(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser and Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells commemorated the 51st Earth Day by launching the Anacostia Green Boat Program at Kingman + Heritage Islands. In this first-ever program in the District, throughout the summer, “citizen scientists” will be able to enjoy boat rides while also assisting with the collection of debris from the Anacostia River. This initiative helps support the Mayor’s goal of restoring the river as a natural resource that our city can enjoy now and for generations to come.
“Today, the future 51st state is proud to celebrate the 51st Earth Day,” said Mayor Bowser. “We have beautiful outdoor spaces across all eight wards, and I thank DOEE and our community partners for their commitment to making our waterways and parks more accessible to residents and visitors. In a year when many are looking to maximize their time outside, the Green Boat Program gives Washingtonians one more way to have fun while also helping to clean and restore the Anacostia River.”
The Anacostia Green Boats Program allows participants to get hands-on boating experience and become environmental stewards, as they collect marine debris from the Anacostia River using tools provided on the boats. After collecting the litter/debris, these “Green Boaters” will compile real-time data on trash amount, weight, and volume that will help inform policy and education initiatives focused on reducing litter that washes into our waterways.
“We are excited to bring new opportunities for residents to explore the Kingman + Heritage Islands and to also provide a hand in restoring our Anacostia River,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “The District is proud to be a national leader in sustainability, and this program further demonstrates our commitment to prioritize equitable access for all and it serves for the benefit of our community and the environment.”
The District has shown national leadership on several specific waste-related initiatives, including becoming one of the first cities to place a fee on disposable bags. In a recent survey, 67 percent of District residents reported a reduction in plastic bag litter since the fee took effect. Data from the Green Boats Program will also help support the need for District environmental efforts such as plastic bag fees.
In 2018, the Year of the Anacostia, Mayor Bowser announced significant conservation and investment commitments for Kingman + Heritage Islands. The Mayor directed 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 invested $4.7 million for educational and recreational improvements on the islands.
Living Classrooms serves as the manager of Kingman + Heritage Islands and is responsible for its restoration and stewardship, through a grant from DOEE. Since 2007, DOEE also works in partnership with Living Classrooms on events and educational programs involving workforce development, education and enrichment; robotic program: family and community programming; Dent House: and managing the Yards marina’s educational programming.
Residents can go to KingmanIsland.com to learn more about reserving a free canoe or kayak.