Potomac Conservancy Turns 25!

Celebrating 25 years of protecting the Potomac River

photo of great falls courtesy of christopher james

photo of great falls courtesy of christopher james

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Twenty-five years ago, it started with a simple belief: with relentless focus and public action, the Potomac River could once again thrive.

A community of paddlers rallied behind this vision and formed Potomac Conservancy, a nonprofit entrusted with safeguarding the lands and waters of the Potomac River for future generations.

Since our founding in 1993, our team has worked tirelessly towards this mission. Along the way, we’ve expanded the boundaries of our conservation work and redefined what a local environmental movement can achieve.

And while a tough journey lies ahead, I am inspired by how far we’ve come in the fight for clean water and confident about future progress we will make.


At our founding, the Potomac River’s health was in crisis.

Parents warned children to avoid touching the river, and those exposed to it were administered shots. Algae blooms formed expansive dead zones. Native fish were dying off, and bald eagles hadn’t been seen in the area for forty years.

The Potomac – the river upon which our nation’s capital was built – was publicly deemed a national disgrace.

This grim past stands in sharp contrast to the remarkable comeback the river is experiencing today.

Thanks to the generous support of our members and the efforts of countless partners our hometown river is finally on the road to recovery.

Pollution is on the decline, shad and bald eagles are returning, and more people than ever are enjoying the outdoors along the Potomac River.

It’s a huge step forward, but there’s work left to do.

Polluted runoff and diluted sewage assault local waters. Rapid deforestation destroys streams and wildlife habitats. Anglers can’t eat their catch, and children can’t safely splash in streams after it rains.

The Potomac River is not yet thriving. And so our work continues.

Amidst growing threats to environmental protections, our local clean water initiatives have never been more important.

Your support for Potomac Conservancy in our 25th Anniversary year and beyond will empower us to expand into new communities and nearly double the impact of our conservation and advocacy work in the coming years! Donate today!

Thank you for leading our movement and for your continued trust as we make the Potomac River a healthy and thriving river once more.

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