Impermeable landscapes and architecture, such as pavement and rooftops, alter the way rain naturally interacts with the earth. Rain gets diverted into storm drains and becomes a delivery method for surface pollutants to enter the river. Anacostia Riverkeeper installs Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as rain gardens and rain barrels in order to mitigate this problem. These green infrastructure technologies foster the natural process of rain absorption by containing the rain.
Trash is more than just an eyesore. Thousands of tons of trash filters its way into our river and tributaries each year. Plastic bottles, Styrofoam, furniture, and shopping carts – making the river unsafe for wildlife and humans alike. Anacostia Riverkeeper’s Clean Waterways series of volunteer cleanups removes tens of thousands of pounds of trash a year from the Anacostia and helps engage citizens with their river.
Toxic chemicals such as PCBs, PAHs, and pesticides have a legacy of contaminating the river and poisoning wildlife. A significant portion of the brown bullhead catfish in the river have cancerous tumors and/or lesions, and the toxins in their tissues can be passed on to humans when consumed. Anacostia Riverkeeper holds entities accountable for what they put into our river. We act as the eyes and ears of the river.
For much of the last half-century, accessing the Anacostia has been difficult. While there are still barriers to access, Anacostia Riverkeeper has a focus to connect residents to their river. We provide meaningful encounters with the river to increase awareness of its challenges and potential as a resource today and in the future. We hope that our programs encourage residents to encounter the river, its beauty and rich history, and to take ownership of their the river.