PRK stops pollution by direct confrontation, and if necessary, lawsuits against polluters. Sometimes our precious Potomac needs bold action, and that is us! For example, PRK has lawsuits pending against the largest poultry producers in the Shenandoah Valley. Working with farmers, we have a lighter touch, attempting to persuade them and tap into sources of funding for farm improvements. Closer to DC, we sue sloppy sewage treatment facilities, sue to get better stormwater permitting requirements -- it goes on and on. A lot of organizations talk about cleaner rivers and Bay, but you gotta get down with the polluters and deal with them directly.
Among the many aspects of my very satisfying volunteer relationship with PRK over the past three+ years, I recently had the opportunity to work with a staff member at a local Whole Foods market. On this particular day, this store and two others in the area, was donating 5% of its intake to PRK. I found it very rewarding to thank people for making a donation, some of whom did not realize they were making. I also enjoyed telling people about what we do and why we do it.
Potomac Riverkeeper is one of the most effective organizations I have been involved with. It has grown from one staffer to seven in a very short time (8 years). I think this is because it has such a powerful mission (stopping pollution of the Potomac and its tributaries) and such a hardworking, smart staff (and board). The organization accomplishes its mission primarily through enforcement, that is monitoring polluters and
The dedication of the incredibly motivated and committed staff and board and membership of PRK and SRK (PRK has purview over both the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers) is unparalleled in my experience. The mission, to keep pollution out of our rivers, sounds simple. But it is an enormous task. PRK believes that all who depend on the waters of the Potomac and Shenandoah for drinking, cleansing, recreating, watering of livestock and crops, and pure aesthetic enjoyment should be able to use this life-giving resource without fear of contamination or danger to one's self or one's loved ones. This organization works tirelessly to both insist on the enforcement of the Clean Water Act as well as to promote the education and encouragement of the community at large. PRK is making a tangible, real-time difference in the lives and health of those using the waters. What I find most exciting, however, is that PRK is not content just to focus on small things, or part of the problem. PRK's goal is to clean up the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers. In their entirety. To that end, it is constantly monitoring the rivers and tributaries, constantly educating itself, constantly learning, constantly meeting with stakeholders, constantly reaching out to the public, constantly, vigilantly striving to exceed expectations. It is a distinct honor to be associated with this amazing organization, which truly deserves to be one of the top-rated environmental nonprofits.