades,       the two days of presentations, with many
 and has served as a mentor to following generations    admonishments that despite a passing
 of researchers.
                                                        grade, parent-teacher conferences stressing
                                                        commitment and action are needed if the
population and development, the                         river is to progress further.
introduction of foreign species such as the                 Special guest speaker Lynn Scarlett,
snakehead and zebra mussel, and                         deputy secretary, U.S. Department of the
increasing demand on our finite water                   Interior, addressed the group after lunch on
resources.                                              the first day. Scarlett lent encouragement to
    In addressing these issues, one thing               the group, noting that “The tale of the
that seems to be lacking from the toolkit               Potomac is one of reconciliation with
used in the 1970s is enthusiasm, Wolman                 nature.” The Potomac, a haven of history
noted. Today, the environmental movement                and recreation, is a place touched by its
wonders if the current approach will carry              residents. Scarlett noted that ideas about
us forward, he said. Although environmental             conservation are changing in the face of
education in schools is at a much higher                urbanization and that the challenges of
level than 30 years, ago, it is unclear                 conservation have brought a more-holistic
whether that momentum will result in                    attitude, from separate issues to “landscape”
cleaner rivers. Wolman sees today’s kids as             issues. She noted that effective conservation
the most effective way to teach the                     is a “choreography of cooperation between
environment to older generations as well                government agencies and stakeholders.”
as those that follow. Wolman wondered if                    The symposium organizer, ICPRB
the students benefitting from environmental             Director of Living Resources Jim Cummins,
education today will be paying as much                  noted the value of bringing these scientists
attention after they are 20 years old.                  and experts back together to provide far-
    Overall, Wolman thought that we had in              reaching perspectives. “It is sad that many of
many ways done well by the river, especially            those who had gathered in the 1970s are no
in the face of rapidly expanding population             longer with us or were unavailable because
growth and land development. “We do                     of health concerns. Our environmental
have bragging rights in some areas,” he                 memories tend to be short-term; the past is
said. Wolman gave a grade of B to the                   too easily forgotten,” Cummins said.
river’s health, mostly in acknowledgment of                 Many presenters noted the challenge in
the Red Queen as we have managed to                     passing along an improved river to future
hold our place by running fast. He added                generations, given the tremendous pressures
that he has always been considered an                   of the region’s growth. Top priorities listed by
easy grader.                                            the presenters included better understanding
    Wolman was followed by a long list of               of hormone-mimicking chemicals in the
authorities, including Kent Mountford,                  environment, forest health and regeneration,
historian, ecologist, and retired chief                 increasing personal and local stewardship
scientist of the Chesapeake Bay Program;                of the river’s land and water resources, and
Don Kelso, who has studied the river for                sufficient political, societal, and financial
more than 20 years as a professor at                    support. Responses were hauntingly similar
George Mason University; Kirby Carpenter,               to the issues of the 1970s. As one attendee
executive secretary of the Potomac River                noted, “We know what’s wrong, and we
Fisheries Commission; George Harmon,                    know how to fix it. We just don’t have the
who has held numerous positions in the                  resolve.”
Maryland Department of Natural Resources;                   The ICPRB wishes to thank all the
Joe Fletcher, an avid angler who ran                    presenters who lent their time and expertise
Fletcher’s Boat House on the river; Albert              to these issues, and to the Eastman Kodak
Company, The Conservation Fund,                      4.) Twenty years of changes in the
Arlington County, Va., and the National          middle tidal freshwater Potomac River.
Rural Electric Cooperative Association           Don Kelso, George Mason University–B
Conference Center, who provided support              Despite the impacts of population growth
and resources for the conference.                and development, this section of the river
   Presentations from the conference, the        has seen improvements in dissolved
report card, and materials from the earlier      oxygen, increased aquatic vegetation, and
1970s symposia are all available on              decreased frequency of algal blooms. The
ICPRB’s website, www.potomacriver.org.           one constant is change, as over time some
