EDMONSTON'S ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
Edmonston was one of the first towns in Maryland to start a green street. Ever since, Edmonston is proactively working on making the community a more sustainable example for future generations to come. Listed below are the current future green agenda projects for Edmonston!
GREEN STREET EXPANSION PLAN
Edmonston Green Streets are environmentally responsible public spaces, from the tree canopy overhead to the storm water system underground. Edmonston’s first Green Street, Decatur Street, was constructed and dedicated to national attention in 2009. Edmonston is currently planning an expansion of our Green Street network to include Lafayette Place, Ingraham Street, and 46th Avenue.
As a result of our location on the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River and having experienced years of devastating flooding from uncontrolled stormwater runoff, our community decided to take full responsibility for our impact on our environment. Because of the town’s commitment to smart green infrastructure, the people of the town will enjoy savings on energy and infrastructure costs, mitigation of flood damage, and a beautiful asset that will last for generations.
The Decatur Green Street project was recognized by the Obama White House, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and others. If our little working-class town can accomplish a project like this, other communities – of any size – can too. We all have the power to be great stewards of our environment.
Since Decatur Street’s dedication in 2010, numerous other organizations and communities have launched green street programs, including many along the Anacostia River.
Anacostia Watershed Society
The Anacostia Watershed Society was founded in 1989 by a small group of concerned individuals who decided that the environmental needs of the Anacostia River and its watershed communities required serious attention. AWS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and restore the Anacostia River by bringing partners and communities together to achieve a clean and safe Anacostia River for the benefit of all living in its watershed and for future generations.
Native Tree Canopy
Species of large trees that once flourished in this area, including oaks, maples, and sycamores, have been restored as much as possible. A large canopy will increase the natural filtration of airborne pollutants, attract more watershed birds to diversify our local ecosystem and keep insects under control. The canopy also provides more shade to decrease the ‘urban heat island’ effect. Smaller plantings, including shrubs and flowers native to Maryland, are prevalent.
Efficient Street Lighting powered by clean energy
New high-efficiency LED streetlights use 70% less energy than traditional streetlights, resulting in substantial saving. Also, the Town purchases wind energy rather than dirty and unhealthy power from coal burning.
Walking, Running and Biking
The streets and sidewalks are accommodating to walkers, runners, and bikers. Decatur Street connects to the Anacostia Hiker/Biker Trail which in turn connects to the National Arboretum, the National Mall, and the C&O Canal Trail. The more we use legs, feet, and pedals to get around, the greener (and healthier) we are.
Anacostia River Bike Trail
The Anacostia River is 8.4 miles long, and it spans between Prince George’s County and Washington D.C. Millions of people live in the Anacostia Watershed, and the Town of Edmonston is located near the headquarters of the Anacostia Watershed Society. The Anacostia Bike Trail is located on Decatur Street near the bridge, and it’s where bikers and runners can go to get exercise while enjoying the view of the Anacostia River.
Pollinator gardens are used to attract pollinator insects and birds. These pollinators include bees, butterflies, wasps, flies, beetles, hummingbirds, and more. Pollinators are essential to the environment because they pollinate foods and crops that we eat. These insects sustain flower life, they pollinate flowers and give flowers what they need to grow and reproduce. Worldwide there is a decrease in pollinator insects, especially bees. The Town of Edmonston planted pollinator gardens at the Recreation Center and Town Hall to attract more pollinators and provide a home for these wonderful insects.
Stormwater Bio-retention and Filtration
Stormwater bio-retention is the most critical part of the green street. Virtually all the pollution that is killing our waterways comes from stormwater, or rain runoff, which washes trash and pollutants from parking lots, streets and farms into storm drains, rivers, and finally into the Bay, killing crabs, oysters, wildlife, and jobs. Therefore, the street is designed to divert stormwater away from storm drains and the sewer system to specially landscaped areas along the street.
These bio-retention cells, or rain gardens, look like regular roadside green spaces, with trees and plants, but serve a very important function in the ecosystem by allowing the water to be filtered naturally through the ground. Permeable pavement in certain areas also allows water to flow into the ground. Overall, the street will capture the first 1.33 inches of rainfall during a storm, which means about 90% of all rain showers in a typical year are completely filtered. The rain gardens treat 62% of the street, and the permeable pavement of the bike lanes treats an additional 28%. These innovations make the Anacostia River (as well as the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay) a little bit cleaner. The upcoming green streets projects are in an industrial part of town, so bio-retention and filtration are especially important.
