(Washington, DC) – Today, in honor of the Year of the Anacostia, Mayor Bowser announced significant conservation and investment commitments for Kingman and Heritage Islands. The Mayor directed the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to designate portions of both islands as a State Conservation Area and the southern area of Kingman Island as a Critical Wildlife Area. The State Conservation Area designation mimics the federal covenant for the islands, restricting their use to environmental, educational, and recreational purposes. In addition, the Mayor also announced a new $4.7 million investment for educational and recreational improvements on the islands.
“Our goal is a fishable, swimmable Anacostia River, and over the past few years, we have made tremendous progress toward that goal. However, there is more to do, and these conservation designations and this new funding will help us get that work done,” said Mayor Bowser. “Efforts and investments like these are how we will become the healthiest, greenest, and most sustainable city in the world.”
Consistent with the Kingman Island & Heritage Island Planning and Feasibility Study, the new investment will support outdoor classrooms, bathrooms, and accessible routes and pathways for visitors to the islands. These improvements will mean greater use of the island by District residents and visitors, which in turn, will help expand successful school and volunteer programs already in place.
The Kingman and Heritage Islands represent a unique natural space in the heart of the nation’s capital. The product of dredging the Anacostia River over 100 years ago, Kingman and Heritage Islands are now home to important and rare ecosystems, including tidal freshwater wetlands, vernal pools, wildflower meadows, and tidal swamp forests. The islands are home to more than 100 different species of birds, mammals, and other wildlife.
“I commend Mayor Bowser’s steadfast commitment to our environment, which has catalyzed the tremendous progress we’ve made in restoring and protecting the District’s natural resources” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “Actions like the ones we are taking today will help ensure a vibrant and thriving urban environment for the next generation, and generations to come.”
Since taking office, the Bowser Administration has taken a multi-tiered approach to cleaning up the District’s waterways, protecting native wildlife, and preserving important habitats. In 2016, the Mayor ratified the first-ever Anacostia River Accord, a historic agreement with our upstream partners in Maryland to highlight a shared commitment to make the Anacostia River trash free. Through the ongoing Anacostia River Sediment Project, the long history of industrial pollution in the Anacostia River is being reversed. And just last year, Mayor Bowser signed into law The Fisheries and Wildlife Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016 which, among many things, designated DC’s official state fish and established new pathways for protecting native wildlife, critical habitats, and shorelines. Today’s announcement builds on these efforts as the District continues its work to become the most sustainable city in the nation.
Today’s event is one of many events to celebrate the Year of the Anacostia. In addition to being the 100th anniversary of Anacostia Park, 2018 also marks the 15-year anniversary of the visionary Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan, which helped set the foundation for the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront.