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tv   Viewpoint  NBC  April 3, 2016 5:30am-6:00am EDT

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o-bi flex pills, it's all in one tiny pill. move free ultra. get your move on. ♪ the washington area is rich with natural resources like the anacostia river. good morning, i'm pat lawson muse. the anacostia river is the focus of a huge and extensive cleaning and restoration effort. it's the kind of effort that will be celebrated on earth day later this month. here to talk about cleaning up pt earth are joanna fisher, who is a volunteer program manager for the anacostia watershed society. jim foster is president of the aws. and dolly davis is a volunteer and a resident, you live nearby this wonderful resource of ours. welcome on to "viewpoint" this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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you. the epa's chesapeake bay program director, also vice chair of the anacostia watershed citizens advisory committee, says the river's visitation is on the upswing. is it? >> absolutely. >> it's been a long hall, though, hasn't it? >> it has. we've told people for two generations, don't go there, the water's dirty, and you know what, they don't go there. so, frankly, my biggest challenge is to change the frame of reference that people have about the anacostia. when you say shenandoah, they get all bleary and teary-eyed, but when you say anacostia, they go, don't go there. >> what do you think is the most important change? >> i think it's really been cleaning the river up. we consider trash, for instance, to be a psychological toxic, that people don't want to come to the river because there's trash there. as the river becomes cleaner -- look, 30 years ago, you couldn't have built the stadium in that location. the smell would have driven you away. so, as the river improves and
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it's becoming a destination. >> dolly, the river is your neighbor, and you've had sort of a love-hate relationship with it over the years. >> i have. in my community in twining dupont park, we're devoted to the greening effect in our area. we have been forgotten for many years until 1999 when i became pretty much interested in learning more about how we could clean the area and do some beautification projects. i stumbled upon some wonderful, wonderful leaders in the community, and they guided me to organizations like the anacostia watershed society and many others, to help bring the community closer and back to the river. so, we're hoping that we can continue that over with our efforts and hoping that our community to share in the earth month event as well as coming back to the ve
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voluner program manager, so you're in charge of all the boots on the ground, shall we say? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. so, i have the fantastic role of finding ways to get a wide array of motivated citizens and community members involved with, you know, helping to restore and clean up the river, and it's just as much about, you know, getting that work done as it is about giving people the opportunity to see the river and be on the river. you know, people from all over the region come out to our volunteer programs, and they may be people, like jim mentioned, who in the past had never really gone near it, but when they come and see the work we're doing and the restoration work that's happening, it really can change that frame of reference. >> jim, you talked about cleaning up the river and how it's been an ongoing, a process. what has been the most important contribution investment made in the river? i recall years ago eleanor holmes norton secured
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a lot of the money at the time was going to the potomac, and she was able to redirect some funding. how much has that helped you? and how much has the bad tax helped? >> well, that's a lot of questions, but in general, there's, you know, several different issues that are separating us from success, which we are going to call fishable and swimmable. and we'd like to see that happen by 2025. so, we're still -- this is 2016, and we're still dumping raw sewage in the river when it rains in washington. that is rapidly going to become history as d.c. water finishes their big control plan. but it took a lawsuit a few years ago to force that to happen. today d.c. water's a great partner of ours, but it's a huge investment in our community and in the river. we're struggling with storm water and all the legacy sediments in the river is really the last piece of the puzzle that we're going to be working on over the next ten
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>> you're referring to -- one of the things you're referring to is the tunnel project. d.c. water spending what, $4 to $6 billion? >> $2 billion, correct, building a tunnel from blue plains, the sewage treatment plant, up near rfk stadium, that's correct. >> and that would control the sewage and storm water drainage as well. >> yes. washington, d.c., has a combined system in babout a third of they with one pipe to convey the storm water and sewage. that works great on a sunny day, but when it rains, the system can't handle the volume, and it overflows, and it overflows into the river. >> all right, so the other question was about the bad tax. >> we operate several trash traps for the district, and we have been collecting that trash for over five years now, and it's the things that we're finding in the trap. so, the trap is in nash run, which is a small tributary that runs into kenilworth marsh. and the things that we're
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finding in the trash is plastic bags, beverage containers and styrofoam. so, this is what you're seeing us working on. we have a bag fee now in washington to reduce bag use. so, that's about behavior change. we have a styrofoam ban. and we've been attempting to find some better method of managing our beverage containers that are ending up in the river. >> okay. we're going to take a break and continue to talk about the anacostia river, its richness and the efforts to restore it when we come back. narrator: all that political mail might be overwhelming. let's simplify. only one candidate has been endorsed by the washington post: kathleen matthews. as a journalist and progressive leader at marriott, she has a broad and deep facility with policy. emily's list praises matthews as pro-choice and the post says on gun control, clean energy,
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the back tax, because people have such a reaction to it. they were really angry about it. there was a lot of controversy in the beginning. how has the bag tax been embraced in the community? >> i think people are getting used to it. at this point, they're using their own bags. the reusable bags are very important. i think that a lot of people are getting used to using those. they're offered during events such as martin luther king jr. day of service we have in pope branch park. they're offered during earth month. organizations such as doee will come out and bring us bags, and we distributed them. so, people have an opportunity to get those bags. at the onset, it wasn't something that they embraced immediately, but over time i think it works very well. and people are getting used to it. and then another thing, too, is we don't see a lot of bag trash. a lot of the bag trash we picked
