Tucked inside the canoes was the latest hope for turning this river crystal clear: Hundreds of two-inch mussels, piled up in baskets and nestled in gobs of thick mud. The shellfish act as natural filters. The mission of Anacostia Riverkeeper is to protect and restore the Anacostia River for all who live, work, and play in its watershed, and to advocate for a clean river for all its communities. The larvae eventually drop off and form new mussel beds. Rain can thus cause violations of water standards, as fecal coliform bacteria present in sewage mixes with rainwater and flows into Rock Creek, the Potomac River, and the Anacostia River. “This is a new thing, and it’s still a very rapidly evolving science and there’s a lot we need to learn. But now this once-vibrant recreational spot is better known for being one of the most polluted rivers in the nation. 2010] The Anacostia River 71 city constructed the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant along the Anacostia River, near its confluence with the Potomac River, in the 1930s. Jim Foster, president and CEO of the Anacostia Watershed Society, also welcomed the plan but cautioned that “this isn’t the whole enchilada.” He estimated there are another 14 contaminated areas this plan doesn’t address. At the time, it was the largest advanced treatment plant in the world. Lower turbidity levels are better for our local water quality as it allows more sunlight to reach bottom dwelling plants like submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) as well as indicating less particulate matter in the water which could be a sign of pollution. The District is fronting the funds to launch the cleanup but is hoping to recover at least some of the remediation costs from companies and federal agencies determined to be responsible for the contamination. The Anacostia River and the land area that drains to the river have a long history of urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture, which has resulted in pollution, poor water quality, and contaminated sediments in the river bed. The Anacostia River Tunnel is one phase in DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, which aims to drastically cut down on the pollution in the area’s waterways. br/>The Anacostia River and its tributaries have been the victim of more than 300 years of abuse and neglect resulting in pollution, loss of habitat, erosion, sedimentation, flooding, and destruction of wetlands. Just the 8,700 we are releasing this fall could filter 48 Olympic-size swimming pools a year,” Bogantes said. Centuries of development around the nation’s capital rendered most of this river too polluted for fishing or swimming. The mussels fit into a vision of a self-sustaining river as humans do their part to keep pollution out. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, looked at the Anacostia where the mussels would soon be dropped. The 507-page blueprint calls for dredging PCB-tainted sediment in some areas while capping others with clean sediment and activated carbon granules to keep the toxic chemicals from getting back into the water. CONTACT: Donna Henry (DDOE) 202.299.3338; donna.henry@dc.gov (Washington, DC) – Members of the newly-formed Leadership Council for a Cleaner Anacostia River met for the first time this week to discuss efforts to restore the Anacostia River. The city also provides financial incentives for property owners to install green roofs or to plant trees in an attempt to reduce ­storm-water runoff. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who has researched mussels. resulted in pollution, poor water quality, and contaminated sediments in the river bed. Why a D.C. water fee fight involves race and the First Amendment, “This is simply a new arrow to put in our quiver,” Kreeger said. “They are essentially as hard as the sole of your shoes,” said Matt Ashton of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, who helped identify the freshwater mussels native to Anacostia. Blog Contact Events. Local governments have made strides fixing all the major pollution sources: bacteria, polluted stormwater runoff, trash, and toxics. For the first time ever, the Anacostia River has passed an annual health-check that assesses the waterway for levels of toxins, trash and other … Bogantes snorkeled in the Anacostia in search of pregnant mussels. The sewage creates a public health threat because of fecal coliform bacteria and other pathogens; it also impairs water quality and can create hypoxic conditions that lead to large fish kills. The most ambitious is a $2.7 billion network of four new tunnels stretching 18 miles, designed to stop overflowing waste from city sewers from discharging into the river. After 10 years of flunking, Anacostia River passes annual health-check with D rating. In those days, much of the pollution was out in the open, like the giant pile of poop on the riverbank at the National Arboretum. “The fact we are able to reintroduce them at all is a huge indicator we are making progress,” said Jeffrey Seltzer, a deputy director at the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment. Back on the river, the volunteers and staff with the Anacostia Watershed Society steered