RiverSmart Communities Program

DC's Program to slow the flow of stormwater to the Anacostia River
RiverSmart Communities Program
DC's Program to slow the flow of stormwater to the Anacostia River
The 2023 Application period is now closed.

RiverSmart programs help to reduce stormwater runoff that harms the District’s waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. RiverSmart programs provide financial incentives to help District property owners install green infrastructure such as rain barrels, green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and shade trees, and more. These practices allow rainwater to stay on site and soak into the ground, where natural processes help remove pollutants. AWS is here to help you learn more about how to install them, and how to qualify for the financial incentives.

What benefits will you receive from your RiverSmart participation?

  • It won’t break your budget - no capital expenditure is required.
  • You’ll be eligible for the Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) Nonprofit Relief Program.
  • You get a beautiful new garden or stormwater feature ready by Fall of 2023.
  • You do your part for clean water, and set an example of clean river practices for your surrounding community.
  • Your community will be energized with a positive, hopeful project that connects them with one another in challenging times.
  • You don’t have to do it alone! The Anacostia Watershed Society will help you from project start to completion.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) play an essential role in protecting, preserving and restoring our watershed. Rain gardens, BayScapes, permeable pavement and cisterns provide tremendous benefits for our communities, neighborhoods and individual property owners. Every municipality in the watershed is encouraging BMPs and AWS is here to help you learn more and get them installed.

RiverSmart Benefits for the Anacostia River

  • Improved stormwater management for properties – through retention, purification and re-use
  • Reductions to the heat island effect
  • Increased health – for people, plants and wildlife
  • Additional greenspaces for some applications
  • Potential energy conservation and noise reduction
  • Reduced demand on the municipal sewer systems and potential reductions in fees
  • Reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions

When you apply to RiverSmart programs, there are three important pieces to prepare before you apply:

Team - Team work makes the dream work, and RiverSmart projects make that dream a reality with the participation of key stakeholders. Your project team must include the property owner, one individual with the authority to approve capital improvement projects on the property, and 2 other concerned citizens such as congregants, community members,  building managers, or maintenance and grounds workers. The team should be a minimum of 4 people with 1 person assigned as project lead.

Camera - Get your camera ready! Although we will visit your site in person, we will need visuals of the problem areas to help us with an initial assessment of your proposed property. 

Engagement Plan - Plan for Success! The RiverSmart program also centers on community engagement, so think of ways your project can involve the general public.  Often times this inclues volunteers events like plantings and maintenance, and can include presentations and other events.  Don't be afraid to get creative!

Do you have questions before you apply? 

Click here for the RiverSmart Communities Interest Form

RiverSmart Guides

Completed Projects

If you have questions please contact us by calling 301-699-6204 ext.106 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Montgomery County

Property owners in Montgomery County can receive technical assistance and funding for BMPs through the Rainscapes Program. AWS is also available to help. Learn More.

Prince George’s County

Prince George's County Council unanimously passed bill that established a Clean Water Act Fee in 2013 to fund projects that reduce polluted water run-off. Stormwater is one of the county's biggest challenges as it causes flooding, property damage and polluted streams. For more information about support for BMPs through their RainCheck Program, click here


More in this category: « Stormwater Management
Keep in the Loop
Get the Latest updates on our work delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe Now
Stay in the loop