                                                 populations of fish increase while others
                                                 decrease. Pressure on the river remains a
                                                 real threat, Kelso noted.
                                                     5.) Tidal fisheries of the Potomac River.
“C+” Grade for Potomac                           A.C. Carpenter, Executive Secretary,
                                                 Potomac River Fisheries Commission–
the Result of Many Expert                        C+
Opinions                                             Carpenter gave a series of grades to
                                                 specific fisheries, culminating in an overall
    The ICPRB’s conference on “Human             grade. The oyster fishery is a remnant of
Influences on the Biology of the Potomac         what it was, the crab fishery has seen
River” resulted in a collective grade of C+.     increasing fishing pressure, striped bass
While the grade is not meant to be               and shad are greatly improved, and
conclusive, it is an important statement         menhaden and eel fisheries are stable.
about the status of the Potomac and efforts          6.) Shenandoah River studies–has
at restoration.                                  anything improved in 30-plus years?
    The overall grade reflected the              John Kauffman and Steve Reeser,
professional opinions of the basin’s most-       Virginia Department of Game and Inland
noted researchers, who each delivered a          Fisheries–D
grade related to their presentation and put          Skyrocketing poultry production has put
together as a report card. Conference            stress on the Shenandoah. Fish kills in the
attendees added their voices in grading the      river over the last couple of years have
river overall.                                   raised many questions among residents
    The following paragraphs provide an          and researchers. These fish kills have
annotated version of the “University of the      removed about 80 percent of the adult
Potomac Basin Report Card” developed             smallmouth bass population from both the
from the conference.                             North and South forks of the river, and could
    1.) Potomac: Past and Prospect. M.           take five to ten years to restore. The kills
Gordon “Reds” Wolman, Johns Hopkins              have sparked efforts to learn more about
University–B                                     the river’s problems.
    Wolman’s presentation is discussed in            7.) Biological water monitoring
the related article.                             perspectives. George Harman, Maryland
    2.) Potomac Prologue: A look in the          Department of the Environment–B
past for lessons in environmental quality.           Technology has led to dramatic changes
Kent Mountford, Cove Corp.; former EPA           in monitoring over the decades, from a time
Chesapeake Bay Program Scientist–D               when researchers were inventing their own
    Mountford took the audience on a             measurement devices in their offices to
fascinating jaunt through the Potomac’s          today, when water quality stations send
past, noting the many changes that have          results via satellite link to computers. Many
occurred, many not for the good. Mountford       new tools have allowed for greater
sees human selfishness continuing, and           understanding of many environmental
seems hopeful but not optimistic about the       problems, and there is a much greater
Potomac’s future.                                emphasis on biological parameters.
    3.) Zooplankton of the lower Potomac             8.) Aquatic toxicology methodology.
River, then and now. Marcia Olson,               Ronald Preston, Canaan Valley Institute–
Morgan State University Estuarine                B-
Research Center (retired)–C+                         Increased testing for toxic substances
    Populations of this important class of       through the 1980s resulted in a reduction of
Potomac residents has changed over time,         toxic discharges from major municipal and
with some more-extreme population swings         industrial discharges. That success, along
seen in the last decade. Estuaries, where        with state budget constraints, has recently
salt and freshwater environments collide,        led to elimination of some testing labs run
always experience changing diversity and         by the basin states. Many smaller
numbers of organisms, but some overall           dischargers not affected by the earlier
fluctuations in certain species are troubling.   program have toxicity issues as well.
Increasing jellyfish populations (which          Further, nonpoint source pollution has been
influence plankton populations) and their        linked to degraded biological conditions in
presence earlier in the season are an            streams. Addressing these problems in the
example.                                         future will take a great commitment of
resources.                                            10.) Fifty years of fishing on the river.
   9.) The North Branch: Perils, progress,        Joe Fletcher–C
and projections. Raymond Morgan,                      Fletcher, whose family has run the iconic
University of Maryland Center for                 Fletcher’s Boat House on the metropolitan
Environmental Studies Appalachian                 river for generations, has seen the river’s
