Saturday, 23 August 2008
The Anacostia River
After the Potomac, the Anacostia is the District of Columbia's second most important river. It was originally known as the Eastern Branch. It flows for about 8.4 miles from Prince George's County in Maryland. A number of rivers flow into it, including Sligo Creek; Paint Branch and Little Paint Branch; Beaverdam Creek; Lower Beaverdale Creek; Hickey Run; Watts Branch and Pope Branch.
The town of Bladensburg stands at the point at which the North West and North East branches meet. This town began as one of the major seaports in the colonies. Those who planned the city of Washington hoped that the Anacostia river front would be the commercial heart of the new city, but their hopes were never fully realised.
The current name comes from the Nacotchants tribe who lived in the area at the time of the explorer John Smith (who sailed up the Eastern branch and met a friendly reception from this tribe). However they had moved elsewhere by 1791.
The River became very polluted and action has been taken to improve the water quality. The Anacostia Watershed Society has been a major campaigner for this http://www.anacostiaws.org/. Details of the problems and the action being taken can be found at http://www.anacostia.net/download/Summit/1_AnacostiaOverview.pdf