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Corps Unveils Plan To Restore Polluted Anacostia River Basin

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The U.S Army Corps has unveiled a $1.7-billion, 10-year plan to restore to health the ailing Anacostia River in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The plan, two years in the making and released on April 19, identifies 3,000 projects to help restore the severely polluted river and watershed spanning 176 sq miles of land through a combination of stormwater controls, stream restoration, wetland creation and restoration, fish blockage removal, reforestation, and controlling trash and chemical contamination. However, finding funding to pay for the projects could be a challenge. Funding for the plan was authorized under the Water Resources and Development Act of 2007, but Congress has yet to appropriate the money. Dana Minerva, executive director of the Anacostia Watershed Partnership, says she expects local county and state governments to play a role. “We have a wide partnership, and I expect many entities will be contributing to the implementation of the plan.” Minerva adds that some projects are already underway, although the bulk of work lies ahead. The plan is intended to work in concert with major federal and state efforts. For example, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority has launched a $3-billion Long-Term Control Plan to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows that dump raw sewage into the Anacostia after heavy rains. Additionally, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is implementing a $350-million program to reduce sanitary sewer overflows that discharge untreated sewage into the watershed.

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