Laboratory–B-                                     fish population decline over time, noting
   The North Branch’s legacy of coal              smaller sizes and fish with lesions.
mining remains, although greatly reduced.             11.) Power Plants and the Potomac
Issues with acid mine drainage will continue,     River: Impetus for study and changing
land development is likely to grow as an          perspectives. Bill Richkus, VERSAR,
issue, and its ample forest land will be          Inc.–B+
increasingly attractive to the timber industry.       Maryland’s Power Plant Siting Program,
In general, water quality continues to            along with related efforts, have added much
improve.                                          to knowledge of the watershed. Atlases,
                                                  fisheries research and restoration, flow
                                                  studies and other research, conducted to
                                                  better plan for and place power generation
                                                  facilities, have added greatly to the Potomac
                                                  basin knowledge base.
                                                      12.) Aquatic communities–Rising to tell
                                                  how healthy their home is, and ultimately,
                                                  our own. Jim Cummins, ICPRB–C-
                                                      While being a true success story for the
                                                  last few decades, the river’s aquatic
                                                  communities are again showing signs of
                                                  stress. We have a more accurate picture
                                                  from increased biological monitoring of
                                                  streams. There is room for improvement,
                                                  particularly in the estuary. State, federal,
  Watching the River Flow                         and local agencies and groups should work
                                                  more closely together to meet restoration
     October marked the wettest month on          goals.
 record with 9.41 inches of rain–more                 13.) Submersed aquatic vegetation in
 than seven inches fell in a two-day              the Potomac River. Nancy Rybicki, U.S.
 period, according to the National                Geological Survey–B-
 Weather Service. November followed                   The river’s critical aquatic plant
 with about two inches of rain, about one         communities have improved greatly since
 inch lower than average, reducing                the 1970s, but healthy plant communities
 Potomac river flows significantly.               envisioned under restoration are still a goal.
     Provisional data collected near              Generally, the level of plant communities
 Washington, D.C., by the U.S.                    sought are limited by poor water clarity,
 Geological Survey reflected the torrent          which keeps sunlight from penetrating deep
 with flows averaging 3.6 billion gallons         enough into the water to support
 per day (bgd), 77 percent more than the          photosynthesis. Overall, the trend is
 normal two bgd. Daily extremes ranged            improving slowly.
 from 1.1 bgd on October 6 to 10.8 bgd                14.) Biological effects of endocrine-
 on October 8, the 48-hour period of              disrupting chemicals on fishes. Vicki
 heaviest rainfall. Water withdrawn for           Blazer and Luke Iwanowicz, U.S.
 drinking use averaged about 400 million          Geological Survey-C
 gallons per day (mgd), about the same                The discovery of male smallmouth bass
 as October 2004. Freshwater inflow to            containing eggs has focused fisheries
 the Chesapeake Bay averaged about                research on the many hormone-mimicking
 37.3 bgd, about 34 percent above the             chemicals that enter streams from treatment
 historical average. The Potomac                  plants and runoff. A wide range of chemicals,
 contributed about 13 percent of the total.       including pesticides, PCBs, pharmaceuticals,
     November flows averaged 2.9 bgd,             hormones, and anti-microbial compounds
 about 45 percent below the normal flow           enter waterways in runoff, or are not
 of 5.3 bgd. Flows ranged from 1.4 bgd            completely removed by treatment. A
 on November 1 to 8.8 bgd on November             combination of these substances, found in
 30. Water withdrawn for drinking use             minute amounts, could be affecting fish
 averaged about 373 mgd, about the                populations in various ways. Many questions
 same as November 2004. Freshwater                remain as to the amounts, fate, and effects
 inflow to the Chesapeake Bay was                 of these substances. New research is being
 about 38 bgd, about three percent                conducted in the watershed and nationally.
 below the historical average. The                    15.) Forests of the Potomac watershed:
 Potomac contributed 11 percent of the            Preliminary findings, State of the
 total.                                           Chesapeake Forest Project. Albert Todd,
