Anacostia Watershed Blog

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.

A Good First Step for Pepco Benning Road Community Engagement

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) hosted a Community Meeting at the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services building on Minnesota Avenue. This meeting was an important step forward for engaging the community in the Pepco Benning Road environmental site investigation and cleanup to learn more about these efforts and provide comments directly to DDOE and Pepco officials.

Attendees of the September 15, 2012 Pepco Benning Road cleanup community meeting
Attendees of the September 15, 2012 Pepco Benning Road cleanup community meeting

Public Meeting Concerning Pepco Benning Road Investigation

On September 15, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) will host a Community Meeting at the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (4058 Minnesota Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019) in the Community Room from 11 am to 1 pm. This public event is an opportunity for those interested in the Pepco Benning Road environmental site investigation and cleanup to learn more about these efforts and provide comments directly to DDOE and Pepco officials.

Click here for a copy of the official public notice.

We have also compiled summaries of the work plan documents currently up for public comment:
1. Summary of the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan
2. Summary of the Health and Safety Plan

Wonders on the Water: A Welcome

Whoosh! The flap of the cormorant’s wings lifted it away from the water. It didn’t seem too perturbed by its missed catch. It would have another shot. Twenty yards downriver a snowy white egret stood perfectly still, a lesson in elegance and poise. Red-eared sliders, true to their name, slid one-by-one from their sunning logs into the water at our approach. A bald eagle, barely visible from its great height, surveyed all below.

This is just a glimpse of my first trip out onto the Anacostia River and from this experience, I could tell the watershed and I would have a full year’s worth of adventures and stories to tell by the end of next August.

A cormorant's lunch

Lunch for a cormorant.

Work Plans for the Pepco Benning Road Cleanup

The current comment periods for the Pepco Benning Road Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) work plans have been extended. All comments must now be submitted by September 28, 2012, to the District Department of the Environment (see details below).

These documents can be accessed on DDOE's website by clicking on the following links:
1. Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan
2. Sampling and Analysis Plan
3. Health and Safety Plan
 


The study area (highlighted in blue) for this investigation consists of the entire Pepco Benning Road property, totaling 77 acres, and a segment of the Anacostia River, approximately 12 acres. (This image was taken from the work plans prepared by AECOM.)

Community Advisory Group Gets Underway for Pepco Benning Road Cleanup

On August 16, 2012, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) convened the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) as part of the cleanup of the Pepco Benning Road site. The CAG is composed of members of community organizations, civic associations, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and agency staff. The goal is to facilitate communication between Pepco and the community as important decisions are made regarding the cleanup process.

For an initial meeting the turnout of community members was disappointing -- hopefully this can be attributed to the mid-August date. But it appears from the list distributed that at least a few of the invited community groups had not designated a representation to serve on the CAG. The CAG members who were in attendance noted the low participation and pushed Pepco and DDOE to conduct additional vigorous outreach.

5 Good Nature Field Guides for your Smartphone

Smartphones can be extremely helpful when you are working in the field and you need to document with pictures, do some quick species ID or peek into your surrounding landscape with bird's-eye-view aerial imagery -- even for individuals like me, who at some point in our lives have been one of those cell phone rebels seemingly skeptical about the usefulness of all these cell phone technologies. Well, it turns out that now I'm an iPhone hog and my smartphone has really helped me at work and even in the field -- who knew!

There are a number of apps you can download for free or for very reasonable prices. Here are five I use regularly and I recommend to you:

Newsletter

 

Browse our newsletter archive to read articles previously published in our quarterly newsletter, Voice of the River!

Subscribe

Stay informed of the latest watershed issues by subscribing to our free email updates & event announcements.