Restoring a Stream, Restoring a Community

by Lori Reynolds

narsWhile I enjoy coming into the office and working side-by-side with my colleagues on water infrastructure financing, whenever I get the chance to get out and see how those funds are making a difference in communities and to shake hands with our partners, I jump at it.  Numbers on a ledger come alive in real projects helping real people.

I had that opportunity last Friday for the opening of the Nash Run stream restoration and trash capture project, located in the Kenilworth neighborhood in northeast Washington, D.C.

Nash Run was a typical urban stream, impacted by stormwater flows, choked with trash, and a nuisance to the neighbors.   Besides trash and debris, stream flooding caused trees to fall and backyards to disappear into a muddy Nash Run.

In early 2010, the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) was contacted by local residents about the stream conditions.  Although a recognized challenge, DOEE shared the concerns and offered assistance.  It wasn’t long before a partnership and bond formed between the community, led by Ms. Katherine Brown, a block captain, and Josh Burch in DOEE’s Planning and Restoration Branch.

Over several years, community volunteers worked to remove trash from the stream and DOEE set out to secure needed funding.   Using funds from the District’s bag fee, DOEE began project design.   EPA provided federal funding for stream restoration and a trash trap with additional funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Trash trap on the Nash Run stream which captures litter, projects wildlife and improves water quality for the Anacostia River.

Trash trap on the Nash Run stream which captures litter, protects wildlife and improves water quality for the Anacostia River.

Although the funding is important and it made the project possible, it’s the heart and soul of all the people involved that made this enterprise a success story.  Josh Burch worked tirelessly getting easements along the stream and those residents remained involved and engaged throughout the project.

The opening ceremony was marked with words of appreciation and gratitude spoken by Ms. Brown and Josh Burch and words of congratulations expressed by EPA’s Region III Deputy Regional Administrator Cecil Rodrigues, as well as Amanda Bassow of NFWF.

As a long time EPA employee, it was a proud moment to be part of something so impactful.   At EPA, we work daily to protect the environment and improve public health, and it was evident that with this project we touched people’s lives.  There were many parents with young children in attendance at the ceremony.   In fact, it was the community members who gathered and cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Because of caring, dedicated people and government support, the children growing up in this neighborhood will experience a trash free Nash Run with turtles, fish, and frogs instead of tires and plastic bottles.  An investment was demonstrated, not only in a stream restoration project but in the people of a community who are committed for the long term.  The Nash Run stream restoration and trash capture project made a visible difference to this local community.

 

About the Author:  Lori Reynolds works in the region’s Office of Infrastructure and Assistance, which provides funding to states for water and wastewater infrastructure.  She is naturally drawn to water, working in the Water Protection Division, swimming in pools and open water as part of a Master’s swim team, and as an Aquarius.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Trash Talk

By Matt Bogoshian

I did an initial post back on March 6th called Getting a Personal Tune-Up. Well I’m half way through the Trash on Your Back Challenge and wow, I’m learning so much about my own daily habits by carrying with me the trash I generate. The trash on my back has served as a present reminder that I need to start making lifestyle changes to generate less trash and prevent pollution.

Before the challenge began the organizers had a telephone conference with the university scientists and researchers who are spearheading the analysis of each participant’s trash as it compares to the norm for Americans in several categories. More on that in the future, but here’s what’s going on now….

Day one began on Earth Day, last Sunday. My wife and I were hosting family and friends in our apartment and I started the day off with an egg breakfast. Dutifully, I cleaned the egg shells and put them in my trash bag thinking, no problem, egg shells are light… I’m off to a good start.

I then took a quick read of the newspaper on-line and we made our way down to the Mall for the Washington, DC Earth Day events. Sadly it was cold and raining, but the concert went ahead as planned. My band and I played a few tunes before the head liner Cheap Trick which was great. Here is a picture of me sporting my trash on stage.

Throughout the day my food and drink intake led to me having to carry around numerous cups and other paper products. It didn’t take long for me to see that these kind of “on the go” containers are a good waste reduction target. All day I kept thinking that if I had brought my reusable thermos I could have enjoyed my coffee and soda without having to carry around those plastic cups.

The next morning I didn’t want to wake my house guests so I skipped making my usual homemade lunch….ouch. I had to buy a cafeteria lunch and got another disposable container to carry around.

Small items really add up. Just washing my hands in the restroom at work has made me more aware of the number of paper towels I use. As such, I started keeping the towel for later use. I now see better how air dryers can make a true difference. I’m realizing the list goes on and on and small everyday choices do have real environmental consequences.
Stay tuned…..

About the author: Matt Bogoshian is Senior Policy Counsel for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Matt is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.