The Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, and Rock Creek, are tremendous natural resources for the District of Columbia. From spurring economic growth in the city's early days to providing recreational activities, the District's relationship with these waterbodies has contributed to an overall decline in their water quality.
Stormwater, particularly runoff from private properties, has been a significant source of pollution in the rivers. In response, the District offers RiverSmart Homes, a program that offers incentives to homeowners to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties. Through RiverSmart Homes, homeowners receive a free stormwater audit, which determines their eligibility for financial and technical assistance to install rain barrels, shade trees, rain gardens, BayScaping (native planting), permeable pavers, and impervious surface removal.
For most installations, DOEE will partner homeowners with non-profits and contractors to install the project for a copayment. Visit DOEE's website for an overview, a step-by-step guide to the process, FAQs, and to sign up for a free stormwater audit.
Through this site, homeowners can find:
- A photo gallery of RiverSmart Homes installations
- Maintenance guides for rain gardens, rain barrels, shade trees, and other stormwater BMPs
- News from past RiverSmart Homes participants
- Do-it-yourself resources for installing rain barrels, planting shade trees, native plant gardening, and more
To date, over 4,000 properties have become RiverSmart, helping to keep thousands of gallons of stormwater pollution out of the Anacostia River, Potomac River, Rock Creek, and dozens of local streams every year. This program is housed within the District's Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and coordinates with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Casey Trees for installations.