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Environment

The Uncertain Future of D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees at the Tidal Basin look beautiful, but daily flooding at high tide and crumbling infrastructure are threatening their survival.
Save the cherry blossoms!
Save the cherry blossoms!Jeenah Moon/Reuters

Crowds stroll the petal-lined perimeter of the National Mall’s Tidal Basin in springtime Washington, D.C., for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. If they’re paying attention to something other than the beautiful view, they might notice walkways overrun by flooding.

Although millions of people come to the Tidal Basin each year (the National Mall is the most visited national park in the country), the sea wall surrounding the basin has hardly been modified since it was constructed in 1882.