By Mattie Lehman, AWS Public Policy and Advocacy Intern
Each year lotus and lily blooms at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens (KAG) in Northeastern DC attract large numbers of nature lovers and photographers to view the flowers, wildlife, and unique aquatic plants that make up the marsh area. Thanks to the efforts of the Anacostia Watershed Society, one view visitors do not see is the trash that once plagued the Gardens.
Upstream, the Nash Run Trash Trap operated by AWS stops and collects litter which previously would have made its way towards KAG and ended up in the Anacostia River. The Trap began as a joint project of AWS and the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment in February 2009. Since that time, AWS has continued to maintain the trap and installed an updated version in 2011 designed by Masaya Maeda, AWS Water Quality Specialist.
By Dan Smith & Lori Baranoff
Challenged for much of the past year for requiring the state’s largest jurisdictions to set fees for local polluted runoff reduction projects, the Maryland General Assembly took action this week to give local jurisdictions flexibility in how they raise these important pollution-reduction funds. The Assembly also affirmed requirements that the work get done. The bill now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan for signing.
Trash on the banks of the Anacostia River.
On Tuesday January 20, the Montgomery County Council can help the Anacostia River in a big way, by voting to ban the use and sale of plastic foam food service products in the county and replacing them with compostable or recyclable products. Far too many of these containers are fouling our waters, including the Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay. ... Did you notice we didn’t refer to these containers as Styrofoam? ‘Why?’ you might ask.
A new study shows that Washington DC’s Bag Law is working for both consumers and businesses. That’s the conclusion of a study commissioned by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) that surveyed residents and businesses to measure the impact of the law that was implemented four years ago to reduce plastic bag litter, especially in streams and the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. Across the District there has been a significant reduction in disposable bag use: businesses have reduced their use of bags by 50% on average, and four in five DC residents now carry reusable bags when shopping, with 58% stating that they carry them “most of the time” or “always.”
Of the 600 randomly surveyed DC residents –
Anacostia River seen from Bladensburg Waterfront Park.
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?
Our annual Earth Day Cleanup & Celebration event is less than 2½ weeks away! Please join us this year in honoring Earth Day on April 21 by helping clean up the watershed. Most cleanup activities run from 9 am to noon; for specific locations (nearly 40 total!) and times, please visit our Earth Day Google Map. Following the cleanup will be a celebration (part of The Nature Conservancy’s Picnic for the Planet) at RFK Stadium parking lot #6 from noon to 2 pm featuring live music, guest speakers, exhibits, organizational tables, and free food and drinks prepared by Seafarer’s Yacht Club. For more details please visit our Earth Day webpage.
AWS' volunteering and stewardship programs welcomed the new year on a beautiful, unseasonably warm Thursday this past week! Membership and Volunteer Coordinator (Maddie) and VolunteerMaryland Coordinator (Heather) worked with a group of volunteers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Riverside Neighborhood Park near Riverdale Park and Edmonston, MD.
Twenty-five volunteers worked hard to remove trash and non-native plants from the park and small surrounding stream, located right along the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River. Nearby is also the Northeast Branch Trail, which can take you all the way from Beltsville to Bladensburg and beyond!
(Volunteer in action)
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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