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Our Nation's River: A System on the Edge

The final stop on our 17,100 mile journey across North America, visiting the Potomac River gave us the chance to reconnect with the watershed we call home. This story, about the river which runs through our nation's capital—and through Blue Legacy's own backyard—really speaks to who we are and the work we do with local water keepers. The Potomac is the lifeblood of this region and a constant reminder of the challenges we will face in the future.

It was not so long ago that the river was called a “national disgrace.” While advancements have been made to partially restore its health and preserve the integrity of its rich natural habitat, the Potomac River is still threatened on a number of fronts. In this film, we investigate the ongoing challenges the river faces, with experts including: Potomac Riverkeeper, Ed Merrifield; Sandra Postel, founder of the Global Water Policy Project and National Geographic Freshwater Fellow; Chuck Fox, from the EPA; and the Nature Conservancy’s Stephanie Flack. From these interviews, it is clear that the river and its tributaries—and the people and communities which depend on them—are in jeopardy, because today, the Potomac River barely sits on the edge of recovery.

The message of this film is simple: millions of people depend on this vast watershed, and its health is a barometer not only for the individuals living and working within its catchment, but also for the entire nation and our overall attitude towards protecting our freshwater resources. Steeped in American history and heritage, the Potomac runs through the very center of our nation’s capital. Its waters touch everyone in its watershed, from rural farmers and suburban dwellers, to office workers, tourists, Metro riders, and even the marble memorials which line the National Mall. It is time we give the Potomac, our nation’s river, the much-needed attention it deserves.