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horrific. now we're not experiencing that. >> well, that would be a measure of success, then. >> absolutely. >> yeah. so, we're seeing it work. a lot of the folks who are picking up all those bags or who have been since the bag tax was imposed, joanna, are volunteers. talk about the army that it is taking to get this work accomplished. >> yeah, absolutely. so, we have several thousand volunteers every year that come out and help with a wide array of projects that our organization is doing. and it's really phenomenal to see the energy and passion that people bring to that work. you know, people's time is their most precious resource, and if they're willing to help clean up this river, it's fantastic. and we work with a huge range of people. and you know, what's especially great is when you -- you know, we work a lot with young people. and bringing them out on the river, having them participate in these volunteer projects and then, you know, hopefully, afteds
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say, you know, maybe i'm going to think twice before using a one-time-use bag, or i'm going to make sure that i recycle my beverage containers, because i just spent two hours picking up other people's trash. so, i think that those volunteer efforts are not just hugely impactful in the moment, but they can really have big impacts on people's attitudes ongoing. >> and of course, jim, that's a key component of this effort, the young people who will one day be custodians of this river and our resources are the ones that it's important to teach to appreciate it now. >> that's right. it's very important to start them on the path. i use seatbelts as an example, that you know, 40 years ago, cars didn't even have seatbelts. today you wouldn't even get in a car without putting on a seat belt. so, we want to do the same sort of thing with the trash. we want people to stop throwing their trash or we want, you know, them to understand that the trash doesn't belong there
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let's get past this. it's separating us from success in the river. >> can you take us back a few generations, if you will, to the anacostia's glory days? i mean, rivers are -- they are spiritual to us, they are peaceful, they're nostalgic, they're romantic, they're so many things. and the anacostia was a great waterway in the old days. >> it was. and like all the rivers in the chesapeake, it was first -- there was nothing romantic. once europeans came here it was used as a tool, it was used for transportation. we didn't have roads and railroads, and so people came by ship and they came as far up the river as they absolutely could come. in this case in the anacostia, that was all the way to what's today bladensburg. before europeans came, native peoples traveled around the river, and that's what anacostia roughly translates to is trading place. they came there to trade in this area because they coulet
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the anacostia was a large estuary where migrating birds came through here and stopped and stocked up on their way north or south. today we filled all those wetlands and they are, you know, paved over. and so, we went from about 2,500 acres down to about 120 acres tied to wetland and the river. the river had its incredibly glory days -- incredible glory days. john smith came here exploring for the english in 1607-1608. probably didn't go all the way up the river, but certainly was looking for a northwest passage, would have come to this place. the real defining moment, i think, for the river was the civil war. we brought 50,000 union troops here and all their horses and animals and cut down all the trees in 25 miles and built the circle of forts around washington, d.c. we had no way to manage their
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there was a lot of issues with sickness from that with all the trees cut down. and then we built the navy yard up, which became one of the largest industrial complexes on the east coast, and all their waste went in the river, too. so, that was really the turning point, i think. >> all right. and we are now at a turning point. we'll continue our talk this morning right after this break. yvette: i was running for my life. he was flicking matches on me... my ex-husband's intentions were to murder me. glenn: i made sure yvette's abuser went away for good, and put in place tougher sentences, because domestic violence can never be tolerated. yvette: mr. ivey showed compassion. i felt like i could trust him. narrator: glenn ivey. as state's attorney, a proven leader. in congress, he'll combat domestic violence, and protect president obama's legacy. glenn: i'm glenn ivey and i approve this message, because i'm on your side. ♪
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welcome back. this morning we are talking to the anacostia watershed society, and we are talking about the anacostia river. dolly, tell us about the changes in nature that you are seeing as these restoration efforts proceed and progress. >> incredible changes. in our last cleanup, we had mallards come out. a pair of mallards came up to us
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they're fishing in the water. they were excited to be there as we were excited to see them. there's tad poles in the creek. there's lots of wildlife coming in. there is a large buck that's living with several does in our ar ar area. and we are partnered with other animals as well. they come out and say hi, raccoons and, just, everything, turtles. it's incredible. and during our last cleanup also, we saw an eagle flying after a gull. and it was unsuccessful, however, but the gull gave him a really rough time, so the eagle decided, well, i'm going to find something else. maybe i'll go towards the water, and that's where he went. >> joanna, this is the kind of activity, the regeneration of life, that i guess inspires people to donate all that time that you spoke of. >> absolutely, absolutely
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>> we can see results. >> yeah. yeah. i mean, that's what's so great about this work is this is a solvable problem, right? and we in a lot of ways know what needs to happen to solve it. and it's so fantastic coming out to a volunteer event, and then afterwards being able to look and say look at all these wetland plants we just replanted. it's really, really inspiring. and you know, just feeling that connection, you know, the next time you're by the river and you see one of those fantastic pieces of wildlife, knowing that you played a real part in that regeneration. >> jim, you mentioned the old days in the navy yard and the pollution back then. so, now we've got the navy yard, all this redevelopment taking place along the river -- the navy yard, there's nationals park, washington channel. how do you expect all of that, this new development, to impact the river? >> i think it's going to be -- >> help or hurt? >> we think it's going to be very positive. look, this is an n
