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Rising water levels are impacting cherry blossom trees in Tidal Basin, experts say

Earth Day is a chance to treasure all the wonder in nature around us.

WASHINGTON — The cherry blossom trees might no longer be in peak bloom but teams continue to care for the trees all year long.

There are certain areas in the Tidal Basin where the water levels rise over the sidewalks. The rising water levels are an issue the National Park Service monitors every day.

“Earth Day is a reminder that it’s not just one day to be thoughtful about the environment and about sustainability, we really need to think year-round,” said Catherine Townsend, the President and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall.

Townsend said there are two spots, in particular, they monitor closely including the Jefferson and FDR Memorial.

“Every time it floods, then they have to go clean up around the sidewalks and clean up at the FDR Memorial so there’s a lot of ongoing work in the short term and long-term there are opportunities to fix those two sections,” said Townsend.

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“The other thing is the roots of the cherry trees are significantly compromised. You have blackish water inundating the roots, it’s not a healthy environment for the trees,” said Townsend.

Crews monitor the flooding caused by high tide every day and often times need to visit to clear off the walkways and preserve the area. Townsend said they are currently talking with experts and fundraising to find solutions to the problem.

"The upkeep is incredible so we just really have to look at innovative solutions for moving forward,” said Townsend.

“We hope this inspires a long-term vision of change because this is not just a quick fix. Tides are rising, sea waters are rising, climate change is here and aging infrastructure is another really challenging process here and we’ve got to be able to support improvements for future generations,” said Townsend.

If you would like to help be part of the solution, you can adopt a cherry blossom tree. It is part of the Cherry Tree Endowment.

There is also a website where you can share your ideas about how to keep the Tidal Basin healthy. To learn more or share your ideas, click here.

Credit: Trust for the National Mall