If you haven’t already heard: 2018 is the “Year of the Anacostia.”
What began as a conversation between a few organizations (the Anacostia Waterfront Trust, the National Park Service, the Anacostia Watershed Society and the 11th Street Bridge Park) has grown into a collaborative effort between over 70 different public, private and nonprofit entities.
These groups joined together to create “a yearlong invitation to honor history, celebrate progress, and enjoy the Anacostia River and its surroundings while envisioning an inspiring future.” And it has been a big success.
On May 30, 2018, the Anacostia Waterfront Trust partnered with Resilient DC and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership to host a one-day conference and ideas forum titled “Equity, Resilience & the Anacostia River Corridor.” The purpose of this event was to convene experts, leaders and practitioners in park programming and urban planning to share experiences and best practices in building equitable and resilient urban waterfronts.
As Ambassador with the Anacostia River Urban Waters Federal Partnership, I recently hosted a conversation alongside Jonathan Goodell of the Alice Ferguson Foundation about mapping efforts in the Anacostia River watershed. There are many groups in the watershed who currently use mapping platforms or manage geographic data, and this event was an opportunity to share information with each other and identify possible ways to work together. Below is a summary of the conversation, organized by topic area with links to online maps included. If you would like to share links to additional maps or datasets, or join the conversation about mapping, please contact me.
All major religions have strong themes about protecting the earth. Rain Gardens are a practical way to do it, and, in DC, can bring real monetary benefits to houses of worship by “monetizing” their rooftops, parking lots and roads.
As some advocates begin to question whether the restoration of the Anacostia River corridor might contribute to patterns of inequitable economic growth in DC and in Maryland, I have wondered: What can the people in charge of parks and green space do to maximize positive benefits for nearby residents while minimizing the negative possible impacts like displacement?
Before investigating the second question, I looked into the first: What kind of benefits do parks provide communities?
Thanks to the hard work of many community advocates and government agencies, the health of the Anacostia River is swiftly improving and long-held negative perceptions about the value of the river and its parks are beginning to shift to the positive. Yet as river advocates encourage people to visit and enjoy the increasingly restored riverfront during the Year of the Anacostia, the Anacostia River continues to maintain its historic reputation in Washington as a stark dividing line for wealth, health indicators, race and more. Some advocates fear that the improvement of the Anacostia River may not serve residents who suffered through its darker years. By raising the desirability and value of land near the river, some fear the restoration itself could contribute to patterns of inequitable economic growth, gentrification and displacement that loom over the DC region and many U.S. cities.
Krista Schlyer, a multimedia journalist and artist who has been working on the Anacostia River for a long time, has launched a new online interactive exhibit about the Anacostia Watershed. A total of 8 episodes will be released, once each week starting April 3, 2018.
George Washington set us on the path to today's District of Columbia.
The most innovative thing going on in DC to improve water quality could be a model for the world.
Today is the United Nations' World Water Day. We in DC have a lot to celebrate.
Even though the weather hasn’t quite settled into spring yet, the Anacostia watershed has already been getting a lot of buzz this year.
The watershed is doing better than it has in a long time, thanks to the hard work of many government agencies, organizations and advocates. And as the water resources and parks are improving, the river corridor is becoming an even more attractive place for recreation, leisure and adventure.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Anacostia's time has come! On November 14th, the County Council of Prince George's County passed a resolution declaring that 2018 will be the Year of the Anacostia.
The most amazing thing to me about this story is that National Children’s Bicentennial Island has essentially vanished.