Students at the University of Maryland have worked with local officials to create a bio-retention facility aimed at improving the environmental health and water quality of the Anacostia Fiver. Bio-retention facilities direct storm water into a basin and allow it to slowly soak into the ground where layers of soil and water-loving plants naturally filter and remove pollutants. Bio-retention facilities, such as this one at the Edmonston Recreation Center, help led to a cleaner and healthier Anacostia River.
Over 30 rain gardens have been planted along streets throughout town, as well as at the Town Hall. A properly designed and installed rain garden captures stormwater and allows it to slowly soak into the ground. Layers of soil and water-loving plants naturally filter and remove pollutants.
A rain garden can absorb several times more rainwater than a lawn. Rain gardens are easy to maintain, and after the plants are well-established rarely require watering. In a well-designed rain garden, the water soaks into the soil within 24 hours, too quickly for mosquitoes to hatch and grow. The more rain gardens in your yard, the less lawn you must weed, feed, and mow. Rain gardens also attract and create a habitat for hummingbirds and butterflies.
“Don’t Dump” Storm Drain Marking
Storm drains throughout town have been clearly labeled to encourage residents not to dump refuse since the storm drain system discharges directly into the Anacostia, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Permeable pavement has been constructed on the Green Street in Edmonston. Rainwater can be problematic because the water flows on top of concrete and pavement. The water can collect chemicals and trash while being washed away. This dirty water can wash up into water streams such as the Anacostia River or the Chesapeake Bay. Permeable pavement allows water to seep through, so the water is absorbed into the soil underneath. It is a long-term solution to heavy stormwater and flooding.
The stormwater pumping station is located on Taylor Road and it is used for flood mitigation. Pumping stations pump away large volumes of water to protect areas from flooding. The design of the pumping station is based on an Archimedes Screw, an invention created over 2,000 years ago. Edmonston constructed a pumping station with three screws that lift water up 20 feet from the town into the Anacostia River. It can lift 250 million gallons of water each day.
Buying locally grown produce – or even better, growing your own – is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more environmentally conscious. Edmonston has a community garden on 47th Avenue that provides residents with space to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Space in the garden rotates and is awarded by lottery. Edmonston also has a fruit forest.
A community orchard is a shared garden with fruit trees. Edmonston’s community orchard is located at the community garden on 47th Avenue. The garden is kept locked, and only people that have purchased a plot can have access. You can buy a plot from Town Hall if there is a spot available. Some fruit trees we have in the community orchard are Persimmon, Paw-Paws, and Serviceberry. When fruits are ripe, they are made available to the community, and they are donated to the local food bank.
The green street features eco-friendly trash and recycling receptacles and benches; all are made of recycled materials.
Solar-Powered Trash Compactors
Edmonston has installed solar-powered trash and recycling compactors. These trash compactors are BigBelly products, they have technology that automatically compacts trash creating more room and storage for trash. BigBelly products can hold 5 times more trash than your typical trash can. When the trash can is full, the BigBelly will send a message to trash collectors that it’s reached capacity. This saves energy and time, because trash collectors don’t have to come unless the trash can is completely full.
Recycling is very important to the Town of Edmonston. As a green community, we like to make efforts to limit our trash and recycle as much as possible. The BigBelly is a trash can and recycling bin that compacts recycled items. Edmonston has trash and recycling bins all over the town.
We collect recycling every Friday.
Green Street Walking Tour
Decatur Street also includes a "walking tour" of interpretative signs that describe the environmental features of the street to educate residents, students, and the public. The engineering plans and design concepts are shared as an "open source", available online, so others can utilize, replicate, and improve upon the ideas in our project. Our hope is that green streets soon become commonplace.
Town Hall Energy Audit
An energy audit was completed for the Town Hall and Police Station and the following recommendations were implemented:
All fluorescent light bulbs have been upgraded to energy-saving models that are more efficient.
All exterior building and parking lot lighting changed to LED lighting.
An Eco-Star energy-saving white roof was installed. A white roof absorbs less heat than a dark roof, meaning lower air conditioning bills.
Solar panels were installed on the Town Hall, providing sustainable energy to the building.
Majority of energy comes from natural gas, nuclear power, and coal. These forms of pollution leaves air pollution. Wind energy has fewer effects on the environment, it is cleaner than other forms of energy.
