2016 Annual Award Winners

Protector of the Potomac Award Winners


This year we are proud to honor Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia’s 11th District with our Protector of the Potomac Award. Given the daily drumbeat of local and regional headlines reporting on Dominion’s coal ash pollution at Possum Point, it’s important to note that Congressman Connolly was working on amending federal coal ash regulations long before problems with coal ash disposal came to a head in Virginia. Congressman Connolly is in his fourth term and serves residents in Fairfax County, Prince William County, the town of Dumfries and Herndon, and the City of Fairfax.


We have learned that it takes leaders on both the federal and state level to tackle our most vexing problems. There is no other state elected official who has taken a more visible and important role in helping solve Dominion’s Possum Point coal ash problems than Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell who represents the 36th district, which encompasses portions of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford counties. Scott Surovell is a 12th-generation Virginian and life-long resident of the Mount Vernon Community.



Ruth Prodan first came to us with concerns about toxic aquatic herbicides being sprayed on the Potomac River near her home, in a misguided effort to control aquatic vegetation hindering boat traffic along the river. With support of Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks, Ruth took her fight to her Homeowner’s Association and convinced them never to use harmful herbicides in the river again. Her actions also spurred Virginia regulators to warn herbicide sprayers that use of these chemicals was prohibited for controlling native wetland plants. Ruth has also been a pivotal citizen activist on our Coal Ash Campaign, building grassroots support and motivating elected officials to increase public pressure on Dominion to clean up its coal ash mess in Virginia.

Ruth’s entrepreneurial and civic spirit isn’t a surprise. Ruth designed fitness equipment for infomercials and founded Office Aerobic Services that managed fitness centers for Fortune 500 Corporations for 25 years. After retiring she became a Minors Counsel specializing in abused and neglected children. She was also very active in the animal rights community in Southern California. She is now a resident of Alexandria and has fallen in love with the Potomac River. Ruth is committed to keeping the Potomac River healthy and clean. We’re very lucky to have her helping us!

These awards were given at our 2016 Gala – Celebrate Our Nation’s River on May 13, 2016