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Planting Fields of Wild Rice Help To Bring Back Life to the Anacostia River

Release Date: 06/10/2004
Contact Information:

Contact at EPA Headquarters: Cathy Milbourn, 202-564-7824 /
Contact at EPA Region III: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543 /

(Washington, D.C. - June 10, 2004)—EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Program are helping the Anacostia Watershed Society develop the Rice Rangers project, a three-year restoration effort that reintroduces native wild rice to the tidal mudflats along the Anacostia River. At a rice-planting event along the Anacostia today, EPA presented a check for $100,000 to the Anacostia Watershed Society to work with students and teachers involved in a year-long natural wetlands planting cycle.

“This project will help teach kids, young and old about the importance of restoring America’s wetlands and watersheds,” said Ben Grumbles, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. “By reintroducing native plants, such as wild rice, students provide a healthier habitat and cleaner water for the Anacostia River.”

Through the Rice Rangers project students will learn about the environmental importance of wetlands such as how they remove impurities from water, provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals and reduce flood damage. The students participating in today’s planting attend LaSalle Elementary in Northeast Washington. These and other students who participate in this project live in the urban area near the Anacostia and will directly benefit from this restoration effort. The Rice Rangers project can serve as a model for wetland restoration nation wide.

The Anacostia Watershed Society is dedicated to the restoration of the Anacostia River by reintroducing native plants that will improve water quality, reduce flood and storm water impacts and provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife. In addition, it helps to reintroduce species of birds to the Anacostia watershed, including the Bobolink, Swamp Sparrow and Grasshopper Sparrow.

On Earth Day 2004, President Bush announced a new goal of restoring, improving and protecting at least three million acres of wetlands by 2009. The goal includes restoring one million acres of wetlands, improving one million acres and preserving one million acres. Specifically, EPA is charged with achieving 6,000 acres of wetlands restoration and 6,000 acres of improvement over five years, which is an average of 1200 acres a year in each category. Information about EPA’s wetlands program is available at: Information about the Anacostia Watershed Society and the Rice Rangers Program is available at: