Anacostia Watershed Blog

Transforming the 11th Street Bridge Project

By Guest Blogger Scott Kratz, 11th St. Recreation Bridge Project Volunteer

Conceptual Image

Rivers have always been a place for gathering. Our earliest settlements were natural venues for the cities that would eventually spring to life along the riverbanks - think Paris, London, New York, and New Orleans. Unfortunately, industry and commerce brought pollution, too, and we turned our backs on once lush landscapes. We built highways along embankments, left once busy shipping piers to rot, and littered our shorelines with abandoned warehouses and rust.

But imagine what could be. Change is in the air as cities across the US are beginning to realize rivers can become assets, not merely polluted liabilities. For the last several decades, groups like the Anacostia Watershed Society have been working to restore local rivers and educate the public about resources often hidden in front of us, in plain sight.

Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail Extension Under Construction

Historic photo of a trolley running on the future hike/biker grade in Hyattsville, MD 

Not everyone knows it yet, but AWS is starting to focus on recreation in a big way. We're firm believers that recreation leads to stewardship and vice versa. Of course, that all fits in with our main mission which is to clean the water, recover the shores and honor the heritage of the Anacostia River.

Eagle Scout Candidate Caps Off 2011 Tree Planting

Eagle Scout Candidate Trung Vo brought out Troop 904 from Arlington, VA to plant 106 native trees in Magruder Park in Hyattsville, MD.  Their effort will cap off our tree and shrub plantings for 2011 at a total of 857, our most ever!  Check out the video above for even more detail, and consider joining us to help out at one of our upcoming volunteer events.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

The Anacostia River at the Commodore Joshua Barney Bridge in Bladensburg, MD

The Maryland State Highway Administration has been hard at work placing Anacostia River and Tributary signs thoughout the watershed from the Beltway to Bladensburg and everywhere in between.  You should see them on major state and interstate roads where they cross a particuar tributary.  Here are two that highlight the rivers main tribuataries:

The Northwest Branch crossing at Route 1 in North Brentwood/Hyattsville, MD

The Northeast Branch crossing at Alt US Route 1 in Edmonston/Hyattsville, MD

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge Nearing Completion

The ART West Bank Flyover Bridge Nearing Completion

A key piece of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is nearing completion.  The largest span of the CSX Railroad track 'flyover' was lifted into place this week.  This will allow you to ride your bike from Benning Road, Capitol Hill and communities to the east all the way to The Yards Park completely along the rivers edge.  Currently you have to follow a detour through the city streets to avoid the railroad tracks.  This will also give Ward 6 citizens much easier access to the Anacostia Community Boathouse and the various boat clubs along M and Water Streets SE.  

Volunteer for the Upcoming 9/11 Day of Service

George Washington University Volunteers at our 2010 Day of Service

In just a few weeks AWS will be participating for the 3rd time in the 9/11 National Day of Service.  This year we're headed back to Fort Dupont Park in Washington, DC.  We'll be helping out the National Park Service with a variety of needs including a trash clean up, an invasive plant removal, the removal a stream blockage, and creating an entirely new trail!  

For anyone who doesn't know, Fort Dupont Park constitutes DC's second largest woodland area at about 360 acres.   That makes it a very significant urban habitat and an important sub-watershed for the Anacostia River.  We're excited to be able to focus hundreds of volunteers on helping out this beautiful park.  

Down by the River - AWS Paddle Nights Already a Big Success!

A full canoe from our last Paddle Night

Earlier this summer AWS decided to take the plunge and start holding regular Paddle Nights on the Anacostia River the same way other river groups have been in the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed.  We really weren't sure what to expect, but with relatively little effort, we've generated tons of interest and participation.  After just two events, we've already had about 80 people down to paddle and we're expecting lots more for our next event this Wednesday, August 3rd (5:00pm - 8:00pm). **8/3/11 2:30pm EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to rain heading our way tonight, we're postponing Paddle Night until tomorrow, Thursday, August 4th.  Hope you can still make it!**

115 Trees Planted to Celebrate Earth Day

Maret Students Hard at Work

This year the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) held our annual watershed-wide cleanup on Saturday, April 9th, but that didn't stop us from doing a lot of good during the week of Earth Day proper.  We started out the week by planting 80 trees on the Northwest Branch tributary trail with students from the Maret School.  

Maret School Group Photo

Meet the AWS Stewardship Team

Maybe you've met one of us at a volunteer event, or maybe you've just seen us saving the world from afar. Either way, let me take this opportunity to reintroduce you to your AWS Stewardship Team.

AWS Stewardship Team

Before we get into the details, let's clear something up for the uninitiated; what does stewardship even mean?  In our case it means showcasing examples of how to coexist and contribute to a healthy river through our projects and programming.  At the end of the day, our mission as a team is to expose an ever increasing number of people to the challenges and opportunities that individuals in our watershed can tackle on their own, or with a little planning and collective effort.  

So, without further ado, let's meet the team (L to R from photo above):