600 Pairs of Helping Hands Work to Restore the River’s Wetlands

By Maddie Koenig, AWS Environmental Educator

This spring the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) had the pleasure of working with more than 600 students from 13 different schools across the watershed!    

The Fight Against Phragmites


The fight against invasive plants is a difficult one, as a matter of fact, it is a battle you shouldn't necessarily expect to win.

Removing invasive plants is not an easy enterprise, especially when it has to be done in a wetland, a rather muddy, wet and messy habitat to deal with. Our first Phragmites removal project started in 2010, and even though we made great strides for a couple of years, the effort fell apart when we left the site unattended for a growing season due to lack of funding, and, we were also busy with other ventures. One growing season, then another growing season… and then, you guessed it! Phragmites took over again. Ironically, Phragmites had previously encroached upon the same site after a previous wetland revegetation effort (which we still don’t know who did) was left unmaintained and the Phragmites literally took the whole site over. So, Phragmites = 2, people = ZERO. Ouch!!

Recovery in Action: What Anacostia River Wetland Restoration Looks Like

By: Jorge Bogantes Montero and Maureen Farrington


Bladensburg Wetlands, from August, 2016. Click on pic to open full size in a new tab.

This blog post is a round-up of the wetland restoration posts that appeared on the Anacostia Watershed Society Facebook page through the summer.

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, The River’s Health Barometer

By: Audrey Pleva


Wild Celery underwater in the Susquehanna River. Credit: Debbie Hinkle, Chesapeake Quarterly

AWS is now moving underwater and beginning an exciting effort to restore the river’s submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).  These beautiful grasses are essential to cleaning the river and providing oxygen to our suffocating fish and other aquatic organisms.

Restoring the River’s Wetlands


Gateways consists of non-tidal wetlands with a total area of about 10 acres, the picture shows a pond located right in the middle of the wetland which normally dries out in late summer. This pond provides important habitat for aquatic plants, invertebrates, wetland birds, amphibians, reptiles and other organisms.

Building a Trail -- AWS Says Thanks!!

This past Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), scout Taylor LaChance joined us to complete her Venturing Ranger Award.

Venturing is a program of the Boy Scouts of America that engages youth (both young men and young women) between the ages of 14 and 21. The Ranger Award is very similar to the Eagle Scout Award for those who are familiar. More info about venturing can be found by clicking here.

To recieve the award, scouts must complete a project in their communities. Taylor, a long-time resident in the area, approached us about completing her project with AWS. We were delighted.

For the last two years, AWS has been working to restore a fringe wetland along the Anacostia River, adjacent to the Fort Lincoln Cemetery. In order to access the wetland area, we have had to navigate through a thick patch of woods along the east side of the cemetery. This has not been easy, particularly in the heat of the summer with large groups and lots of supplies!

Beating Back Phragmites

Our 2 years of hacking, mowing and spraying Phragmites in the mud are paying off! There's only about 37% regrowth of Phragmites reeds at our wetland restoration site north of NY Avenue Bridge in Colmar Manor, MD. This fringe wetland is located on the west bank of the River between the confluence with Dueling Creek and the NY Ave. Bridge, the MD/DC border. This site used to be part of a wetland revegetation effort that was left unattended (not by AWS, though!), the result, a 30,745 sq. ft. dense population of Phragmites (Phragmites australis). For the newbies, Phragmites is a fast-growing grass native to the Old World that aggressively outcompetes the local native wetland plants, forming monocultures that encroach upon both natural and restored wetlands and reduces the species diversity in the wetland ecosystem.


The yellow area shows the 30,745 sq. ft. population of Phragmites we have been removing for the last 2 years right by the MD/DC border.

Laying in bed all day ... wetbeds, that is!

Last week, our stewardship interns Austin and Kristen went out to the wetbeds at the Bladensburg Wetlands (ANA-11) to plant a bunch of the wild rice and other wetland plants we collected over the fall. We plan on using all 19 wetbeds that we installed last year with Lori's Chesapeake Bay Trust grant award (the All Hands On Deck project, another of which I will be leading in a couple months! Details to come.). Most of our beds will fill with wild rice, as well as arrow arum and pickerelweed.

 
Two of our interns this spring, Kristen and Austin from University of Maryland College Park, preparing trays and planting wild rice seedlings.

From Seeds to Unique Habitat – AWS Interns help collect native plant species to restore wetlands and meadows

By  Emily Stransky, Fall Stewardship Intern

ANA-11 on 11.11.11

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