Though a significant Chesapeake tributary, the Anacostia has been known by various nicknames: “the forgotten river,” or simply “one of the most polluted rivers in the United States.”
Now Washington D.C. is rediscovering the long-neglected waterway. Rowers, kayakers and stand-up paddlers are taking to the river, after years of dedicated cleanup efforts and a multi-billion-dollar sewer upgrade that just went online. Some of the fanciest new development in the District is sprouting up on the banks of the Anacostia, too. This comes after decades of underinvestment in the river and the neighborhoods around it, where mostly poor, black residents have suffered the effects of pollution.