                                                  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest
Service–C+                                        involved in a wide range of activities,
    Watershed health depends on healthy           organizing trash cleanups, monitoring,
forests, which filter runoff, decrease            outreach to schools, and many other
sedimentation and use nutrients. The              activities. The group also has worked with
watershed currently is about 58 percent           government and industries and have done
forested, but trends point to decreasing          much to forward the Anacostia’s visibility
acreage. The majority of forest in the basin      among the public and decision-makers. The
is privately owned, so programs aimed at          issues of urban rivers–nonpoint pollution,
aiding owners in conservation are very            litter, bacterial and toxic pollution–require
important. Invasive species and deer              strong citizen support for their solution.
overpopulation add great stress.
    16.) Engaging the community in
watershed protection. Elenor Hodges,
Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment–C-
    Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment is
engaged in a variety of citizen-lead              George’s Creek: A Bump
projects, including stream monitoring,
gardening efforts, school outreach, and           in the Long Road to
other programs. The groups’s projects are
environmental, with their efforts focused on
engaging and channeling efforts of citizens.
The work is personal, and often one-on-               Twenty-five years ago, no one would go
one, necessary for a grassroots                   near the North Branch Potomac River or
organization.                                     many of its tributaries. Acid mine drainage
    17.) Revisiting the Cacapon River             and direct sewage discharge pipes
baseline. W. Neil Gillies, Cacapon                plagued the small waterways and made
Institute–C-                                      them uninhabitable by wildlife and
    The Cacapon watershed in West Virginia        unusable for recreation. Today, many are
is one of the most beautiful and pristine in      high-quality trout runs and whitewater
the Potomac watershed. It has benefitted          paddling venues. Ribboned with small
from the presence of the nonprofit Cacapon        streams, hardwood forests, and rural towns,
Institute, which performed a baseline study       the area is prime habitat for game and fish.
of the river to provide a method for                  One of the most prominent streams in
assessing river health over time. The             the area is George’s Creek, a small tributary
watershed is still in good shape, but             that runs through the towns of Lonaconing,
showing definite signs of stress from             Barton, and Westernport, Md. The creek’s
development and agriculture, and those            stocked rainbow and brown trout attract
influences are increasing.                        local fisherman and its scenery attracts
    18.) Sideling Hill Creek: Can we hold on      birdwatchers, hikers, and whitewater
to forested watershed? Donnelle Keech,            enthusiasts. That changed in August after
The Nature Conservancy–B+                         the abandoned McDonald mine began
    Much like the Cacapon, the Sideling Hill      seeping highly acidic drainage into a small
Creek watershed holds beautiful streams           tributary of George’s Creek. The drainage
and rare plant and animal species. Both           was not unusual, but it’s orange, soupy
Maryland and Pennsylvania governments             consistency was. The Maryland Department
hold the watershed in high regard, but it is      of Environment (MDE) reports on a fact
under increasing development pressure.            sheet created in response to the change in
Sediment pollution, nutrients, and                drainage, McDonald Mine: Acid Mine
agricultural impacts are growing.                 Drainage Impacts, that “the mine
    19.) The Monocacy River: The                  discharges the worst acid mine drainage in
challenges of continuous change. M.               Maryland, which is the most significant
Drew Ferrier, Hood College–C-                     pollutant in the lower portion of George’s
    Much public and private effort toward the     Creek.”
river has kept it from heavily deteriorating in       The area historically is linked to coal and
the face of very large population increases       is stippled with abandoned mines, which
and reliance on it as a drinking water            typically generate some acid mine drainage
supply. This interstate watershed, which          that can be controlled with lime or other
includes the towns of Frederick, Md., and         treatments. Lime dosers in the George’s
Gettysburg, Pa., is affected by nutrients,        Creek watershed help neutralize acid mine
sediments, and increasing wastewater              drainage seeping from abandoned coal
treatment loads. The watershed contains           mines in the area. In the 1990s, ICPRB and
several active groups and programs trying         other groups were instrumental in getting
to improve and protect the river.                 several lime dosers placed in the North
    20.) Anacostia River’s urban impacts.         Branch watershed. Since then, others have
Jim Connolly, Anacostia Watershed                 been added.
Society–D                                             Since 2001, a doser has been