under a bridge where a plastic garbage can bobbed. The river is on such an exciting upward trajectory that the Anacostia Watershed Urban Waters Partnership recently partnered with the District Department of Energy and Environment and SmithGroup, a design and engineering firm, to study the feasibility of creating a space specifically for swimming in the Anacostia River. This plan identifies the early action areas or “hot spots” in the Anacostia River, Washington Channel and Kingman Lake, where contamination from pollution is highest. Due to flow and location of CSOs, the southeast section of the city is exposed to the most water pollution from the sewer system, while Ward 3 is exposed to none. With our fellow Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake Bay Region, we protect families by stopping pollution. By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, Reporter covering health care and coronavirus, Local newsletters: Local headlines (8 a.m.) |. They’ve also been heavily polluted in recent decades, but there are indications that clean up efforts are paying … After reviewing about 850 comments received since then, officials say they have tweaked it to do more dredging in the Kingman Lake area to allow for safer water recreation around Kingman Island, a municipal park undergoing restoration. Anacostia Riverkeeper’s fight Against Microplastic Pollution The rate at which our waterways are constantly being polluted is alarming. For decades, heavy industrial pollution has infiltrated the waters of the Anacostia River, which cuts right through the heart of Washington, D.C. Then about five years ago, Jorge Bogantes spotted an eastern floater, a species of freshwater mussel, caught on a friend’s fishing line. Loss of habitat, erosion, sedimentation, flooding, destruction of wetlands, channelization, toxic pollution, decaying older communities and waterfront areas and loss of river-based recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing and swimming all characterize what had become of the Anacostia River and much of its watershed. Those areas have the highest levels in the river of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), long-banned chemicals once widely used as coolants or insulators in electrical equipment that are now associated with cancer and other health effects. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin. They constantly suck in and expel water as they consume plankton and plant particles through their gills. Tweet on Twitter. Most of the mainstem Anacostia is known as a coastal plain river, meaning that it can often have a high amount of biological material or sediments in it. (Aya El Sadek/ The Wash) Grading a River. With more time needed to issue contracts and get permits, Wells said at a meeting previewing the plan that work likely won’t begin until 2023. “They are doing what a filtration plant or a wastewater plant would do for water. D.C. is spending $35 million on a 77-acre underwater cleanup. Unfortunately, the river has been abused for decades, making it one of … The Anacostia River joins the Potomac River and flows into our nation's capital. These sources of contamination are concentrated in the Anacostia River – just as air and soil pollution are more concentrated in the southeast portion of the city than the northwest. The Anacostia Watershed Society is also using its work to help teach environmental awareness and biology. “The improvement of our technology to propagate and grow them to a large size so we can tag and release them has paved the way for this new way of thinking to release mussels for actual river cleanup,” said Rachel Mair, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at the hatchery. The Anacostia River, once dubbed the “forgotten river” because of centuries of abuse and neglect, is forgotten no longer. Anglers on the Anacostia River. Just eight mussels produced nearly 40,000 larvae. The mission of Anacostia Riverkeeper is to protect and restore the Anacostia River for all who live, work, and play in its watershed, and to advocate for a clean river for all its communities. One school administrator warned teenagers to keep their hands out of a bucket of mussels brimming with Anacostia River water, wary of bacteria. But there’s a lot of potential opportunity to marshal these organisms to benefit society.”. (Aya El Sadek/ The Wash) Grading a River. Anacostia Pollution “Hot Spots” to be Dredged, Trout Fishing the Watershed’s Sweet Spots, 1st-Time Trade: Offsetting Pollution with Oyster Investments, Richmond Tree Initiative to Combat Heat, Pollution, Inequity, Fish Kill Linked to Severn Headwaters Firefighting…, Study Details Plastic Pollution's Brutal Impact on Bay Life, Bald Eagle Aerobatics Draw Photographers to Conowingo, Black Duck & Dumplings on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. All those steps may not happen in a polluted river, so the Anacostia Watershed Society instead turned to a hatchery at Harrison Lake in Virginia. On patrol with the enforcer of the new D.C. plastic straw ban. During rainstorms, the river receives discharges of untreated sewage due to the city's antiquated combined sewer system. 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