Anacostia Watershed Blog

To Levee or Not to Levee?

By Daniel Braunstein, Stewardship Intern

In the aftermath of any hurricane there is discussion about what worked, what didn’t work, and what can be improved. One of the frequent topics of discussion is levees and how well they worked, and how best to improve them to prevent future flooding. Increasingly however the conventional wisdom of rebuilding levees is being questioned.


A levee along the Northeast Branch

SONG Program Brings Student, Volunteer, and AWS Staff Cooperation To A New Level

The AWS education team has been keeping busy this fall working with area students and volunteers to improve the biodiversity within the watershed.  Saving Our Native Grasslands (SONG) is a new program we have created to bolster the efforts of our stewardship team in their work on the Anacostia Riparian Meadow Restoration project (ARMR).

New Opportunities with AWS

As a busy fall winds down at the Anacostia Watershed Society, we are looking ahead toward an exciting new year!

Beginning this winter, AWS will recruit and train individuals like you to help us lead our recreation, education, and restoration events.  

These longer-term volunteer opportunities are the first of its kind for AWS! We are very excited have the opportunity to work with dedicated community members who wish to be a part of our effort to engage and educate the public in the protection and restoration of the Anacostia River.

Dealing with Debris

After Sandy one did not have to look far to find horrifying images of storm damage up and down the East Coast. The DC metro region was, thankfully, spared by the worst of the weather but, as Lori pointed out in this blog post, there was definite evidence of Sandy’s impact on the Anacostia watershed.

It was all the more evident during the education team’s first canoe trip out since the storm. We were not surprised to find an enormous amount of debris floating in the river. While much of it was sticks, logs, leaves, and other natural materials, just as much, if not more, was plastic and glass bottles, styrofoam cups and containers, and other bits of non-biodegradable materials. One type of plastic that was few and far between, however, was the plastic bag. We can, again, give credit to the DC bag fee for keeping an enormous number of these bags out of the river.

Hurricane Sandy's Impact on the Anacostia Watershed


View of the Anacostia River under the South Capitol St Bridge.

Team AWS Runs the Marine Corps Marathon

The Anacostia River is only 8 miles long, but this past Sunday, October 28, nine dedicated runners covered 26.2 miles each to support the river's restoration. As a charity partner of the Marine Corps Marathon, Anacostia Watershed Society was able to give race entries to runners who raised a minimum of $500 to support our work. Together, the nine runners of Team AWS raised thousands of dollars! Thanks to Paul & Laura McGrath, Gwyn Jones, Josh Hamlin, Allyson Romanow, Upendra Jejjala, and Gehan Talwatte, and AWS staff Simon Plog and Julie Lawson (me!) for your dedication!

October Seeds Bring Spring Plants

The past couple of weeks were busy ones for the Education team. We took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather by being outside practically every day with both students and adult volunteers. A good portion of our time was spent collecting various seeds as the plants matured, dried, and began to drop their fruits at the cold's approach.

Students collect Partridge Pea Seeds at ANA 11

All of the seeds we collected fall into two categories, wetland plants and meadow plants, and have differing modes of collection.

Meadow Plants

River Herring and Shad

By Mathew D'Alessio

Shad and river herring are "anadromous" fish which means that they spend majority of their lives in the ocean, and only return to freshwater in the spring to spawn. Traditionally, these fish spawned in almost every river and tributary along the East Coast.

Reptiles from the Late Triassic

By Amanda Simms

Turtles Basking on the Anacostia

I’m not talking about dinosaurs; I’m talking about turtles. It may surprise you to know the turtles existed when the last of dinosaurs were evolving in the late Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. Turtles can be found all over the world and there are approximately 300 species living today.

In the Anacostia watershed, we have 19 species of turtles. The most common in suburban areas (your backyard) is the box turtle. In coastal plain areas musk and mud turtles are most common. In different types of water, from freshwater to brackish (a mix of salt and fresh water) we see more snapping turtles. And in larger bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, sea turtles lurk.

Last Call for Comments on Pepco Benning Road Investigation Work Plans

Friday, September 28, 2012, is the submission deadline for public comments regarding the three work plan documents Pepco developed, per the Consent Decree, for the investigation of suspected contaminants migrating from their Benning Road property to the Anacostia River.


Google Map showing neighborhoods immediately impacted by Pepco Benning Road Facility operations. Starting from the northwestern portion of the map and ending in the northeastern portion, these neighborhoods are: Carver Terrace, Langston Terrace, Kingman Park, River Terrace, Mayfair, Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth-Parkside.

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