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Chesapeake Bay News

Apr
12
2012

Anacostia River receives failing grade on latest health report card

Despite improvements in some key areas, the Anacostia River’s health is still in very poor condition, according to a new report card released by the Anacostia Watershed Society.

Anacostia River

(Image courtesy Mr. T in DC/Flickr)

Stormwater runoff is the largest source of pollution to the Anacostia River, which flows to the Potomac River, one of the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributaries. Runoff carries dirt, oil, trash, fertilizer and other pollutants from the land into the Anacostia, where they smother underwater life and make the river unsafe for fishing and swimming.

The Anacostia River report card uses data on four water quality indicators – dissolved oxygen, water clarity, fecal bacteria and chlorophyll a (algae) – to determine the river’s health. Although this year’s report card showed improvements in fecal bacteria levels, the river’s water clarity is still extremely poor due to continued sediment runoff.

New legislation just passed in Maryland to enact a stormwater fee in the state’s largest counties, combined with funding from a similar District of Columbia fee, will help implement infrastructure repairs that reduce polluted runoff to the Anacostia and other waterways.

Visit the Anacostia Watershed Society’s website for more information about the river’s health and what you can do to help restore it.


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