    As one of the foremost citizen groups in      successfully neutralizing drainage that
the watershed, the society has been               flows from the abandoned McDonald Mine
into an unnamed tributary of George’s             stream ecology.
Creek. In August, the mine began seeping              Though much of their work is dedicated
highly acidic drainage that overpowered           to restoring the creeks and engaging youth,
the doser’s ability to buffer the water. With     GCWA members hope to encourage more
increased acidity, the water entering the         fishermen and whitewater enthusiasts to
tributary of Georges Creek and eventually         visit the area. The tourist dollars would bring
into the North Branch has killed the fish         money into the local economy and instill a
population and macroinvertebrates living in       sense of pride in the local waterways.
the lower four miles of George’s Creek.           George’s Creek is a class III whitewater
Without a more-powerful lime dosing               creek, full of challenging rapids and
system and with river flows at their lowest in    beautiful scenery. The last four miles of
decades, the creek is unable to dilute the        George’s Creek is a vital trout fishery and
increased acidity.                                attracts fishermen from across the state.
    Though the pH of the drainage did not             Many locals used the waterway for
change much, the acidity has increased            recreation and the soupy water has kept
ten-fold and colored the water orange.            them away from George’s Creek and
Acidity is a measure of the amounts of            downstream waterways. “The anglers have
metals in the seep water, noted Joe Mills of      abandoned the thought of fishing in the
Maryland Bureau of Mines (BOM). The               devastated portion of the creek in the near
metals in the coal seam are exposed by            future. Travelers using Route 36 have been
deep shaft mining, a process used at the          totally appalled by the change in
turn of the century, and usually slowly leach     appearance of the stream,” said George’s
out over time. A private firm with expertise in   Creek Watershed Association (GCWA)
mining has been hired to determine                President Bob Miller.
possible causes and solutions for the                 Despite the interest from locals in the
McDonald drainage issue.                          fish and wildlife of the area, only a small
    Initially, active surface mine operations     percentage of the local population
nearby were blamed for the change in the          participates in restoration activities. Miller
abandoned mine drainage. Mills explained          suspects that many young people who
that mine blasting occurs in the area almost      would be active in the community have left
daily and the change in acid mine drainage        the area to seek higher education and work.
from the McDonald mine was probably not           At the height of the coal boom, the
a result of the nearby blasts. “The closest       population of the area was around 8,000
active mine is over 1/4 of a mile from the        people, but now numbers about 2,000.
McDonald mine and over 400 feet above                 Along with the changing population, the
the mine workings,” said Mills. He further        watershed has also dramatically changed
noted that it is difficult to determine exactly   in the past quarter century. Miller noted that
what happened in the McDonald Mine that           much of the land has been surface mined
caused the seep’s change in chemistry,            so now grass and second-growth timber
although he suspects that subsidence              have increased. Health officials estimated
within the mine caused the problem. “The          that as much as 75 percent of the area’s
BOM is doing everything possible to               human waste went directly into the creek.
determine its cause and a remedy for the          Bill Richmond, an active GCWA member
problem,” said Mills. The Maryland BOM            also noted that raw sewage was being
has called on several groups for                  directly discharged into George’s Creek 25
assistance, including the George’s Creek          years ago, but “beginning around 1980, this
Watershed Association, a group they have          practice was eliminated with the building of
worked with since its inception.                  the George’s Creek sanitary sewer system.”
    For about 10 years, George’s Creek                The George’s Creek Wastewater
Watershed Association (GCWA) volunteers           Treatment Plant will be upgraded beginning
have worked with the BOM, the Nemacolin           in 2006-2007 and will take about 18
Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Canaan Valley         months to complete. Much of the project will
Institute, and other organizations and            be funded by MDE grants, from the Bay
government agencies to protect the                Restoration Fund, and the upgrades will
watershed in many ways. The GCWA                  likely include Biological Nutrient Removal
volunteers monitor the watershed’s                and Enhanced Nutrient Removal. Both will
waterways once per month, install                 help reduce nutrient loads from the
raingardens, develop fishing areas with           wastewater before flowing into George’s
handicap accessibility, clean up trash, plant     Creek, the Potomac River, and eventually
trees with school children on strip mines,        the Chesapeake Bay.
