(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of a $400,000 conservation initiative that will reintroduce 35,000 native mussels into the Anacostia River while also providing 400 District youth the opportunity to gain experience monitoring and studying the mussels’ ability to remove pollutants from waterways.
“Clean and healthy rivers mean a stronger Washington, DC, and we’re proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made to protect our city’s greatest natural assets,” said Mayor Bowser. “This initiative is just another example of how we are making important investments to protect and beautify our waterways, while also educating residents on how these efforts improve the quality of life in our city.”
This Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) initiative bolsters the agency’s ongoing efforts to reduce threats to 75 aquatic species of greatest conservation need. Four species of freshwater mussels will be deployed: Eastern elliptio, Alewife floater, Eastern lampmussel, and Eastern poundmussel.
“Freshwater mussels can be both cleaners of water and indicators of clean water,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “The mussels propagated under this grant will improve habitat for wild mussel population and improve water quality, leading to better conditions for underwater grasses and fish. This innovative project shows that the improving Anacostia can support a variety of sensitive species.”
The grant was awarded to Anacostia Watershed Society, and the project will focus on improving water quality in Kingman Lake and at least two tributaries of the Anacostia River. This work will provide critical data about the viability for long-term habitat potential for mussel restoration throughout the District, and will ensure a new generation of Washingtonians learns about the importance of fresh water mussels to our ecosystem.
This project is the latest in a series of efforts the Bowser Administration has taken to restore our rivers and waterways and to provide ways for residents to meaningfully engage with DC’s natural environment, beginning at an early age. In February 2017, Mayor Bowser signed the Fisheries and Wildlife Omnibus Act on the heels of ratifying a cross-jurisdictional pact, the Anacostia River Accord. She declared 2018 the Year of the Anacostia and designated Kingman Island a State Conservation Area.