Thursday 27 April 2017

Waterkeepers in the News (170)

A scourge of the EPA takes over at the EPA TO STAND on a pontoon besides the Anacostia River, which runs for 8.5 miles through Maryland and the southern part of Washington, DC, is to gauge the progress America has made in cleaning up its waterways. The Anacostia, which empties into the Potomac close to the Capitol, was once a slow-flowing garbage dump; on a recent sunny afternoon, hardly a soda can or plastic bag ruffled its sluggish brown surface, over which cormorants fizzed like arrows, rigid with intent. They are a sign that the river’s ravaged fish stocks are beginning to recover. But you still wouldn’t want to eat them. The most hopeful development on the Anacostia, for example, takes the form of a $2bn sewage overflow system, which is due to come into use in 2018. It has been built by DC Water, which manages much of Washington’s sewage system, after it was sued over its discharges into the river by environmental groups. They had tired of the EPA’s failure to take action. Though 168 drains will still flow into the river, bringing dog faeces and gasoline from the capital’s roads, this should make the Anacostia swimmable for the first time in decades. “We’re getting close to dramatic progress,’ says Emily Franc, who serves as the Anacostia’s riverkeeper, a non-governmental watchdog role. “This is no time for the EPA to pull back.” READ MORE Published on February 25, 2017 in The Economist
How Trump EPA reform affects Delmarva's wetlands Water pools into puddles here and there in a landscape covered with decaying leaves and peppered with bare trees. The earth sinks with each step in this seldom-trod swamp near a park in the Wicomico County hamlet of Bivalve. Although this mucky spot lies just a few dozen yards from the Nanticoke River and is undeniably damp, it used to rest outside the jurisdiction of America's nearly 50-year-old clean water rule. That's because the area remains unconnected to the river and only brims with standing water at certain times of the year. Some environmental advocates fear that rolling back the law could weaken efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. If the federal government can't protect headwaters of its tributaries from harm, then waters farther downstream, including the bay itself, will suffer, said Jay Ford, executive director of the Virginia's Eastern Shorekeeper. READ MORE Published on February 28, 2017 by Jeremy Cox in Delmarva Now
What Exactly Is A Trash Wheel, And Does the Anacostia River Need One? Picture it: It’s 2022 and you’re gazing out at the Anacostia River in Buzzard Point, near D.C. United’s new stadium and a revitalized waterfront. As you stand there, a heap of old chip bags, paper cups, plastic and other debris floats down the waterway. But instead of passing further along or settling into an unsightly pile near the river bed, the waste floats right into the mouth of a googly-eyed contraption, up a conveyor belt and back into a dumpster holding hundreds of pounds of other garbage. It may sound unconventional, or just plain strange, but Pasadena, Md.-based Clearwater Mills has designed such a device to retrieve massive amounts of trash from waterways. Two of them, Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel ("she has a degree in trash studies"), are already operating right now in the Baltimore Harbor. As of today, the former has already collected nearly 1.1 million pounds of garbage since he first entered the harbor in May 2014. Buzzard Point is one of only a few suitable future sites for a trash wheel, according to Emily Franc, who leads the advocacy group Anacostia Riverkeeper. Another spot would be near a combined sewer overflow area near The Yards Park just east of Nationals Stadium, where trash sometimes spills into the river after heavy storms. READ MORE Published in DCist by Ethan McLeod on March 2, 2017