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Anacostia River Watershed

The Anacostia River Watershed spans areas of Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and Washington, DC.  It is a major tributary to the Potomac River.

Image of stream and stream bank grass.


Four subwatersheds along the eastern boundary of Montgomery County provide drainage to the Anacostia:

The drainage within Montgomery County is approximately 61 square miles, and accounts for roughly one third of the total drainage area to the Anacostia River.

The Anacostia River Watershed has been the focus of inter-jurisdictional watershed management and restoration since the early 1980's. These ongoing regional efforts are being tracked at

 Anacostia Watershed Implementation Plan (PDF, 2.72MB)



A Journey Through the Anacostia Watershed

Stream conditions vary from the good conditions of the Upper Paint Branch (a nationally recognized urban trout stream) to the poor conditions found within Sligo Creek (where restoration has been ongoing for over 15 years). Many areas of the Anacostia watershed contain residential areas that were built before modern stormwater controls were required by the State. This has resulted in deterioration of the stream channel habitat, particularly in the more southern portions of the watershed.

In the northern reaches, particularly in the Northwest Branch and Upper Paint Branch, there are some tributaries which still have good stream resource conditions and are targeted for protection.

There are several organizations dedicated to the restoration of the Anacostia River. The Anacostia Watershed Society and Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee are just a few who focus on improvement measures in the watershed.

Map of Montgomery County with the Anacostia watershed highlighted.