This is the first in an upcoming series where we put the “Blue Spotlight” on a local watershed. You’ll get a quick look at this watershed and some of the challenges and opportunities to keep it healthy.
The 176 square mile Anacostia watershed spans Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and the District of Columbia. Montgomery County is home to four tributaries that flow into the Anacostia River:
Rainwater that falls within this watershed finds its way downhill into these streams, which flow into the mainstem of the Anacostia River and ultimately the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.
The Anacostia is one of Montgomery County’s most heavily developed watersheds and much of this development took place prior to stormwater management regulations. DEP and other organizations have gone back into these neighborhoods in recent years to install stormwater management practices in neighborhoods throughout the watershed and have restored many impacted streams.
The State of Maryland lists the Anacostia River Watershed as impaired, with damage caused by excessive nutrients, sediment, trash, bacteria, and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s.
DEP is required to clean up the County’s portion of the watershed and lower the amounts of these pollutants entering our waterways. Restoration projects, RainScapes practices, street sweeping, and tree planting all help DEP reach these goals.
Montgomery County DEP has completed over 70 watershed restoration projects in the Anacostia watershed, including:
2018 has been designated the Year of the Anacostia. Agencies and watershed partners have planned a series of volunteer events, river cleanups, and educational opportunities throughout the year in celebration of restoration and historic milestones in the Anacostia.
Did you know? The Anacostia River was designated by the State of Maryland as a “Scenic and Wild River” in 1984.
Montgomery County offers many recreational opportunities in the headwaters of the Anacostia River. The streamside and floodplain habitat on Sligo Creek, Northwest Branch, and Paint Branch are protected by M-NCPCC parkland where citizens can hike, bike, and enjoy these headwater streams. A few highlights include:
Volunteer with DEP
Join a Watershed Group: