Class Report

Meet Your Anacostia River: A Boat Tour

In Meet Your Anacostia River: A Boat Tour, we joined Anacostia Riverkeeper for a pontoon boat tour of the Anacostia River. What did we learn?


What environmental challenges does the Anacostia River face?

Pollutants and large amounts of sediment are transported to the river via stormwater. In addition, the combined sewer overflows along the Anacostia output stormwater and raw sewage directly into the river during heavy rainfall events, thus releasing bacteria into the water. The Anacostia has also accumulated toxic chemicals due to several toxic sites in the vicinity. Trash is another persistent issue along the river, with items such as plastic bottles, food packaging, tires, and other litter.

What’s with the giant tunnel being dug beneath the river?

As part of DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, a huge tunnel is being built beneath the Anacostia to divert stormwater to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The completion of the tunnel will be a significant step forward in making the river swimmable again.

Can you eat fish caught in the river?

It’s not advisable due to the polluted nature of the river and the fact that the chemical contaminants within the river bioaccumulate within fish. Fish consumption advisories have been released for the Anacostia. However, Anacostia Riverkeeper hosts catch-and-release fishing events on Friday nights during the summer, where you can learn more about the river and the fish within it.

What can you do to support Anacostia Riverkeeper?

Donate funds, volunteer at a cleanup event, promote their advocacy work, and invite friends to go on a boat tour of the river! For more information on all of these activities, visit


Oana Leahu-Aluas has lived all over the country and is happy to call D.C. her (hopefully) permanent home. She has worked in various parts of the environmental field, including recycling, energy efficiency, solar energy, and now sustainable transportation. She is the first to alert you of any and all free food opportunities, so if you’re hungry you definitely want to be her friend.