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a man with two children fish on the bank of a river
A family fishes on the Anacostia River near Washington, D.C. (NOAA)

Draft Damage Assessment Plan for the Anacostia River Available for Public Comment

July 17, 2023

The Anacostia River, which runs through Maryland and the District of Columbia, has suffered from many decades of pollution, from multiple sources including hazardous waste sites, runoff, and combined sewers. Communities along the Anacostia have been disproportionately impacted by this pollution.

The National Park Service, on behalf of the Anacostia River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) Trustees, invites public comment on a draft Damage Assessment Plan (PDF, 80 pages), which details the Trustees’ proposed approach to conducting a natural resource damage assessment for the Anacostia River. We encourage the public to review the draft plan and share comments through September 16, 2023.  

Operations by multiple potentially responsible parties for over 100 years have resulted in the release of hazardous substances into the area, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs). 

NRDAR is the regulatory process to determine the amount and type of restoration needed to compensate the public for injuries to natural resources resulting from the release of hazardous substances into the environment. The draft plan describes the Trustees’ proposed approach to assess natural resource and resource service injuries resulting from the release of hazardous substances in the Anacostia River.

The Anacostia River NRDAR Trustees include the Department of Commerce, represented by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; the Department of the Interior, represented by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Government of the District of Columbia, represented by the Department of Energy and Environment.

Get Involved

Public participation is an important part of the NRDAR process. The draft plan (PDF, 80 pages) is available for comments from July 17, 2023 to September 16, 2023. After the comment period closes, the Trustees will review the comments and prepare the Final Damage Assessment Plan. Any comments received will be summarized in the Final Damage Assessment Plan and included in full in the publicly available Administrative Record.

For more information on the draft plan and how to provide comments, see the National Park Service Press release

Contact: National Park Service- Chelsea Sullivan,, 202-619-7177.