WASHINGTON -- Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes joined D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and other officials in commending the release of a report calling for the restoration of the Anacostia River by DC Appleseed, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the Washington area a better place to live and work.
The report, A New Day for the Anacostia: A Model for Urban River Revitalization, proposes a strategy for the federal government, in partnership with local governments, to clean up one of the nation's most polluted rivers and make it a centerpiece for recreation and economic development in neighborhoods within its watershed.
“While we have made great strides in cleaning up the Potomac and other rivers in recent decades, the Anacostia has been largely left behind,” Hayes said. “Under this administration, we are making the restoration of the river and the revitalization of communities along its banks a high priority. This report will be a valuable resource as we move forward with on-the-ground efforts to restore the Anacostia to health.”
The restoration of the Anacostia is an important component of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to work with communities across America to establish a conservation ethic for the 21st Century and to reconnect Americans to the natural world.
Last year, federal, state, and local governments joined together to unveil the Anacostia Restoration Plan, the result of a two year planning effort led by the Army Corps of Engineers. With 3,000 projects identified, the plan is the first comprehensive watershed-wide restoration plan for an urban river in the country.
As a member of the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, the department is focusing on the next series of restoration, youth engagement, and public access projects identified in the Anacostia Restoration Plan.
The department has one of the largest federal footprints in the Anacostia watershed, with the National Park Service alone overseeing nearly 4,000 acres of parkland within the Anacostia Watershed and roughly 2,200 acres of that parkland is within the DC part of the watershed.
The Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey all are playing key roles in scientifically based restoration efforts.
The administration is committed not only to restoring the natural health of the river but also to encouraging local residents to enjoy outdoor recreation.
For example, the National Park Service, the District Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation are developing the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. A continuous 16-mile trail on both sides of the Anacostia River, the Riverwalk Trail will be a recreational space and transportation alternative for residents of the District of Columbia.