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RiverSmart Innovation Grant Program

RiverSmart Innovation Grant program provides start-up funding for community-oriented projects that improve stormwater management in the District. Applicants were challenged to propose innovative projects, including green infrastructure and awareness-raising projects such as art installations. This is the first year DOEE has offered these grants.

In 2016, DOEE awarded nine RiverSmart Innovation Grants totaling $156,500. Download the project map (attached below) for more details or learn more about the projects below. DOEE expects to offer this grant opportunity again next year. If you are interested in learning more, please contact emily.rice@dc.gov or 202-535-2679.

2016 RiverSmart Innovation grantees and projects:RiverSmart Projects

Anacostia Watershed Society – Saving our Native Grasslands (SONG), $13,000

Anacostia Watershed Society will educate 350 elementary students about the value of native grassland habitat in protecting biodiversity and the importance of riparian buffer in protecting the health of the Anacostia River. The students will participate in hands-on restoration and outdoor education on the shores of the Anacostia River at Kingman Island.

Bona Terra – Sousa Middle School Rain Garden and Sculpture, $20,000

Bona Terra will install a new rain garden and sculpture at Sousa Middle School. The sculpture will be comprised of trash and debris found along the banks of the Anacostia River and will feature native plants and animals of the region.  Bona Terra will work with the school’s science and art teachers to engage students in the design, construction, and maintenance of the project. Rain gardens soak up harmful stormwater runoff reducing the flow of pollutants into District waterbodies. The sculpture will demonstrate how water flows from the school to the rain garden and educate the students and surrounding community about the project.

Dance Place – 8th Street Arts Park Native Gardens, $20,000

Dance Place will install a native plant garden on a previously vacant asphalt lot adjacent to their state-of-the-art studio. Native plant gardens help reduce stormwater runoff, attract pollinator insects, thrive with little maintenance, and increase the District’s biodiversity. The project includes creating an artistic “trash curtain” that will shield and beautify their current dumpster area and educate visitors on trash-related issues.

Endangered Species Coalition – Rock Creek Songbirds, $18,500

The Endangered Species Coalition serves as the fiscal agent to the Rock Creek Songbirds project, which will plant 120 trees in the Piney Branch section of Rock Creek National Park by engaging residents of an adjacent apartment building in the planting and clean-up events. Tree planting reduces stormwater runoff, improves air quality, diminishes the heat island effect, restores our watersheds, and beautifies the District.

Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance – Broad Branch and Linnean Stream Restoration and Education, $19,650

The Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance, in partnership with neighborhood volunteers and Rock Creek Conservancy will build on DOEE’s already complete Broad Branch daylighting project, which restored 1,900 linear feet of historic stream that had been piped underground for eighty years. The daylighting project resulted in a new riparian habitat by recreating the hydrology and hydraulics of the stream and removing invasive plant species.  Through this grant, the Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance will help protect the new stream by removing invasive species and hosting clean-up and native planting events.

George Washington University – GroW Garden Rainwater Catchment System, $5,900

George Washington University’s Office of Sustainability will install two, 200-gallon rain barrels, which will collect stormwater from at least three 48” diameter rain saucers at its GroW Garden. GWU art students will receive stipends to design and paint the rain barrels. The rainwater collected will be used to irrigate the 30 raised vegetable beds and help reduce the amount of harmful stormwater runoff from entering the District’s waterbodies.

Landscape Architecture Foundation – RiverSmart Homes Rain Garden Evaluation, $19,990

Landscape Architecture Foundation, in partnership with Urban Ecosystem Restorations and the University of Maryland, will implement an innovative, citizen-based study to evaluate the performance of 25-35 rain gardens installed through DOEE’s RiverSmart Homes program. The study will result in recommendations to DOEE’s RiverSmart Homes program for long-term monitoring and maintenance strategies.

Living Classrooms – Watershed Watchers, $20,000

Living Classrooms will engage 200 Eastern High School students in their Kingman Island based Watershed Watchers program. Students will gain hands-on experience in habitat restoration, learn about native and invasive species, participate in clean-up events, and conduct water quality testing.

University of the District of Columbia – East Capitol Urban Farm GZEP Education and Green Roof Project, $19,460

UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences will engage participants in DOEE’s Green Zone Environmental Program (GZEP) in a summer curriculum that includes both indoor lessons and hands-on learning experiences, including the design and installation of a green roof, rain barrels, and artistic rain chains, which replaces a traditional downspout with a chain that stormwater flows along and into the rain barrel.  Green roofs soak up stormwater and reduce the harmful effects of stormwater runoff. Rain barrels also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff by collecting rainwater in barrels for future use. At the East Capitol Urban Farm, collected rainwater will be used for irrigation.