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Anacostia Restoration Plan Unveiled

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DC water manager would like to see a cleaner, healthier Anacostia river, but he's worried about the cost, and its impact on rate-payers.
Sabri Ben-Achour
DC water manager would like to see a cleaner, healthier Anacostia river, but he's worried about the cost, and its impact on rate-payers.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

The Army Corps of Engineers has unveiled a $3 billion proposal for restoring the Anacostia River.

At Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland, the tide unmasks some of the Anacostia River's problems. A tire pokes out of the water, part of the 20,000 tons of trash that makes its way into the river each year. Where the river once ran 40 feet deep, there's a muddy sandbar, the result of sediment pollution. Brent Bolin is with the Anacostia Watershed Society

"At low tide, it's just a mudflat right here. It's really an impact from deforestation, runoff, and paving bringing all this sediment down here where it settles," says Bolin.

The Army Corps of Engineers has drawn up a list of more than 3000 projects to turn things around. Most involve stormwater retrofits, for example rebuilding curbs and gutters to absorb rain instead of sending it gushing into the river. Other pieces include street sweeping and creating wetlands. As counties and the District seek to meet federal and state requirements, they will be able to use elements of the proposal to address their runoff problems.

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