The DC Bag Fee Is Cleaning Up the Anacostia River

By Bradley Kennedy

Nash Run is one of the dirtiest streams in the Anacostia River watershed. However, thanks to D.C’s 5-cent disposable bag fee, one major source of pollution is finally on the decline.

“Astronomical levels of trash” and “dirtiest of all streams” -- these are phrases used to describe the humble little Nash Run, a small tributary of the Anacostia River. Nash Run starts in Fairmount Heights, MD, and runs through the Deanwood neighborhood of DC before emptying into the Anacostia near the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. It is one of the biggest contributors of the litter pollution impairing the Anacostia River. But a study on this stream over the past 4 years offers hope that the litter problem can be reversed.

Concocting a Solution to our Trash Problem, Thoughts from the Trash Trap Site

By Kelci Schexnayder, Stewardship Intern

Hello from AWS! Last week we had a group of elementary school girls come out with us to the river, take a ride on our pontoon boat, and do some activities to learn about the wide variety of sources of pollution. A fellow intern told me about one gal who drew a beautiful solution to the litter problem, a trash can smack dab in the middle of the river for people to use instead of tossing their litter into the waters. What she didn’t know is that the AWS already has their own similar version of this! Our "trash trap" was installed in early 2009 and replaced with an updated version just last summer.


This trash was intercepted by our trash trap during a rain event at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast Washington, DC. AWS has found that bottles make up 45% of the trash volume.

Baltimore Aquarium Conservation Team visits AWS

ACT staff with Stewardship Team Masaya presenting at Nash Run Trash Trap
Aquarium Conservation Team staff at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (above) and visiting the Nash Run Trash Trap (below).

On Monday, my fellow Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer Laura Cattell brought her Conservation Team at the National Aquarium in Baltimore down for a visit.  We had the pleasure of introducing them to our watershed, engaging them in some cleanup work and sharing trade secrets.

As we always do, we highlighted the historic quality of the Anacostia River -- how much life in the early colonial period of this area depended on the river -- as well as showing our organization's approach to the challenges we face today.  Our guests were amazed when Eric mentioned that prior to agricultural development and unsustainable settlement, Bladensburg was a bigger port than Baltimore!

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