Golden Gate University Law Review


For decades, the Anacostia River -- its shoreline, waterfront neighborhoods and watershed -- has been neglected by parties responsible for its stewardship. The river's water is severely polluted; obsolete transportation infrastructure isolates neighborhoods and divides Washington into areas "east" and "west" of the river; public parks are underutilized and suffer from chronic disinvestment; and several communities along the river are among the poorest in the metropolitan Washington region. With the river forming a boundary between race and class and with over 70 percent of the river's lands in public ownership, the need to rethink the management of this urban river is unquestioned. While the river can only be understood as a function of its watershed, the focus of this essay is on those lands within the District of Columbia ("DC"), which form the last 7-mile stretch of river corridor before the confluence with the Potomac River.