Anacostia Watershed Blog

Stormwater pollution case in Virginia misses the point

A recent Clean Water Act case in northern Virginia has been capturing attention because it deals with the regulation of stormwater pollution. The case, Virginia Department of Transportation versus Environmental Protection Agency (PDF), is broken down nicely by AWS colleague Jon Devine of the Natural Resources Defense Council on their Switchboard blog:

At its core, the decision said that the Environmental Protection Agency couldn’t use stormwater volume as a proxy for sediment pollution when developing a cleanup target (known in Clean Water Act jargon as a “total maximum daily load” or “TMDL”) for Accotink Creek, a tributary to the Potomac River.

A Good First Step for Pepco Benning Road Community Engagement

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) hosted a Community Meeting at the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services building on Minnesota Avenue. This meeting was an important step forward for engaging the community in the Pepco Benning Road environmental site investigation and cleanup to learn more about these efforts and provide comments directly to DDOE and Pepco officials.

Attendees of the September 15, 2012 Pepco Benning Road cleanup community meeting
Attendees of the September 15, 2012 Pepco Benning Road cleanup community meeting

Community Advisory Group Gets Underway for Pepco Benning Road Cleanup

On August 16, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) convened the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) as part of the cleanup of the Pepco Benning Road site. The CAG is composed of members of community organizations, civic associations, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and agency staff. The goal is to facilitate communication between Pepco and the community as important decisions are made regarding the cleanup process.

For an initial meeting the turnout of community members was disappointing -- hopefully this can be attributed to the mid-August date. But it appears from the list distributed that at least a few of the invited community groups had not designated a representation to serve on the CAG. The CAG members who were in attendance noted the low participation and pushed Pepco and DDOE to conduct additional vigorous outreach.

Understanding the Anacostia’s Water Quality Report Card

During Earth Month AWS released the second annual State of the Anacostia River report card. The river received an overall water quality score of C- based on the parameters we assessed. But what does that really mean?

River Health and Recreation Public Forum

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Time: 9am - 11am
Location: First District Police Station, 101 M Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024

Are you a recreational user of the Anacostia River?
Do you paddle, boat, row, or fish on the Anacostia?

If so, you should plan to attend this open public forum on River Health and Recreation. A panel of public health and environmental experts will make a brief presentation, followed by an open question and answer period. The panel will feature government officials and health experts including:

UPDATED: Draft consent decree announced for Washington Gas toxic site

On December 12, 2011, the District Department of Environment (DDOE) announced, along with its federal partners, the entry of a draft consent decree regarding clean up of the Washington Gas toxic site along the Anacostia River. 

Support a Prince George's County Bag Bill

The Anacostia River is so severely impacted by trash that in 2007 it was declared impaired by trash under the provisions of the Clean Water Act.  Only the second river in the country to be so designated, and the first multi-jurisdictional river (Maryland and DC), in 2010 a trash TMDL, or pollution diet, was issued that requires Anacostia jurisdictions to reduce the amount of trash entering the river.

At the end of 2008 AWS released a scientific study of trash in the Anacostia River.  One of the key findings of this study was that 33% of the trash in the tidal river was plastic bags, while nearly 50% of the trash in tributary streams was plastic bags.

Save the Forested Buffer in the Wheaton Sector Plan

Sligo Creek, a tributary of the Anacostia River

Today AWS is calling on Montgomery County Council to save the last remaining forested area in the Wheaton Sector Plan.  This green forested buffer contains remnant streams and headwater catchments that drain to Sligo Creek (of Northwest Branch of the Anacostia) and to Lower Rock Creek.  Mapping, protecting, and expanding existing green forest buffers is one of the most important first steps we can take in any watershed restoration program.  The Council did the right thing by making watershed restoration a core objective of the sector plan, but now they must finish the job by enacting specific protections for the forest buffer around Wheaton mall.

Wheaton Sector Plan: Preserve and Expand the Green Forest Buffer

Prince George’s County Clean Water Forum This Thursday 11/10

Co-sponsors: Clean Water Action, Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, Anacostia Watershed Society

Free And Open To The Public – Refreshments Served!

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2011                                                        
Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Forest Heights Mayor’s Office
5508 Arapahoe Drive
Forest Heights, MD  20745 (map)
Click here to download the event flyer

Anacostia River Trail Dedication

On Friday, November 4, 2011, an incredible numbers of government officials came to Bladensburg Waterfront Park (BWP) to cut the ribbon on the latest segment of the Anacostia River hiker/biker trail.  The Northwest and Northeast Branch trails used to meet and then end at BWP, but a new 1.5 mile section has opened that runs nearly to the DC border.  This is part of a plan to create a full Anacostia River trail that connects Maryland to DC!  (DC is building north along National Park Service land on the river and we hope the trails will be connected within two years.)  I think this trail will be a game changer for perceptions of the Anacostia River, and for commuting patterns in the northeastern quadrant of the metropolitan area.

Overview Map of Anacostia River Trail planned improvements