Ecology

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow in winter

What’s so great about Dueling Creek? From where it exits the cement culvert  until it reaches the Anacostia River, the creek enjoys a natural, largely undisturbed section. It has a wide natural flood plain, and a mix of native and invasive plants. Countless birds and animals call this secluded little haven home. Huge Sycamores dominate the landscape, and you can find a fox den or a scrape where a buck has established his territory by rubbing a tree. Most of this area can only be accessed through a difficult off-trail hike (brambles, mud, etc.), although the view from the dock gives you a sense of the area.

What is NOT so great about Dueling Creek? Three big problems stand out – trash, invasive plants and runoff.

  1. Trash! It is a constant struggle to keep the trash from accumulating. Park users frequently leave trash on the ground which is blown into the creek with the first storm.
  2. Invasive plants –  thick stands of invasive plants like honeysuckle bush and ornamental pear crowd out native plants, and reduce the biodiversity considerably. Thankfully, the areas closest to the creek are less affected, but there are few native marsh plants that would go a long way towards filtering water, preventing erosion, and providing improved habitat for birds and animals.
  3. Run-off, leachate and sediment! several contributors – stormwater, leachate from the landfill, and pesticide and herbicide applications at private homes, roadsides and the cemetery almost certainly pollute the creek. Erosion and sediment likely contribute to problems in the stream.
Trash Jam in Dueling Creek
Trash Jam in Dueling Creek