WASHINGTON - The Anacostia River has received a failing grade on the 2023 State of the River Report Card.
The Anacostia Watershed Society, a nonprofit that works to protect and restore the river, says the failing mark is due in large part to the lack of the river's underwater grasses.
The absence of submerged aquatic vegetation drove the overall water quality grade down to an ‘F,' the group said.
When evaluating the safety of the river for swimming, the group said E. coli levels are the overriding factor.
They said that in some places along the river on some days of the year, E. coli levels meet the water quality standard for swimming. However, since the E. coli levels continue to fluctuate, swimming is still prohibited in the river.
"For the foreseeable future, levels of fecal bacteria will need to be closely monitored to determine, on a day-to-day basis, when and where it is safe to swim in the Anacostia," the group said. "For swimming to become a daily reality in the Anacostia, we'll need not only a system in place to gather and make available this information in real time, but an infrastructure of safe, equitably accessible swimming areas that doesn't exist today."