Jun 18, 2018

Anacostia River Receives Passing Grade in River Quality Check

For the first time, the river received a D- and continues to improve

Washington DC improves Anacostia River water quality
Washington DC improves Anacostia River water quality

For the first time, the Anacostia River received a D- on its State of the River report card, issued by the Anacostia Watershed Society. The group annually investigates a variety of river health factors, including storm water runoff, fecal bacteria, toxic remediation and submerged aquatic vegetation. The most recent report card, which analyzed data from 2016, rated the river a 63–a huge increase from the previous year’s F at 49.

Major improvements were found in the resurgence of aquatic vegetation and microalgae growth. With the recent completion of the DC Water tunnel which reduces combined sewer overflows, the Anacostia Watershed Society is confident next year’s report card will be even better. Additional efforts include a Prince George’s County Department of Environment education initiative to limit litter, a DC Water skimmer boat that collects trash, and a National Park Service effort to reduce the number of Canadian geese in the Anacostia Park. 

According to The Washington Post, the society has set a goal of improving river health enough to fish and even swim by 2025. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington D.C. has declared 2018 the “Year of the Anacostia” in an effort to raise awareness of environmental health. Portions of Kingman Island and Heritage Island have been declared state conservation areas.

“Today’s announcement is a victory for 25 years of citizen activism and government leadership,” said Jim Foster, president of the Anacostia Watershed Society. “Swimmable and fishable is within our sight, and we are committed to getting there for the benefit of everyone who lives, works and visits this community.”