WASHINGTON – A College Park environmental group received an award Thursday for its efforts to keep the Anacostia River clean.
The award to the College Park Committee for a Better Environment was one of 11 presented by American Rivers, a national conservation organization, in recognition of outstanding grassroots efforts to restore damaged urban rivers.
American Rivers applauded the committee for its trash cleanups, its tree-planting efforts and its guided walks along streams feeding the Anacostia.
By protecting streams in the College Park area, workers help protect the river, said Amelia Murdoch, committee chairwoman.
“Every small stream makes a contribution,” she said.
For example, planting trees near streams helps keep the water temperature cool. This is important because the water eventually reaches the Chesapeake Bay and higher water temperatures lead to increased algae growth, which is environmentally unsound, Murdoch said.
Founded in 1975, the Committee for a Better Environment is funded by the city of College Park. All of its members are volunteers.
It was called the Beautification Committee until 1983, when the name was changed to reflect increasing environmental concerns, Murdoch said.
In 1987, the committee planted 200 trees in College Park to celebrate the bicentennial of the drafting of the Constitution.
The committee now is placing signs next to streams in College Park. The markers are intended to identify each stream, provide information on its point of origin and to indicate how its waters end up in the Chesapeake Bay.
American Rivers’ award winners and honorable mentions came from 13 states and attended a two-day symposium in Washington. It was the second national urban rivers symposium held by the national organization, which was founded in 1973. “Last year we gave out eight awards,” said Victor McMahan, director of urban rivers programs. This year’s list is testimony to “how vast and big this thing has become,” he said. – 30 –