What we're about

Calling all outdoor enthusiasts and water defenders! Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a network of three Riverkeepers - Shenandoah, Upper Potomac, and Potomac - defending the public right to swimmable, fishable, and drinkable rivers. We use grass roots organizing to empower members of the community to hold our public officials accountable and ensure a safe and healthy environment for all. Help us keep our precious water resources safe by signing petitions, staying informed on current threats, and participating in rallies or public hearings. Not a river rat or committed environmental advocate? No problem. We host dozens of fun events throughout the year to connect people to the water and let them safely experience all that our rivers have to offer. Join us for a paddle, a happy hour, a once off river clean up, or a summer-long citizen science volunteer program! Community engagement is the key to our success, help us in the ongoing fight to protect our rivers and streams.

Upcoming events (4)

Water Wednesday: Acid Mine Drainage

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Join Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Brent Walls for an informative discussion on a water quality issue in the Upper Potomac: acid mine drainage.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpdO2pqDItG9DRVnHzVvNfs70BzRStnOWJ

Acid mine drainage is the formation and movement of highly acidic water rich in heavy metals. This acidic water forms through the chemical reaction of surface water (rainwater, snowmelt, pond water) and shallow subsurface water with rocks that contain sulfur-bearing minerals, resulting in sulfuric acid. Heavy metals can be leached from rocks that come in contact with the acid, a process that may be substantially enhanced by bacterial action. The resulting fluids may be highly toxic and, when mixed with groundwater, surface water and soil, may have harmful effects on humans, animals and plants.

Acid Mine Drainage typically comes from very old underground mines that have been abandoned; however, current surface mining operations can also be a source of acidic water with heavy metals. This discussion introduces the AMD issue in western Maryland and covers some preliminary data from an ongoing monitoring project at the Headwaters of the Potomac.

Spend an informative hour with Brent learning about the issue locally and our work in identifying locations for state implemented projects. Plus, there will be plenty of time at the end for any questions that you might have about acid mine drainage in the Upper Potomac.

Riverpalooza: Ghost Fleet, Mallows Bay

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If you didn't get a chance to purchase a ticket you can still be added to the wait list! https://give.classy.org/MallowsBay

Join your Potomac Riverkeeper, Atlantic Kayak and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for Get Into Your Sanctuary Weekend! This is a one-of-a-kind, guided interpretive paddle through our country’s newest National Marine Sanctuary, Mallows Bay! Learn about the amazing history of the Ghost Fleet on the Potomac. Dr. Susan Langley, State Underwater Archaeologist with the Maryland Historical Trust will provide an overview of the history of Mallows Bay and explain its unique features and ecological importance as we paddle through the eerie hulls of the Ghost Fleet. Within the small bay in Southern Maryland, about 30 miles south of Washington, DC, lie hundreds of shipwrecks, most of them from World War I. In July 2019 the NOAA designated Mallows Bay on the Potomac River as a new National Marine Sanctuary.

Mallows Bay, one of the largest assemblages of historic shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere, is known as the “Ghost Fleet” of the Potomac. Surrounding the bay are sandy bluffs topped with trees, which provide magnificent roosts for bald eagles. Marshy tributaries rich in wildlife provide a quiet counterpart to the historic wreckage. The historic Bay is located along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Come support Potomac Riverkeeper and partners by celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act! Please consider signing up to paddle for clean water to support fifty years of clean water progress and the goals of “fishable, swimmable” waterways so future generations can continue to enjoy the Potomac River and cultural resources like Mallows Bay.

******Please note you must purchase a ticket at the link provided to be registered for this event*****
https://give.classy.org/MallowsBay

Boat Options and Costs:

  • Kayak: $100 per person/per seat. Please note that we only use Tandem Kayaks at Mallows Bay for safety purposes. No individual kayaks are available.
  • (NOTE: BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) is NOT available for this paddle.)

