Anacostia Watershed Blog

Fish in Trash in Nash

“Look at this!,” exclaimed Christopher Moore, an Anacostia Watershed Society volunteer, who helped us clean up the Nash Run trash trap on chilly December 18, 2010.  He found small fish in a plastic cigar tube.  Later he learned that the fish is called a Banded Killifish and was looking for a space to hibernate.

The AWS volunteers and I had mixed feelings about this discovery.  There are still native fish in this heavily polluted stream called Nash Run...but in trash to hibernate.

L to R: Jim Thackaberry, Gabe Horchler, Christopher Moore

2011 Maryland Legislative Priorities for the Anacostia Watershed Society

The 2011 Maryland General Assembly session opens next week and legislators will consider several bills vital to the restoration of the Anacostia River.  A large coalition of clean water groups are working on a stormwater utility fee bill, which would require counties to implement programs that assesses a fee based on impervious surface to create a dedicated fund for stormwater retrofits that are vital to cleaning up our urban waters.  A typical Maryland county has a several hundred million dollar backlog of water infrastructure projects that this fee will help address. 

AWS worked over the last year with a coalition of industry and agency stakeholders to propose an invasive plants management bill.  The stakeholder process was a huge success and there is a lot of support for this important bill. 

Plastic bags in Watts Branch, a tributary of the Anacostia River.

Now Accepting Applications for the Watershed Stewards Academy

Apply now for the National Capital Region-Watershed Stewards Academy!
Application deadline has been extended to January 17, 2011.

The National Capital Region-Watershed Stewards Academy will begin in March and is a 12 class course spanning three months.  Through the course, we will help empower community leaders to guide their neighbors to change the way they handle stormwater. 

Participants graduate from the Academy as Master Watershed Stewards by completing the course and developing a Capstone Project that will reduce pollution and runoff at its source, neighborhood by neighborhood.  Applicants will be drawn from the District and Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. 

The Academy is being run by a coalition of local and regional watershed nonprofit organizations, including the Anacostia Watershed Society.

Calling All Volunteers!

We still need a few dedicated volunteers for data entry here at AWS on Saturdays between the hours of 10:00am am - 6:00pm.  No previous experience with Exceed database necessary.  Minimum 2 hour commitment.  Gain valuable experience working for an active environmental nonprofit! 

If you are interested, please contact Sarah Wendel at-
E-mail: or phone: 301-699-6402 ext. 109.

Note: These volunteer hours CAN count towards community service hours!  This position is unpaid.


Educators Prepare for the AWS Rice Rangers Program

Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) Educators Ariel Trahan and Wendy Van Norden attended the “POW! The Planning of Wetlands” workshop on December 10, 2010 at Environmental Concern in St. Michaels, Md.  This full-day training provided them with the tools to identify how and where a wetland can be built, and how students and teachers can be involved every step of the way.

A Busy End of the Year and Special Thanks to our Wonderful Volunteers

As 2010 winds down, the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) is still geared up and working hard to meet our goals for cleaning up the Anacostia River and its tributaries, eradicating invasive plants and planting trees throughout DC and Maryland.  Last month on November 20th, we had a fantastic clean-up event partnering with Surfrider.  With 30 volunteers in three hours, we cleaned up 88 bags of trash (20 bags contained only plastic bottles), 15 tires, 2 grills, 1 iron, 1 rake, 1 metal gate, half of a car transmission and 4 five-gallon buckets along the river banks near Paint Branch Stream.  Thanks to all our hard-working volunteers who came out!

Discovery Team "Creates Change" for AWS

10:00pm on Tuesday marked the end of a marathon day for a large number of Discovery employees!  AWS is one of only 40 nonprofits accepted into the first-ever Discovery Impact: Creating Change program where more than 200 employee-volunteers executed complete projects from start to finish in just 12 hours.  Projects ranged anywhere from press releases and social media strategies to websites and PSAs.

A team of very talented and creative Discovery employees worked together to develop an advertising campaign to help raise awareness for our mission and work in the Anacostia Watershed.  AWS Communications Manager Emily Gillespie and Development Coordinator Emily Conrad are heading over to the Discovery Headquarters now to see the final products! 

Spellman Elementary Oak Tree Project

Students at Spellman Elementary School in Cheverly, Md. recently spent a day with the AWS Educators helping to save a large oak tree that sits just behind their school.

The tree was surrounded by a plastic weed cover that was impervious and prevented the rain water from soaking into the ground. As a result, whenever it rained, water would pool near the foundation of the school and create large puddles on the sidewalks. Together, AWS and the Spellman community decided to solve this problem.

Students from a variety of grade levels came out to help remove the impervious plastic and replace it with a pervious ground cover that will allow water to reach the roots of the tree while still limiting excessive weed growth.

AWS Working to Promote Environmental Literacy in DC

Photo courtesy of

AWS has been working with several other agencies and environmental education providers to help develop an Environmental Literacy Plan for the District of Columbia. This plan will help to incorporate environmental education into the curriculum by focusing on content standards, achievement, professional development, assessment and implementation.

AWS Educator Ariel Trahan recently discussed the plan on WAMU 88.5; listen to the story here.

Cleaning Up Legacy Toxic Sites Along the Anacostia River

For much of 2010, the Anacostia Watershed Society has been working its partners to advocate for the clean-up of legacy toxic sites along the Anacostia River. 

The "Toxics Team" is made up of the following groups:



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