Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Many Intellects to Clean Up the Anacostia River?

How many more reports, news items, and research studies before someone actually cleans up the Anacostia River? More time and money is spent talking about the river than spent actually cleaning it up.

On June 2, DC Environmental Network, DC Appleseed and Friends of the Earth held a discussion to share the dirty details in a new report, "A New Day for the Anacostia." The researchers kept reinforcing that cleaning the River is a "long term" project but didn't provide any projected timelines.

The presenters shared a 78-page blueprint that calls on Federal and local regulatory plans to "provoke and evoke" action. The good news is that the report is well done and outlines the Anacostia River Restoration Plan as a multi-pronged approach focusing on policy, partners and people. The bad news is that this is million or even billion dollar decade-long plan.

Policy- DC appleseed along with other pro-bono attorneys are working with federal and district lawmakers to offer incentives. Some ideas were tax incentives to private and public developers to retrofit stormwater and run off systems.

Partners- NGO's, Clean Water Action groups, and other local advocacy groups constantly raise awareness about cleaning the Anacostia.

People- Sierra Club's Irv Sheffey brought up mobilizing folks who live on the Anacostia to place pressure on our elected officials to take action on the recommendations.

Overall, the forum was very informative and interesting but a little abstract for the average citizen who fishes, exercises and bar-b-cues along the Anacostia River. I ran into a teen who lives on Benning Road and asked his opinion on cleaning the river. He said he didn't really care about cleaning the river and only attended because he is compeleting a summer internship.

He made me realize that the missing link on cleaning the river is getting residents invested in Anacostia on an emotional level. The people's passion and voting power can force lawmakers to clean up the river and move from reports to real ecological restoration.

To get involved in an Anacostia Clean Up Initiative:
contact me: or
Irv Sheffey of the Sierra Club
tel: 202-575-1469
cell: 202-299-6503

For more info on "A New Day for the Anacostia" contact DC Appleseed:
DC Appleseed
1111 14th Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20005
ph: 202-289-8007
DC Environmental Network
Chris Weiss

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