FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Bendure Communications, Inc.
National Harbor Remains Committed to Supporting the Cleaning and Protection of the Potomac River
As river’s environmental rating increases, aquatic vegetation returns along with largemouth bass and other fish
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., April 20, 2023—National Harbor has long recognized its major asset—the Potomac River. Up until the property was initially developed 15 years ago, the Potomac River Report Card gave the river a grade of “D,” based on its levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. In 2021, the National Harbor received a 96% pass rate—a huge improvement from a decade prior.
National Harbor partners with Potomac Riverkeepers Network, an organization that regularly monitors the Potomac River and conducts cleanups along the shoreline of National Harbor from May to October. What began as a group of six volunteers has blossomed into a legion of 80 or more collectors who fill trash bags with everything from water bottles and plastic straws to tennis balls and hubcaps.
The organization also keeps its floating laboratory, the Sea Dog at National Harbor’s marina, in space donated by Peterson Companies, developer of National Harbor. The Sea Dog is a 42-foot Chesapeake Deadrise with a full laboratory onboard. With this laboratory, Potomac Riverkeepers regularly study water samples from various locations on the Potomac River, including National Harbor. Potomac Riverkeepers Network has also provided support to scientists from Georgetown University, Maryland Sea Grant and American University. Working together, they investigated biofilms, biodiversity and microplastics in local waterways. These scientists researched these topics and provided professional development to local high school teachers in these areas of study.
National Harbor also works with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and a task force comprised of Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland Bass Nation. Working together, they have designed an artificial reef off of National Harbor that includes 80 Mini Bay—Reef Balls. Launched in 2016, the reef balls provide habitat for juvenile largemouth bass. The reef balls were made by volunteers at National Harbor. Given the prevalence of bass in the area, the reef balls appear to be a success and there are now bass fishing tournaments (catch and release) held including one that’s a lead up to the top national bass tournament.
The Potomac River is a 400-mile river that starts out as a trickle in West Virginia and then winds its way through Maryland and Virginia and onward to the Chesapeake Bay. Its banks provide homes for eagles and other wildlife. The river provides a home for all types of fish. A few years ago, fisherman on the Potomac near Chain Bridge caught and released a rare shortnose sturgeon—the first to be seen in the river in 14 years. In 1967, U.S. Fish & Wildlife classified the fish as endangered due to overfishing. Given that the shortnose sturgeon is extremely sensitive to poor water conditions and pollution, seeing it in the river is a good sign of the health of the Potomac River.
Since National Harbor opened fifteen years ago, the Potomac River has undergone a dramatic transformation that has brought back fish and other wildlife. The cleaner water allows for open water races during the summer at National Harbor.
For more information on National Harbor, visit www.nationalharbor.com.
# # #
About National Harbor
Situated on the banks of the historic Potomac River and just minutes from the nation’s capital, National Harbor is a waterfront resort destination unlike any other. National Harbor is home to two of Maryland’s Four Diamond rated hotels—Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, the East Coast’s largest non-gaming hotel and convention center and has almost 2,000 hotel rooms and 660,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and MGM National Harbor, an integrated luxury casino resort with renowned chef-driven restaurants, a 3,000-seat state-of-the art theater and one of the largest gaming floors outside of Las Vegas. The vibrant Waterfront District features boutique shops, restaurants and entertainment options along picturesque promenades. The iconic Capital Wheel, a 180-ft observation wheel, Tanger Outlets’ 85 designer brands, and a robust calendar of events round out this destination that welcomes more than 15.2 million visitors a year. For more information, visit www.NationalHarbor.com.