Assessing the effectiveness of the Anacostia River tunnel in reduction of eutrophication

ID: 3588
Status: Ongoing
Start date: February 2018
End Date: January 2020


The Anacostia River is among the most polluted tributaries in Chesapeake Bay. With substantial algal blooms and bacterial contamination, it has placed those who recreate on the water at considerable health risk. A recently completed, and soon to be fully implemented multi-billion dollar infrastructure project, has been completed to retain and divert sewage and storm water effluent, with the goal of improving water quality in this important river. This project will address the hypothesis that the diversion of water and its associated nutrients will lead to an improvement in water quality, a shift in the community composition of phytoplankton species, and a reduction in sewage-associated bacteria. Building on a considerable body of work on baseline conditions over the past few years, this project will bring new seasonal water column measurements, enclosure enrichment studies, and molecular approaches to determine if, indeed, a success story can be written. We will use established relationships with the Anacostia Riverkeeper and the Anacostia Waterfront Trust to communicate with community groups via meetings, social media, and the local press, and implement a citizen science program to allow for rapid response regarding water safety.

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