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Riverpalooza: Harpers Ferry Tubing and Overnight Camp

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PURCHASE A TICKET HERE

Join your Potomac Riverkeeper for a fun day of tubing at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers! This is a fun float with some exciting white water on one of the most spectacular sections of the Potomac River, known for its scenic beauty. We will take out at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC).

Afterward, we can enjoy beer, food, and live music at Harpers Ferry Brewing which has the most spectacular views of the river anywhere throughout the entire 14,760 square mile watershed! The brewery is located on-site at HFAC right up the hill from our take out where your car is conveniently located! Want more? Please consider joining us for overnight camping at HFAC Campground. Anyone who wants to join is welcome!

Our Good-bye Summer Blow Out white water paddle on the Shenandoah is the very next day, Sunday, August 28th. This is the perfect opportunity to do some tubing on Saturday, camp on-site, enjoy cold beverages, food, and live music then hit the river again the next day! We will be rafting (with a guide) on one of the most beautiful stretches of the “Doah” or you can up your game and paddle a white water ducky through exciting Class III rapids! So make it a weekend! Join us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act! Please consider signing up to paddle for clean water to support fifty years of clean water progress and the goals of “fishable, swimmable” waterways so future generations can continue to enjoy the Potomac River and Shenandoah River! Remember summer is almost over!
Camping or rental cabins at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC) are limited so reserve them well in advance. Visit HFAC for reservations—Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for securing campsite reservations.

******Please note you must purchase a ticket at the link provided to be registered for this event*****
PURCHASE A TICKET HERE

Boat Options and Costs:

  • Tube: $30 per person
  • (NOTE: BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) is NOT available for this paddle.)

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Riverpalooza: Goodbye Summer Blowout

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PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper; Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper; and Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, are thrilled to announce this year’s RiverPalooza Goodbye Summer Celebration! Join them and Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) for our exciting whitewater day-long celebration.

Whether you are an absolute, never-done-it-before whitewater novice or a hardcore, adrenaline-junkie veteran paddler, this is the trip for you! Join your Shenandoah Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper to run the confluence stretch of the Shenandoah where she eventually merges with the Potomac River. You’ll put in at Millville with our talented guides from River Riders, hit all the best whitewater in the Harpers Ferry area, and take out at Potomac Wayside (just upstream of the Rt. 340 bridge)—which just so happens to have a gorgeous hidden waterfall where Piney Run spills into the Potomac. Perfect for an invigorating quick rinse before the steep climb up the hill back to the buses to shuttle you back to your car.
This beautifully scenic paddle will take us down through Bull Falls, the Staircase, past Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, and through the Mad Dog and White Horse Rapids—literally the best whitewater in the Harpers Ferry area. It’s going to be so much fun! Stretches of this paddle are along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

But wait! How can stone-cold rookie paddlers hang with the grizzled veteran paddlers wanting to strut their stuff in shredders and play boats? Easy—we’re all running the same water, but with 2 different boat configurations designed for all skill levels:

  • Seat in a guided raft: For beginners and less experienced paddlers wanting to experience the thrill, but with a modicum of protection added in, we have contracted with River Riders to provide six-person (including the guide) rafts with expert guides to get you safely down the river. You are not just sitting there watching. You are an integral part of the team with a paddle in hand, working with your guide and fellow raft-mates to navigate your way down the river. Perfect for families, first-timers, and older folks!
  • Ducky: Whether you are the grizzled veteran or the grizzled veteran wannabe, sign up for a River Rider ducky rental! Duckies are inflatable kayaks, incredibly forgiving, and a blast to paddle. Experience whitewater paddling for yourself in a safe and enjoyable environment with lots of paddler friends and raft guides to provide encouragement and assistance, if needed.

Shuttle Service: (Sorry, NO shuttle service for hard kayaks or canoes for this event)

******Please note you must purchase a ticket at the link provided to be registered for this event*****
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Boat Options and Costs (including registration for party):

  • Ducky rental: $65
  • Raft: $75 per raft seat

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Past events (44)

Women for Clean Water Paddle

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Photos (46)