10 Anacostia Corridor Vignettes for Black History Month

10 Anacostia Corridor Vignettes for Black History Month

African Americans have been making history in the Anacostia River Corridor since before President Washington established the borders of the District of Columbia in 1791.  Here are 10 snapshots to help celebrate Black History Month during the Year of the Anacostia.  Enjoy!

DC Council's Year of the Anacostia Hearing

DC Council's Year of the Anacostia Hearing

On January 11th, the Council's Transportation and Environment Committee will hear from the public about the Year of the Anacostia resolution.  Read Doug Siglin's statement.

The Year of the Anacostia: Day One

The Year of the Anacostia: Day One

Today we start off a year of hope and action for the Anacostia River, the huge public parkland adjacent to it, and the communities near the river and parks. 

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador – 2017 in Review: Building Capacity, Making Progress and Setting the Stage along the Anacostia Corridor

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador – 2017 in Review: Building Capacity, Making Progress and Setting the Stage along the Anacostia Corridor

I stepped into the role of Anacostia Ambassador this past May of 2017. Between Katherine Antos, the former Ambassador, myself, Doug Siglin and other staff from the Anacostia Waterfront Trust, the Ambassadorship–part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership–spent much of 2017 serving as a key coordinator between at least 88 unique, hard-working groups in the Anacostia watershed. While many people enjoyed the river and waterfront parks in 2017–perhaps biking along the expanded RiverWalk Trail, fishing from the docks at Diamond Teague Park or maybe even trying stand-up paddleboarding on the Anacostia River–hundreds of people from government agencies, non-profits, neighborhood groups and businesses have been working hard to clean up the river and plan for the future.

Year of the Anacostia Website is Launched

Year of the Anacostia Website is Launched

The Anacostia Waterfront Trust has been working closely with the National Park Service and others to help launch the "Year of the Anacostia," a yearlong celebration of the Anacostia River corridor in 2018. Read more about why 2018 is the #YearoftheAnacostia in the press release from the National Park Service below, and at the website we launched today: www.yearoftheanacostia.com 

Support the plan for Kingman and Heritage Islands

Support the plan for Kingman and Heritage Islands

People who believe that Kingman and Heritage Islands could play an essential positive role in the education, and the social and emotional health, of the District’s children need to let Mayor Bowser know that they want it funded. We have created a very easy way to do that. Just go to this link on our website and fill out the simple form to join the many people signing a request letter to Mayor Bowser. It’s a simple way to take an important action for a lot of DC kids.

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: Getting to the River can be Hard

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: Getting to the River can be Hard

Despite all of the positive momentum happening around the Anacostia River, one of the waterfront’s primary challenges still remains: getting to the river. The Anacostia River runs through over one thousand acres of parkland in the District of Columbia (more parkland than Central Park!), and although many of these parks are right next to residential neighborhoods, they can be hard to get to and hard to find. Huge barriers like highways and large fenced-off parcels separate communities from the parks in their own backyard. Some of the few existing ways to get into the parks do not feel safe, inviting nor welcoming. As DC and Maryland continue to improve the quality of water and parks in the Anacostia corridor, similar efforts must be put into making sure that people can actually get to the ever-better river.

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: The Year of the Anacostia – Turning the Tide

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: The Year of the Anacostia – Turning the Tide

The Anacostia River is increasingly getting better press, and more and more DC residents are beginning to recognize and celebrate the river as a vast and beautiful shared public amenity. The positive evolution of conventional wisdom around the river is decades in the making, and several “watershed” (get it?) milestones are approaching that will significantly change the river—and perhaps how we think about it.

The Clean Water Act Turns 45

The Clean Water Act Turns 45

Raise a glass (of clean water!) to the Clean Water Act and offer a word of thanks as it celebrates its 45th birthday.

Kingman Island Could Unite Us

Kingman Island Could Unite Us

An Opinion by Rev. Keith Kitchen and Doug Siglin published in the Washington Post, October 15, 2017. 

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: On Partnering with the National Park Service

Notes from the Anacostia Ambassador: On Partnering with the National Park Service

The National Park Service owns and manages a majority of the Anacostia River waterfront. National Capital Parks-East (NACE), which manages Anacostia Park, relies on local partners, including residents, non-profits and DC government agencies, to help achieve its mission. NACE is currently expanding its capacity to collaborate with new and existing partners.

Planning for Change in the Anacostia Corridor

Planning for Change in the Anacostia Corridor

It is critical to set up a process for residents in the front line neighborhoods, working alongside experts in housing, policy, planning and other fields, to define what they want their communities to be. 

"Not Just Some Children – All Children"

"Not Just Some Children – All Children"

Recently, I was thinking about the proposed plan for the modest children’s environmental education campus on Kingman/National Children’s Island, and I happened to see an interview with someone named Jason Morris.

LCDR Schafler Steps Down

LCDR Schafler Steps Down

Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Schafler’s tour of duty as the Community Affairs Officer for the District ends on September 30th, to the disappointment of the community whose admiration he has earned.

A Weekend of Progress on Kingman Island

A Weekend of Progress on Kingman Island

Kingman Island saw a weekend of significant progress on September 16 and 17. On Saturday, over 400 volunteers attended an event sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy to remove trash and litter from the shoreline of the Island.Then, on Sunday, over 50 volunteers from Catholic University removed an invasive species from a large and heavily overgrown area

The Year of the Anacostia

The Year of the Anacostia

Doug Siglin

Today, all 13 members of the DC Council, following the notable leadership of Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, introduced a Sense of the Council resolution to declare 2018 “the Year of the Anacostia.” The resolution also says that the DC government should “identify resources and policies that create opportunities for recreation within the Anacostia watershed, ensure sustainable development on and along the Anacostia River, and continue improvements to the water quality of the Anacostia River.”

 This is very cool. DC is blessed with a resource of extraordinary potential for our residents, largely hidden in plain sight, right in the heart of our city. It’s great that the Council has shown a light on it.

 Challenged to design a great twenty-first century international city from scratch, you could do a lot worse than to build it around a gentle river and an enormous riverside park, an easy bike or bus or Metro ride from hundreds of thousands of residents.

 We already have that. It’s Anacostia Park and Kingman/National Children’s Island. It is more than 1200 acres. That’s bigger than New York City’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or Chicago’s lakefront parks. Think of all the great educational, and health, and recreational programs that could be done there. 

 Our great riverside park isn’t new; in fact, it will be an actual Centenarian next August. During the summer of 1918, in the middle of World War I, a visionary Congress declared that most of the Anacostia River waterfront would henceforth be public parkland, frustrating those who wanted it for industry or other uses. The new law built on the 1902 “Anacostia Water Park” vision of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr, Daniel Burnham, and other members of the Senate Park (McMillian) Commission. It was Burnham who reportedly said, “make no little plans…make big plans”. He and his colleagues did. The Commission of Fine Arts wrote that the proposed Anacostia Waterfront Park would be of “exceptional beauty and value” for Washington.

Our Anacostia public riverfront hasn’t yet made it to exceptional beauty and value, although it’s certainly a standard to strive for. Other cities with waterfront parks apparently understand what they have and invest in infrastructure and frequent activities. But unlike most of those, DC doesn’t have an agency responsible for helping to generate waterfront events and programs. The National Park Service, which manages most of the riverfront parkland, would like to do more, but has billions of dollars in deferred maintenance around the nation and pretty much struggles to keep the lights on and the bathrooms operating in its less popular parks. That doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon.

The Council’s Year of the Anacostia resolution was triggered by the 100th Anniversary of Anacostia Park. But there are other reasons, too, the most important among them that in 2018 DC Water will open its massive underground Anacostia Tunnel to detain and clean up polluted water from houses, buildings, and streets. The day DCWater flips the switch, the Anacostia River will be a lot cleaner. You will be able to safely wade, float or swim in it. Really.

One of the best things happening on the Anacostia waterfront is the compelling vision for a children’s outdoor environmental education campus on Kingman/National Children’s Island. Last year, the DC Council commissioned an updated plan for nature education infrastructure that was first proposed three Mayors ago. The kids’ outdoor education campus plan is modest, but very important. It envisions a floating lab, some shelter, some bathrooms, some storage, some trails, and a dock. It would give kids on the eastern side of the District a lot more opportunity to learn about nature close to home. There is plenty of evidence that outdoor learning helps children to succeed in a lot of unexpected ways.

Funding the Kingman/National Children’s Island children’s campus would be a great move in the Year of the Anacostia. So would funding a lot more activities in our huge riverside park. There are many nonprofits that would gladly develop more kids’ programs and other events and activities on the waterfront. All they need is some help.

Doing something significant and lasting to implement the Year of the Anacostia is a great political opportunity for Mayor Bowser. She should embrace it. The Anacostia has always been a divider of the District, but now the river and the lands around it could become a uniter and an equalizer. The Mayor could have an exceptional win for herself and the District if she would take it on in this notable 100th Anniversary year.

 

Children’s Island Needs Help Now

Children’s Island Needs Help Now

Twenty-one years ago, a federal law transferred the 45-acre “National Children’s Island” to the District of Columbia government to use as “a cultural, educational, and family-oriented park.”You would be justified in wondering if somehow in your exploration of DC you’ve totally missed a great cultural and educational park on an island.

Rest easy. You haven’t. There is an island, but not the one envisioned in the law.

Premium Stormwater Retention Credits Available Now

Premium Stormwater Retention Credits Available Now

The Anacostia Waterfront Trust is offering for immediate sale 27,092 Premium Stormwater Retention Credits.  These stormwater retention credits were certified by the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on May 10, 2017. They can be used immediately to meet regulatory obligations, or can be banked indefinitely for future use.