Washington Channel Water Cleanup

Every year, The Wharf gives millions of visitors firsthand experience of DC's waterways, so we take our environmental stewardship and water cleanliness very seriously. We created floating wetlands to collect water pollutants, we collect all our trash in sealed containers, and we even constructed giant underground cisterns to capture runoff before it reaches the river. However, our most visible impact on the waterways comes each year during our Washington Channel Water Cleanup.

When it rains, wood debris and trash are washed from shores throughout the watershed into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. The floating trash and debris are then pushed into the Washington Channel by the tide and wind, where they gather under our piers and clump along the shore. All of this debris harms the environment and aquatic life, damages piers and boat propellers, and is rather unsightly for everyone who lives, works, and recreates on the water.

Annual Cleanup Efforts

Each year, The Wharf and our community of boaters, marine businesses, and waterside neighbors gather to remove debris from the waterway. Groups of boaters bring floating debris into corrals near our docks where teams on shore take it out of the water, sort out trash and recyclables, chop wood into manageable pieces, and haul the material to the appropriate facilities. Our partner, Pacifico Preserves, even donated a special trash removal boat to the ongoing efforts.

In addition to the large log cleanup, The Wharf and Boating in DC lead a group of community volunteers in kayaks throughout the Washington Channel to collect smaller trash, plastic, and foam by hand. This portion of the cleanup is especially important for removing plastic bags, straws, and bottles from our waterways.

Following record rainfall in 2018, the Spring 2019 cleanup removed an all-time high of 200 yards of debris (that's seven massive dumpsters) from the Washington Channel. 

With ongoing rainfall, wind, and tides, trash and debris continue to get pushed into the Washington Channel. Further discussion is needed to develop a long-term debris management program for this public waterway.

Check out News Coverage of Past Cleanup Efforts

WTOP Radio: Canoe-sized logs among debris being removed from Southwest Waterfront

ABC 7 TV (WJLA) After volunteers clean up the Potomac, developer of The Wharf calls on DC to help

And read more about the other ways The Wharf has embedded sustainability and resilience into our waterfront neighborhood.

How You Can Continue to Help

  • Always place trash in covered wastebins
  • Pick up litter, even if it's not yours
  • Clean up dog waste and yard waste
  • Reduce your use of plastics and styrofoams
  • Use reusable shopping bags, straws, and containers

Even if you don't live near the water, city drainage systems can still carry your trash and pollutants out to waterways.

Pitch in and do your part so the next time you visit the water, it's clean, healthy, and beautiful.

Get Your Fill at The Wharf

Fresh seafood is a given at DC’s Southwest Waterfront. But The Wharf offers more, including a wide selection of distinctive choices for food, drinks, and entertainment while you eat. Watch the chefs prepare your meal. Listen to live music. Or just people-watch while you savor the flavors of The Wharf.

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Browse the Shops

Whether you’re looking for something specific or simply like to spend a few hours in our unique collection of stores, chances are you’ll find just what you’re looking for at our shops at The Wharf. And, of course, you can always treat yourself to a delicious dessert—or celebrate your shopping finds with a drink at one of our restaurants.

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