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Anacostia River Initiatives

Anacostia River

The Anacostia River Watershed covers portions of the District of Columbia, Prince George's and Montgomery County in Maryland. The Watershed is approximately 176 square miles (456 sq. km.) in area and roughly 25% of its land area lies in the District. The river is entirely tidal in the District while the upstream land area in Maryland is primarily non-tidal. The Anacostia River, once a pristine river is now degraded, mainly due to its highly urbanized character. The River is the focus of large-scale restoration efforts by District Government. The District of Columbia is a partner in the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership (AWRP). Together with its partners, the AWRP has developed the Anacostia Watershed Network Website to provide an overview of the problems facing the Anacostia and the efforts underway to address them.

Anacostia Restoration Plan

In the Spring of 2007, the Mayor requested that the District Department of the Environment develop a roadmap for the District's efforts to restore the Anacostia. The Mayor recognized that, although restoration efforts to attain Clean Water Act goals in the Anacostia River have been ongoing for more than twenty years, there is still a long way to go before the river can be considered fishable and swimmable. Restoration work will not be accomplished all at once, but instead will take place gradually over time. The City's goal is to restore the Anacostia a fishable and swimmable river by the year 2032.

Anacostia Watershed Implementation Plan

Watershed Implementation Plans are roadmaps for how the District of Columbia can achieve and maintain the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits necessary to meet water quality standards for the District's streams and rivers. In other words, it is a plan for how District government, the civic sector, and citizens can work together to clean up the District's waters. The Anacostia Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) was approved by the EPA in January of 2013.

Anacostia Waterfront: Realizing the Vision

With development projects underway and planned, the Anacostia Waterfront is the District of Columbia's fastest-growing area of employment, entertainment and residential growth. Substantial improvements to the Anacostia Waterfront's transportation network will improve access to the new and existing destinations while appropriately linking adjacent communities within the Washington metropolitan region.

Multiple agencies and thousands of stakeholders and residents worked together to develop the Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan. Their continued cooperative efforts are essential as the District and others move forward in the implementation of numerous projects that help realize the vision for the waterfront.

Map of the Anacostia

As you can see from this map, the great majority of the Anacostia River Watershed is found outside of the District of Columbia. Seventy-five percent of the watershed is located upstream of the City in Maryland. The District's portion of the Anacostia is the recipient of pollution from our upstream neighbors. For this reason, although the City must do its part to clean up the river, the District also holds its upstream partners responsible for their share of the river's pollution.

Anacostia TMDLs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires that states calculate the maximum amount of a pollutant that its water bodies can receive and still meet water quality standards. These levels are called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Because the Anacostia has been determined to be impaired by several pollutants, the District has developed several TMDLs - one for each pollution problem it is facing.

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