All energy purchased by Edmonston is 100% clean wind energy. Every streetlight in Edmonston is LED powered by wind energy. The Town purchases wind energy from the Constellation company, and 93 percent of the energy comes from Texas, with another 6.6 percent from Oklahoma and the rest from Nebraska.
The Town of Edmonston has electric cars for working purposes
Electric police and code enforcement vehicles were purchased to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
An electric car was purchased for maintenance and planning workers to use around town.
Pet Waste Stations
The Town of Edmonston and the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment collaborated to install numerous pet waste stations around town. Each station comes with bags, a disposal box, and instructions for use.
Residential Solar Panels
The Town has partnered with Solar United Neighbors of Maryland (MD SUN) and the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment to provide the residents of Edmonston the opportunity to join a co-op for the purchase of solar energy. Several residents have also chosen to have their own solar panels installed.
A weatherization grant with the Prince George’s Community Collaborative offers weatherization grants to eligible homeowners in the Port Towns. Edmonston has had several residents take advantage of a free energy audit, free appliance upgrade and overall improvements in the weatherization of homes.
Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL)
The Town of Edmonston is part of the Healthy Eating, Active Living Cities & Towns Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to promote healthy eating and active living in Maryland and Virginia’s cities and towns by providing free technical assistance to local government leaders to create environments that encourage these behaviors.
The HEAL campaign envisions a community where residents have access to affordable, healthy foods and where active lifestyles are encouraged and supported. In this way we can work to halt, and ultimately reverse, the growing trend of overweightness and obesity, and the related rise in preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Green Activity Booklet
The Town has developed a bilingual activity booklet that will educate residents about the impacts of stormwater runoff and the connection between their communities and natural resources.
A treasure hunt is available for all ages. The document is online on our website, print it, and you can participate. The purpose of the treasure hunt is to teach people about Edmonston and encourage them to explore the town. The treasure hunt features questions that can be answered by reading the signs around the town. If you complete the treasure hunt, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to win a t-shirt!
Edmonston has created welcome bags for new residents of the Town. Each bag includes the green activity booklet, information from America in Bloom, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Pepco, the Prince George’s County government, and Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA). Each bag also includes information about pollinator gardens, purchasing solar, and the Edmonston town government, as well as a reusable bag to encourage residents to reduce their use of disposable plastic bags.
In 2013 and again in 2016, the Town of Edmonston was certified by Sustainable Maryland as a bronze-level community. In addition to other green actions mentioned in this booklet, Edmonston got points for its Little Free Libraries program, local purchasing preference policy, and recognition of local businesses who put forth extra effort to improve or give back to the community.
Every year the Town of Edmonston celebrates Earth Day and honors the natural world. In April of 2021, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment hosted events all month long. There was a hashtag #PGEarthDayEveryDay where people wore green and posted pictures to celebrate Earth Day. There was also virtual meetings and trainings to teach people about litter. In 2020, Edmonston partnered with the Anacostia Watershed Society and hosted a cleanup event in the Anacostia Watershed. Volunteers were scattered at different cleanup sites in Maryland and D.C.
The town of Edmonston hosts annual trash clean ups on Earth Day and during April.
Bike to Workday
Bike to workday is a national holiday that occurs in May every year. In 2018, Edmonston encouraged people to bike to work. There were over 100 pit stops in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. During the event there were free t-shirts, a bike raffle, food, and beverages.
Rain Barrels have been installed at the Town Hall to help capture stormwater runoff from the roof. This rainwater is stored and used to water the surrounding plants during dry spells.
Green Educational Center
Interactive Green Informational Kiosk at the Town Hall introduces energy saving programs and eco-friendly ideas to visitors and schools.
Yard of the Month
Here in Edmonston a resident is awarded the title “Yard of the Month”. We have this program from May to September every year. We choose one resident with a beautiful and well-kept yard to encourage citizens to take care of their lawn. The recipient receives a sign for their lawn, a $50 gift card, and is recognized on the Edmonston website.
Chesapeake Conservation Corps
The Chesapeake Conservation Corps is program for college graduates that work at different environmental organizations in the Chesapeake Bay. The program is apart of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, it employs young adults with a passion for the environment. The Town of Edmonston is one of the many host sites for the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. Some interns that have worked at Edmonston includes Bernard Delvin, Andrew Jones, and Bethany Sims. These interns have done environmental work for the town such as writing grants, environmental policy, organized community events, and more.