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Washington D.C. is Beginning to Know Their H20

More trees, green roofs, rain gardens, pervious pavers and rain barrels.

Those are elements of the solution to reducing stormwater pollution in many of our urban areas around the country. These types of low impact development solutions have been widely implemented in progressive cities such as Portland, Oregon. But they are also catching on and being implemented in our nation's capital.

Although a massive underground tunnel project which can be thought of as a "giant underground rain barrel" won't begin construction until at least 2011, other green projects are well under way in Washington D.C.

Last spring, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced a goal to increase the District's tree canopy from 34.8 percent to 40 percent. This means adding 8,600 trees every year for the next 25 years and conserving the ones that exist.

The RiverSmart program, managed by the District's Department of the Environment, uses money as incentive. Property owners making stormwater improvements can receive up to $1,200 in assistance. Green roofs up to 4,000 square feet receive a subsidy if the project covers at least half of the available roof surface. Trees and rain barrels can be installed for a modest fee.