What We Do

Key Issues Facing the Watershed.


Raingarden Sign - cistern

Pavement and impermeable landscapes alter the way in which rain interacts with the earth. Rain, nature’s lifeblood, gets diverted into storm drains and becomes a delivery method that carries surface pollutants into the river. Anacostia Riverkeeper installs Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as rain gardens and rain barrells in order to mitigate this problem.

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Trash is more than just an eyesore. Hundreds of tons of trash filters its was 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 thousands of pounds of trash a year from the Anacostia and helps engage citizens with their river.

Geese Family 2

Toxic chemicals such as PCBs, PAHs, and pesticides have a legacy of contaminating the river and poisoning wildlife. Up to two-thirds 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.

happy kayakers

For much of the last half-century, accessing the Anacostia has been difficult. Several factors contributed to a citizenry which by and large avoided the river and was not concerned about the state of the river. To help combat this, Anacostia Riverkeeper brings “Anacostia Connect” programming to provide meaningful encounters with the river and to increase awareness of the challenges facing the River and of its potential as a resource today and in the future. As residents encounter the river, its beauty, its opportunities and its rich history, they will take greater ownership of the river and care for the river.