Anacostia Watershed Blog

Prince George's County Inauguration

Today Prince George’s County swore in its nine Council Members, five of whom are newly elected, and inaugurated a new County Executive, Rushern L. Baker III.

County Executive Rushern Baker gives his Inaugural Address (December 6, 2010).

Fall seed collection hopes to ramp up our revegetation operations next year

By: Joseph Hager, AWS Stewardship Intern

It’s been a productive seed collection season! Fall is the time of year when many trees and plants produce a bounty of seeds in an effort to maintain and expand their presence in the ecosystem. The seeds vary greatly among the species, from large acorns to tiny seeds that can be carried off in the wind. While each species has developed unique mechanisms to help the spread of its seed, these traits are sometimes still not enough in the face of invasive species, their natural (native) enemies, and an environment plagued with man-induced stressors. Acorns face consumption by abundant populations of deer and squirrels, impervious surfaces where they cannot grow, cars and foot traffic that crush the seed and a wide array of threatening diseases and fungi. Later on, seedlings face competition from larger and more aggressive invasive plants, more deer, and so forth.

Prince George’s County’s chance for a greener future

Bioretention, Knollbrook Drive, Prince George’s County

On Tuesday, October 26 Prince George’s County Council has a chance to chart a new course for development in the county that is two kinds of green: good for our environment and good for our economy. Come to the Council hearing room at 9AM on Tuesday to make your voice heard: County Administration Building 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772-3050.

Studies have shown that building green:

ACTION ALERT: MNCBIA Says Clean Water is Good for Montgomery County but Not for Prince George's County


Press Conference to Call Attention to Anacostia River Toxics

Six local environmental groups including the Anacostia Watershed Society, Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, Anacostia Riverkeeper, DC Environmental Network, Groundwork Anacostia River and the Sierra Club Environmental Justice program are organizing a press conference on Tuesday, September 7th at 12:00 noon to call attention to the lack of action on the clean-up of known toxic sites along the Anacostia River. While the District and federal agencies debate details and jurisdictions, causing years long delays, the toxics wait for no one and continue to leech into our environment.

If not for the Battle of Bladensburg, the Star-Spangled Banner wouldn't exist!

By Jim Foster, AWS President

Today is the 196th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg! Our George Washington House is “Ground Zero” for the Battle that saw a swift overrun of American defenders and the burning of the White House and Capitol six hours later. The MD State Highway Administration recently completed archeological excavations in and around Bladensburg including at the GW House in our parking lot. (see first link below for additional information and photos on their findings)

Volunteers From The JBG Companies Tackle Invasives at Fort Dupont

Last Tuesday we had a lot of fun in the woods of Fort Dupont with a group of eight enthusiastic volunteers from The JBG Companies, one of the Washington metropolitan area's main real estate companies. The company was honoring its 50th anniversary with a day of volunteer service and its employees were lending a helping hand to a number of charitable and environmental hands-on projects throughout the region.

Those volunteering with AWS were up against some of the toughest invasive woody plants at the park, including a 10 feet Norway maple, 22 mature bush honeysuckles and 7 white mulberries, among other species.

Stormwater Impacts on the Anacostia River

As if last week's storm wasn't enough, the DC area was hit yet again with another heavy rain today with the possibility of more still on the horizon.  While the rain is surely a welcome break from those hot summer temperatures, it can have some serious effects on the environment and the Anacostia River.  The high amount of impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots in the highly developed Anacostia region leads to excessive runoff during even small rain events.  Large rain events like today's and last Thursday's produce even more drastic effects, resulting in high water, flooding, excessive streambank erosion, loss of trees and the dumping of tons of trash and pollutants directly into the river.  Below is a video highlighting photos and footage from the storms on August 12 & 18, 2010.  What you will see is evidence of a "sick river" because this is not normal. 

Flash Flooding and Tons of Trash: The Anacostia River After Thursday's Storm

Residents across the DC area awoke to a fierce thunderstorm early Thursday morning that, despite its short duration, left nearly 60,000 Pepco customers without power, caused some flash flooding and brought massive amounts of trash and storm debris down the Anacostia River.

AWS's Director of Advocacy Brent Bolin and Director of Education Programs Lee Cain went out to the Bladensburg Waterfront Park to document the storm's effect on the river.  Lots of trash had washed up all along the shoreline.  While they were standing there, they watched a giant tree float by followed by an enormous mass of trash and storm debris.  They tracked it upstream and believe a hiker/biker bridge over the Northwest Branch was preventing the trash from passing through when the water level rose.  Once the level dropped back down, the trash was released and made its way downstream to Bladensburg where they spotted it.

Below are some photos they took and a map to illustrate:

Masaya's Interesting Trash Findings in our AWS "Field Office"

"I need a desk chair.  Can someone throw one away for me please?"

AWS staff and energetic summer interns have been sorting out trash into 47 categories in this sweltering summer. The trash was captured by the AWS trash trap installed in Nash Run thanks to a grant from District Department of the Environment (DDOE). After the detailed sorting, the trash was bagged in clear plastic bags into 4 major categories: bottles and cans, plastic cups, Styrofoam, and others, to understand trash characteristics by volume. The bags were stacked up and photo-documented. (See the photo below) About 40% of trash is bottles and cans, and about 30% of it is Styrofoam.



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