Restoration Action

The mission of the Anacostia Watershed Society is to protect and restore the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water, recovering the shores, and honoring the heritage. We believe that by working together with businesses, governments, faith-based organizations, and youth we can create sustainable solutions that improve our communities, empower our residents, and create economic prosperity that will result in a clean river. We want to change the way people think about the Anacostia and make the river a destination.

Challenges to Overcome

The most important parameters for a swimmable and fishable Anacostia River are fecal bacteria, toxics, trash, and uncontrolled stormwater. High fecal bacteria levels indicate that the water contains many types of disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and protozoa that can be hazardous to human health. We don't yet know the specific health risks associated with occasional exposure to the toxics (heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals) in the sediment in the river, but we do know that those contaminants are having a negative impact on fish populations and that removing or treating toxic sediment will be necessary for the river to sustain healthy fish safe for human consumption. Stormwater runoff is a major issue because runoff from impervious surfaces (e.g., roads, parking lots, driveways, roofs) brings numerous pollutants to streams and generates torrential stream flow, which causes streambank erosion and makes the water cloudy and inundates the river with sediment. The runoff also carries fecal matter, trash, and other pollutants to the river.

Continue to the 2014 Report Card

Data Sources and Disclaimers

·   Data set: All available, professionally collected data was used. The data sets include those collected by DC government, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, United States Geological Survey, and the Anacostia Watershed Society.

·   The data was compared with thresholds developed by Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition (MTAC).

·   For the 2014 State of the Anacostia River Report, a 2012 data set was used because it was the most recent available data set.  However, assessment for Toxics and Trash is for 2013.

·   For trend analysis, data sets from 1984 to 2012 or 2013 were used depending on the parameter and the section of the river.​

·   Note that no Report Card was issued in 2013 and that the one issued prior to that was dated 2011 (for the year representing most of the available data, rather than the year it was issued, 2012.

Support Our Work

You can help us restore the river by joining AWS or making a donation. Click here for more information.

Click here to download the 2014 River Report Card

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