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Case Study: Anacostia Watershed, District of Columbia

Case Study Summary

Considerations for using Ecological Restoration: A Degraded Urban Watershed

Overall Project Goal: Preserve and restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Anacostia Watershed by dramatically reducing pollutant loads to the tidal estuary, restoring and protecting the ecological integrity of the urban Anacostia streams, restoring the spawning range of anadromous fish, increasing the natural filtering capacity of the watershed, expanding the forest cover throughout the watershed, and making the public aware of their role in the Anacostia cleanup.

Restoration Techniques and Parameters of Concern: See table below.

                         ----------Parameter of Concern----------

Restoration Technique/   Pollutant   Sediment    DO       Fish

Functional Attribute      Loading    Loading   Levels Populations

Control of CSOs and

     urban storm water        d         d         u         u

Land-use controls             d         d         u         u

Stream channel

     stabilization            o         d         u         u

Removal of key fish

     barriers                 o         o         o         u

Creation and

     protection               d         d         u         u

Riparian and upland           d         d         u         u

Public outreach

     program                  d         d         u         u

u means that the restoration technique increases water quality parameter;
d means that the restoration technique decreases water quality parameter;
ud means that site-specific conditions can dictate increase or decrease in parameter;
o means that the restoration technique has a negligible effect on water quality parameter.

Highlight on Stakeholder Involvement: The decision-making process for the Anacostia project was broad based from the outset, involving numerous stakeholders to develop goals and management strategies and implement selected strategies. The first step was the formation of an intergovernmental partnership among the District of Columbia, the two counties of Montgomery and Prince George's, and the State of Maryland. The partnership agreement called for the creation of an Anacostia Watershed Restoration Committee (AWRC), which would be responsible for preparing the restoration plan. The Committee's membership was designed to be as broad as possible to maximize support among the 600,000 people inhabiting the watershed. As a result of the Committee's aggressive outreach program, over 60 public and private organizations have participated in the development and implementation of the restoration plan. The Committee was also responsible for soliciting public input during the plan's preparation, including the development of restoration goals. The restoration effort has been supported by two other groups: the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which is providing administrative and technical support, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River, which is coordinating public education and participation in the restoration, as well as developing a living resource program for the watershed.

For a more complete project description, including techniques to address additional parameters of concern, refer to Chapter 6.

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