Potomac's Status As 'Most Threatened' River Resonates In Alexandria | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Potomac's Status As 'Most Threatened' River Resonates In Alexandria

Play associated audio
 
A view of some of the development that's already along the Potomac Riverfront in Alexandria.
 
Adam Fagen (http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/6811967296/)
  A view of some of the development that's already along the Potomac Riverfront in Alexandria.  

A leading environmental group says growth and development in the region is causing some major problems for the Potomac River. In Alexandria, that report could have reverberations on the debate over the future of the waterfront.

American Rivers is singling out the Potomac as the most endangered river in America, a distinction that indicates the waterway is threatened by pollution and development. American Rivers president Bob Irvin says the concerns should be part of land-use decisions along the waterfront.

"Anytime you are building more impervious surfaces around the river, you have to worry that that's going to both increase the volume of runoff," Irvin says. "Also, there won't be opportunities to filter out harmful pollutants."

Earlier this year, the Alexandria City Council passed a plan that would more than double the amount of development allowed on three sites on the Potomac River. Supporters say revenue from new development would allow the city to pay for flood control. But opponents such as former Vice Mayor Andrew MacDonald say the plan is a threat to the Potomac River.

"You can't undo the damage of adding new impervious surfaces to the shoreline," MacDonald says. "You are better off creating more green space that can flood and has more natural qualities." 

The report acknowledges that the Potomac is cleaner than it used to be, although the river is still threatened by urban pollution.

WAMU 88.5

Key Civil War Generals The Subject Of New Smithsonian Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery focuses on Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
NPR

Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender?

The California chicken producer has been dogged by food safety problems at its plants for months. But Foster Farms may also now be one of the country's cleanest, safest sources of chicken products.
NPR

Congress Has The Ability To Fix Immigration Crisis, Obama Says

His remarks in Dallas followed a meeting with faith leaders and local officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, to discuss the large number of unaccompanied minors at the border.
NPR

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

Is a burrito a sandwich? The answer may sound simple to you ... but the question gets at the very heart of a tension that's existed for ages.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.