gain funding for restoring stream channels            George’s Creek and its tributaries are
and bank stabilization, and many other            still on the road to recovery and will likely
targeted watershed endeavors. One GCWA            move past this latest bump in the road with
site on Neff Run is used by graduate and          the help of dedicated agencies and citizen
biology students from the Appalachian             organizations. For more information about
Environmental Laboratory of the University        the GCWA, contact Kelly Martin at (301)
of Maryland. Local schools also use the           463-2305 or via email at
area as an outdoor classroom for learning         kjmartin@allconet.org.
Virginia Appoints New Slate of Commissioners
   Virginia Governor Mark Warner has                        and information technology and has served
appointed Commissioners to represent the                    at the Federal Communications Commission.
commonwealth’s interests before the                             Andrew H. Macdonald, Alexandria City
Interstate Commission on the Potomac                        Council member and owner of Patowmack
River Basin. The new appointments run                       River Studio in Alexandria, Va., was
until February 28, 2009.                                    reappointed as an alternate commissioner
   Robert G. Burnley, the Director of the                   for Markley. Macdonald has worked with the
Virginia Department of Environmental                        commission in setting up its recent biology
Quality (DEQ), was reappointed. Burnley                     conference, and has been active in the
has served in other positions with DEQ,                     Potomac Trash-Free effort.
including Director of the Water Division,                       Delegate Joe T. May, Founder and CEO
Director of Program Support and Evaluation,                 of Electronic Instrumentation and
and Director of Technical Services and                      Technology, an electronic engineering and
Information Systems Divisions. Burnley is a                 manufacturing firm, was appointed to
member of the Virginia Economic Developers                  succeed Delegate Robert Marshall. May
Association, Water Environment Federation,                  serves as chairman of the Virginia House of
Virginia Water Environment Association,                     Delegates Science and Technology
and the Air and Waste Management                            Committee, and is a member of the House
Association.                                                Appropriations Committee, where he chairs
   Scott W. Kudlas, the Director of the                     the Appropriations sub-committee on
Office of Water Supply Planning at DEQ, will                Transportation and is the vice-chairman of
serve as Burnley’s alternate commissioner. He               the House Transportation Committee.
previously attended ICPRB meetings as                           “Together, the Virginia delegation brings
Burnley’s representative. Kudlas was an                     a set of interests, expertise, and vision to
environmental planning professional before                  the commission,” ICPRB Executive Director
working for the DEQ. In addition, he has                    Joseph Hoffman said. “We look forward to
experience working with Virginia                            their fresh perspective, and the new energy
governmental agencies and with the                          they can bring to ICPRB.”
Virginia General Assembly, primarily on
environmental, economic development,

                                                                                                                                     Printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink
local government, and other issues.
                                                       Non-Profit Org.

                                                       Permit No. 800
                                                       Rockville, MD
                                                        U.S. Postage

   John D. Markley, Jr., a General Partner
at Columbia Capital Equity Partners, has

been appointed to succeed Gloria Taylor
Fisher. Markley specializes in communications

Potomac Basin
                                                  Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

  Editors: Curtis M. Dalpra
           Jennifer K. Dotson
  Published six times a year by the Interstate
  Commission on the Potomac River Basin,
  51 Monroe St., Suite PE-08, Rockville, MD
  20850. (301) 984-1908.
  (ISSN 1072-8627)
                                                                                                     Address Service Requested

                                                                                                                                 November/December 2005

  E-Mail: info@icprb.org
                                                  51 Monroe St., Suite PE-08

  Internet: http://www.potomacriver.org
  Joseph K. Hoffman, Executive Director
                                                  Rockville, MD 20850

  This publication does not necessarily reflect
  official Commission policies. Funds for the
  Reporter are provided by the U.S.
  Environmental Protection Agency and the
  signatory bodies to ICPRB: District of
  Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia,
  and West Virginia.

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