Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership
Land use in the Anacostia watershed
Land Use Category
Area
(acres)
Area
(percent)
Residential
50,691
44.9
Forest, Open Space and Parks
32,925
29.4
Agricultural
5,040
4.5
Institutional
9,990
8.9
Commercial
7,570
6.7
Industrial
4,289
3.8
Wetlands
159
0.1
Extractive
1,191
1.1
Water
971
0.9
follows the general pattern of other metropolitan areas, with the most dense development concentrated near the urban center. The average imperviousness of the entire watershed is 22.5%. With the exception of the National Park Service land adjacent to the tidal river, the largest areas of low density development (i.e., less than 15% imperviousness) are found primarily in the northeastern and northwestern portions of the basin. These areas are comprised of low density residential development, forest and park lands, open water and wetlands and agriculture.

Residential development is the single largest land use in the Anacostia, comprising more than 44% of the watershed area. The "undeveloped" land-use category, which covers about 30% of the watershed, is primarily forest and parks. The remaining forest and wetland cover in the watershed are discussed in more detail in subsequent sections. The industrial/manufacturing base in the watershed is confined to four percent of the land area. This land use is predominantly light industry and is concentrated in the tidal Anacostia area, and in the Hickey Run, Lower Beaverdam Creek, and Indian Creek subwatersheds. Limited extractive (primarily sand and gravel washing) activities occur in the headwaters of the Indian Creek subwatershed.

Percent imperviousness in the individual subwatersheds range up to 37% and 48% in the highly industrialized Hickey Run subwatershed and Anacostia Northwest Bank, respectively. The lowest level of imperviousness is found in the Upper Beaverdam Creek subwatershed (11%), which is owned predominantly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is operated as the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC). A moderate correlation (r2 = 0.61) exists between population density values and imperviousness in the subwatersheds of the Anacostia, with imperviousness generally increasing four to five percent for each additional 1,000 people per square mile.