Help Repair the Tidal Basin Seawall


A Man-Made Reservoir

The Tidal Basin was created in the 1890’s with the development of East and West Potomac parks on the National Mall. The basin is a man-made reservoir between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel in Washington, D.C.

Today, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the George Mason Memorial are all situated adjacent to the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Trail Loop is a 2.1 mile walkway around the Tidal Basin that allows access to the natural and cultural treasures circling the Tidal Basin.

The Need

Washington, D.C. has a long history of major flooding. Urbanization of the District over time is also contributing to overland flooding from stormwater runoff as seen in 2006.

The seawall around the Tidal Basin and this trail loop currently floods twice daily, jeopardizing the historic cherry blossom trees as well as the Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials.

The seawall is settling, its wall collapsing, and the space is eroding due to daily water intrusions, which are negatively impacting the surrounding space. At high tide, the sidewalk and the grounds adjacent to the seawall are underwater, an inconvenience for visiting guests.

Major improvements are now required to restore the seawall in the Tidal Basin, allowing for a widened walkway, pedestrian bridges, and bike path, and raising some seawall sections to help lessen the impact to the cherry trees. While some improvements have been made, there is much more work to be done.

As a first step to repairing the sewall, an engineering and design study is required to develop:

  • a 21st Century strategy for the stewardship of the Tidal Basin;
  • design, engineer and implement a more resilient seawall;
  • and design, engineer and implement a reconfigured Cherry Tree Walk.

Donate today to support projects like this on the National Mall.