WASHINGTON - This week, tourists and residents alike are being treated to Mother Nature's best in Washington, D.C.
The city's beloved cherry blossom trees are in full bloom under sunny skies with warmer spring temperatures.
"It's beyond stunning. It's gorgeous. It just takes your breath away. And to sit by the tidal pool and just rest and relax," said Nancy Reynolds, a tourist from Holland, Michigan.
The popularity of the annual blooms is one of the reasons the iconic trees are in peril.
Officials say the decades of wear and tear and rising sea levels are causing chronic flooding problems at the Tidal Basin, the 107-acre man-made reservoir on the Potomac River that is home to thousands of cherry blossom trees.
"A lot of areas that the cherry trees are just literally falling into the water. As you can see here they expose roots," said Sean Kenneally, Chief of Service for the National Park Service. "The other areas where people just can't walk anymore. The area where the water is is actually a portion of the seawall that has settled over the years."
Officials say the area gets flooded twice a day at high tide and the silt concentration in the water is shortening the life span of the cherry trees that ring the basin.
Early estimates are the rehabilitation project will require as much as $500 million, with organizers said to be seeking government money and private donations.
Trust for the National Mall has also partnered with the Cherry Blossom Festival to raise money to preserve and maintain the trees.