State of the Potomac
The Potomac Conservancy has released its annual State of the Nation’s River report, which points to development as a primary source of stress on farms, forests, and water quality in the Potomac River region, and highlights solutions.
Excerpts from a press release: Slightly more than half the land in the Potomac River basin is forested. Healthy tree cover and streamside forests are critical determinants of water quality. “The health of the Chesapeake Bay – its water quality, positive economic impact, and ability to provide high quality recreation and a home for wildlife – hinges on the health and extent of its forests,” says Erik Meyers, Vice President for Sustainable Programs, The Conservation Fund. “Nowhere is this more true than for the Potomac River, one of the Bay’s principal tributaries.”
As illustrated in the report, there are many examples of land use practices, good and bad. One recent example is the wanton clearcutting of more than 1.5 miles of riverfront trees in Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 450 trees were cut down to clear a view for golfers–a move that was completely legal under current county rules. A largely rural area less than 20 years ago, many of Loudoun County’s codes and ordinances have not been updated to reflect the realities of sprawl in the 21st century.