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The Potomac River: Its Future Depends On Us
When English Captain John Smith sailed up the Potomac in 1608, he marveled at the abundance of fish “lying so thick with their heads above the water” that he caught them with a frying pan. By 1951, it was “an open sewer,” denounced the Washington Post, and in 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson decried the river as “a national disgrace.” American Rivers listed it as “America’s most endangered river” in 2012.

The Potomac is clearly cleaner today, but the Potomac Conservancy’s 2020 assessment, based on 2018 and 2019 data, shows the first decline in a decade, down from a B in 2019 to a B-, but substantially improved from its 2011 D grade.  

 
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Manoomin – The Good Berry - Twenty-three years ago, I canoed the upper Mississippi River for the first time. It was early October on a glorious blue-sky day with brightly colored fall foliage everywhere throughout the adjacent forests. Numerous and nearly impenetrable stands of cattails often blocked passage along the river’s channel, requiring me to carefully examine the current’s direction to learn which way to go.


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