With tens of thousands of visitors viewing the cherry blossoms every day, the Tidal Basin is in its element. After the blossoms drift away, significant work lies ahead to revitalize the landmark's infrastructure.
The Tidal Basin is best known for its rows of Japanese cherry blossom trees, an amazing sight that brings tourists from far and wide. What most people don't know, though, is that the Tidal Basin was designed to help keep D.C. waterways clean.
What is the Tidal Basin?
Built in the 1800s (yes, you read that right), the Tidal Basin is a structure designed with inlet gates and outlet gates to help flush debris and sediment from the Washington Channel with the daily tides.
At over 100 acres in size and approximately 10 feet deep, the Tidal Basin is a complex series of underwater barriers that direct the flow of water between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Without it, the channel would soon be overrun with debris, making it impossible to navigate as a waterway.
Why does the Tidal Basin need saving?
Over the years, the sea wall designed to control flooding in the area has begun to sink. Daily high tides are creeping up higher and higher on the land by the Jefferson Memorial, easily flooding the sidewalks by the famed flowering trees.
Repairs to the Tidal Basin for a full overhaul will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Both public and private support is needed to raise awareness and funds to begin the renovation efforts.
Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
What can I do to help?
The first thing you can do is sign the petition created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Assembling a comprehensive list of petitioners will help make the argument that the public is behind the renovation efforts.
Next, help raise awareness about this issue. Share the petition and articles about the Tidal Basin's fundraising effort on your social media pages.
Lastly, you can take care when you visit the Tidal Basin. Make sure you're walking on designated sidewalks and pathways. Veering off into the grassy areas can trample the cherry trees' roots and lead to their early demise.
The Tidal Basin will need everyone's help to stay in the forefront of preservation efforts, so spread the word!
**All photos in this article are courtesy of the National Mall and Memorial Parks unless credited otherwise.
Have you ever seen the Tidal Basin flood? Tell us about it in the comments!