- Mercury is discovered in sediments and fish in the Shenandoah River.
- The Potomac River freezes from the headwaters to Mt. Vernon, Virginia.
- The Supreme Court rules that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to establish industry-wide standards for discharging pollutants into waterways.
- Improvements in the Potomac River result in the return of some water contact sports in the metropolitan area.
- Approximately 100,000 persons attend "The Awakening" on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It is a weeklong event celebrating a cleaner, fishable Potomac, highlighted by the unveiling of a statue called The Awakening at Haines Point in West Potomac Park.
- Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) begins to return to the tidal Potomac. Small beds of hydrilla are discovered in the upper tidal river.
- Striped bass fishing restrictions are initiated.
- The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs from the Potomac River in Maryland to the Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania.