The Anacostia River may not (yet!) be the most pristine urban waterway in America, but it’s on its way. Several government agencies are creating plans to clean it up, and many milestone projects and decisions are on track to be completed next year. The cleaning up of these areas is important because not only because remediation will heal the natural environment and improve human safety, but also because the planning processes for these areas will pave the way for the redesign and/or redevelopment of these sites. While Poplar Point may someday be developed to combine ecological restoration along the shoreline and mixed-use development near the Anacostia Metro station, areas like Kenilworth Park may someday be designed to combine expanded forest cover with additional recreational space and better access to the waterfront.
Last month, the DC Office of Planning extended the public amendment period for the District Elements of the Comprehensive Plan. This means that residents have until June 23, 2017 to submit proposed amendments to the existing plan that could make it into an updated document in 2018. If you have any sort of vision for what you think your neighborhood—or the Anacostia River waterfront—should look like over the next 20 years, then you’ll want to make sure your vision is reflected in the document!
Washington DC is a leader in the Chesapeake region and nationally when it comes to stemming the tide on urban stormwater pollution through a combination of regulatory, market- and incentive-based programs.
The forecast for Thursday morning was gray, rainy and cold – but the Anacostia Waterfront Trust was joined by nearly 40 friends and supporters to celebrate the completion of its first RainPay green infrastructure project.
Representatives from the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Anacostia Riverkeeper, Casey Trees, Greening Urban, Environmental Quality Resources, Green Scheme, neighborhood organizations and many more groups huddled together under tents graciously provided by Casey Trees.
On Thursday, May 11th, the Anacostia Waterfront Trust will be hosting a ribbon cutting event at the national headquarters of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) in Ward 7. The event will mark the completion of the Trust’s first bioretention (or rain garden) facility, located on what is known as the “Holy Hill”. This garden is part of RainPay, our triple-bottom-line program designed to bring tangible improvements to the Anacostia River and watershed communities while providing financial benefits to the neighborhood. Come out if you can and help us celebrate this momentum!
Chairperson Cheh and members of the Transportation and Environment Committee, thank you for convening this public hearing and giving me the chance to offer you my thoughts on the District’s efforts to characterize and remediate the legacy toxic contamination in and along the shoreline of the Anacostia River. The Anacostia means a great deal to me; I lived and worked in Ward 6 for 30 years, have been paddling the river recreationally since the early1990s, and have been working professionally to clean up and revitalize it in one way or another since 1997.
The Anacostia Waterfront Trust has partnered with the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) at its Nannie Helen Burroughs property in Northeast where a rain garden has been erected to capture water that can be used as credits and sold to developers to apply to their rain pay tax.
Increasingly, public discourse pits environment protections against jobs and local economic development. Yet communities within the Anacostia watershed demonstrate how environmental regulations and directives create jobs and spur investment in local communities.
On April 4th, the Anacostia Waterfront Trust held a public forum about the future of the Anacostia waterfront in partnership with the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.
Former DC Mayor Anthony Williams, who focused the District government’s attention on the Anacostia river during his 8-year term, provided opening remarks and called for the parkland along the Anacostia river to become Washington’s 21st Century urban waterfront.
World Water Day is an annual United Nations designated holiday, celebrated around the globe every March 22nd. I’m a little embarrassed that it sneaked by me again. It was created at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. I was there.
Institutions, agencies, non-governmental organizations, and prominent officials often speak about the need to work collaboratively toward shared goals, particularly when it comes to managing watersheds and public lands. A recent meeting with National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Tara D. Morrison and over 100 stakeholders was a major step forward in actually setting an action-oriented, community-driven agenda for enhancing Anacostia Park and the river that flows through it.
Every day I hear about climate change. It scares me, particularly when I think about what it means for the lives of my children and their generation.
And that’s a problem if we as a society want to fully embrace climate change mitigation and adaptation now. We should be thinking about what it means now for individuals most vulnerable to extreme heat and flooding events that are already beginning to occur and will only increase with a warming planet. What it means for neighbors who are at the highest risk because they already face health challenges or lack financial resources to use air conditioning more, conduct repairs, or otherwise adapt when disaster strikes.
As part of the city’s ongoing outreach efforts, DOEE's Kate Johnson recently shared these and other facts with the more than 40 people who participated in the February 3 APACC meeting on climate change. Events like this are important to keep communities East of the River informed about the likely threats posed by climate change as well as include them in plans for what can be done to improve the resiliency of this region.
Below is a video with highlights from the event as well as five questions and answers about climate change that every organization, policymakers, and residents in Ward 7 & 8 should know.
The Trust has developed a program called “RainPay” that attempts to do just that. It lessens the pollution and erosion effects of street and rooftop runoff by making the ground absorb more, and it gets an income stream into nonprofits in low-income communities. If we can get the program to scale, we are going to employ people, too, to operate and maintain the installations. It’s all paid for with a small portion of the profits from development under the District’s creative Stormwater Retention Credit regulations.
So we’re cleaning up our dirty urban river and promoting resiliency in two ways at the same time.
The National Park Service has released a draft “Management Plan/Environmental Assessment” for the 1200-acre national park that stretches along both sides of the Anacostia River. This is a very significant step forward in the effort to improve the programs and facilities in Anacostia Park. NPS is seeking public comment on the draft plan by March 18, after which it will issue a final plan intended to steer park improvements for the next fifteen or twenty years.
The National Park Service has opened a 45-day public comment period on its draft Anacostia Park Management Plan/Environmental Assessment. Comments will be received through March 18th. The detailed document can be read or downloaded from this link: Anacostia Park Plan.
Since the District of Columbia completed the AWI Framework Plan in 2003 in partnership with 19 regional and federal agencies, multiple entities have led many large and small planning efforts along the Anacostia and in surrounding neighborhoods. This month I explain some of the major planning activities underway within the Anacostia River Corridor, defined as the river, surrounding public land, and neighborhoods and properties within easy walking or biking distance. This post is admittedly longer than any blog should be due to the number of players and plans. However, it’s critical for partners who want to improve the health of the Anacostia and the surrounding lands while providing opportunities for nearby residents to understand how various planning elements and agencies fit together.
On January 24, Senate Democrats presented a plan for investing $1 trillion in infrastructure around the country and the new administration is expected to unveil their own ideas shortly. This discussion is welcome, but so far, both sides are focusing solely on the built environment while ignoring other green infrastructure. This is an unfortunate omission as it overlooks one of our nation’s most valuable assets. As this debate continues to unfold, we sincerely hope that bipartisan consensus can be found for including parks and other public lands in any plans.
The Anacostia River is polluted, but cleaning it up is hard because DC and Montgomery and Prince George's counties are all responsible for it. But the three are working together to change that.
In October, leaders from each jurisdiction signed the Anacostia Accord, a formal commitment to support one another's efforts to work with regional businesses, individuals, and organizations to find ways to clean up the entire length of the Anacostia (and to keep it clean). It will mean sharing best practices, working on region-wide legislation, and making sure the way each calculates pollution reduction is consistent with the others.
The Anacostia Waterfront Trust Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Erin Garnaas-Holmes, an award-winning young urban planner and landscape architect, will join the Trust staff and lead its efforts to envision and help plan an improved Anacostia public waterfront.