The Anacostia: River of Recovery

Trees Are The Answer

Planting trees along the Anacostia River and its tributaries is one of the best ways people can help improve water quality in the watershed. Trees can form a “buffer zone” of forested cover and can provide a variety of benefits to streams and local communities

In addition to their beauty and aesthetic appeal, trees also increase property values, keep communities cool, use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

The forest floor is made up of leaves, twigs, and plant material that slows surface water flow to reduce its erosive capability, and acts like a sponge to filter sediment and nutrients from impervious surfaces before they reach the stream.

Tree roots help maintain channel width and stream structure by holding stream banks in place and preventing soil erosion.

Forested buffer zones along streams provide food and habitat for a diversity of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and offer people a variety of recreational opportunities.

The shade provided by trees keeps water temperatures cool, allowing aquatic species to survive and maintain important food chain. Shade also prevents algae blooms that rob the water of dissolved oxygen.

Forests and forest buffers can be managed for economic return through timber harvesting without having an adverse effect on the benefits mentioned above.

Well-managed forests are the best natural filter system for delivering clean, cool water to Chesapeake Bay tributaries such as the Anacostia. Establishing managed forest buffer systems along tributaries are important steps toward improving water quality in the Anacostia watershed and throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

The Graphic of 3 Zone Buffer System:

Reclaimed stream project creates a more natural stream ecosystem

Runoff from adjacent highway is filtered through slit fence and rip-rap barrier.

Tree roots stabilize riverbank and prevent erosion.

Wetlands flush the river by tidal flow and provide important habitat.

Forested riverbank.


Updated on February 06, 2002.

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