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this is going to be -- this is an urban river, and we need to see people come back to appreciate it. we need the redevelopment to help fund the critical infrastructure that needs to be done here. we're not going to turn it back into, you know, glacier national park or something. this is going to be an urban area, so everything needs to be working a lot more closely with the environment. so, for instance, the wharf, the new project on the southwest channel, on the washington channel there, they're going to manage almost 100% of their storm water on site using a giant cistern, green roofs and other things, where they were managing almost none of their storm water previously. and the -- i think that one of the main takeaways is that people are finding value in the river. it's raising the value of people want to have a water view, so they want to look at the river. they don't want to look at a dirty river. they want to look at a clean river. so, it's really critical to,
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we're going to be six blocks from the capitol, that the river be clean so that we can create a community where people want to come and be. >> all that development, of course, is on the west side. we don't see any on the east side. >> no, we don't. not yet. >> not yet? >> i think what's going to happen in the future is they're developing this slow but coming in ward 7. and where i'm located, we're getting a lot of young people coming into the community, a lot of young, married folks who are coming into the community. and i think they're going to drive a lot of the redevelopment in the community. we've had a number of condos come in in the area, and they're flanking the i-295 corridor overlooking the river. wonderful, wonderful sight. it's just something i think is going to grow and, and as a part of the revitalization of our community, i think a lot of people are realizing, yeah, we're waterfront. that's important. th
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>> it is, indeed. joanna, you also live near the river. >> yeah, i live in the capitol hill area. >> so, how do you feel about development? >> you know, one piece of development i really love is the anacostia river walk trail and all of the attention going towards that. i'm an avid biker and runner and having that resource is great. similarly with yards park, that's a beautiful piece of development. and i feel like with the development that's happening in this day in age, you know, it's done with a lot of thought, especially towards the environment, and i really feel like it's done with a lot of thought towards the community and towards the environment. you know, nothing's perfect, but you know, i feel like a lot of this is bringing positive change to our communities. >> all right. we've got to take another break. we'll continue our talk about the anacostia when we come back. stay with us.
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on april 23rd, there will be a big earth day cleanup project. tell us about it. >> so, every year, anacostia watershed society has been working to organize a big cleanup in the whole watershed. so, about 30 sites throughout the watershed where we have identified a bunch of trash that needs to be removed. and we have a tight, little organization of folks who run those sites, and we work trying to bring a lot of people to it. it's a great opportunity for them to experience the watershed. and it's been really fantastic to raise awareness about the river, about the communities. we've engaged a lot of companies in this and schools and such. so, it's really been a convening moment. we know we have a little celebration afterwards and usually some music and lunch. >> and dolly, you've engaged a lot of your neighbors and friends? >> yes. as a matter of fact, i reached
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first tee of greater washington, d.c., will be coming out to provide volunteers for that as well as our community partners as well as neighbors and volunteers and folks who are riding bicycles come out to share in the focus in pope branch park and in our community in twining. >> it's a great way to bring a community together. >> absolutely. >> you're picking up trash, cleaning up debris, but you know, there's bonding that takes place there. >> absolutely, and it's fun. the number one point of these events is to have fun, you know? and we invite families and people of all ages. i'd like to mention there's this fabulous celebration afterwards at rfk, where there's going to be like a funk soul band, lunch is provided, and it's all about getting people from all over the region out on the river doing something good for their community and feeling connected to each other and the space. >> do you feel that the
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and is it true that the anacostia park, jim, is bigger than central park? >> i believe it is bigger than -- the land that's been -- parkland in the district belongs to the national parks service. further up the river in maryland, it all belongs to maryland national capital parks and planning commission. so, certainly, all that land together is bigger than central park in new york. >> it's all one great, big, national treasure. >> it is. >> natural treasure. >> natural treasure. >> yeah. >> it is. >> yeah. >> and we are so blessed here with some of this open space in our communities. people come out on the river, and they go, i had no idea, you know. they go to foreign countries or other places like west virginia, even. it's right here at home. >> yeah. it's one of the reasons i love living in this region. it's so wonderful. jim foster, dolly davis and joanna fisher, thank you for the work that you're doing to clean up the earth and the anacostia. >> thank you so much. >> all righty. thanks for being with us this
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that's "viewpoint." stay with us for "news4 today."
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mmmm, yoplait. we're talking dangerously high winds, bitter cold on this sunday morning. the wind is whipping through and leaving a mess on some of our roads. some storm team 4 is tracking problem spots. >> powerful winds railroaded causing damage. several trees toppled over on to the roads, on to cars like that one right there. but the big problem this morning, we're talking power outages. dominion virginia power at this hour, 23,000 customers without electricity. >> a lot of people still in the dark. pepco 3800, bge reporting 4600

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