River Restoration Projects
Centuries ago, the Anacostia River was a broad, meandering waterway with more than 2,500 acres of wetlands. However, decades of deforestation, urbanization, and wetland loss have significantly degraded the river’s water quality. The primary contributor of pollution to the Anacostia River is stormwater runoff.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is rain or melted snow.
In a natural landscape without development, stormwater is absorbed into the ground by trees and plants. In an urban landscape, such as the Anacostia River watershed, stormwater falls onto buildings, roadways, rooftops, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces that cannot absorb it. As a result, stormwater washes across these surfaces collecting pollutants, such as fertilizer, oil, grease, household chemicals, pet waste, and litter along the way. In addition to transporting pollutants, runoff can also cause erosion, sedimentation, and localized flooding. Without the aid of plants to capture and treat stormwater, runoff washes into storm drains and streams that empty into the Anacostia River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.
The Anacostia Watershed Society works to reduce litter and restore the natural conditions of the river by creating forest, meadow, and wetland habitat and installing systems in the built environment that mimic natural processes, like rain gardens and green roofs, to reduce stormwater pollution. Learn more about our habitat restoration, pollution reduction, and stormwater management strategies.