The newly formed Anacostia Waterfront Trust hosted its first Stormwater Luncheon on Wednesday, July 1st 2015 in the Federal City Council Boardroom. Nearly 40 business and civic leaders were in attendance, including the District Department of Environment Director Tommy Wells and senior EPA officials. The new Anacostia Waterfront Trust has been created to restore a clean and healthy Anacostia, improve adjacent public lands, and help strengthen communities near the river.
Federal City Council CEO and Anacostia Waterfront Trust’s Board chair Tony Williams offered opening remarks. Citing the Brookings Institution’s 1999 “Region Divided” report, Mayor Williams identified the Anacostia as the dividing line of race, income, and opportunity in the District. Williams noted that the Anacostia is still one of the dirtiest rivers in the nation.
Doug Siglin, director of the Anacostia Waterfront Trust, explained that managing stormwater runoff is perhaps the most challenging part of cleaning up the Anacostia, and discussed the Trust’s RainPay program to help address this problem in the District. The program offers developers the option to meet stormwater requirements by supporting stormwater management infrastructure in areas of the District where it has the most ecological and social value.
Chris Earley from the engineering firm Greening Urban discussed how property owners and developers are already collaborating with designers, architects, and environmental experts to implement innovative stormwater retention facilities. He identified The Green at Parkside as a prime example.
These efforts are part of a broader trend. Alan Novak, co-founder of CityInterests and active Federal City Council trustee, commented that the externalities of life are no longer handled solely by the government and declared that cooperative endeavors between the public and private sectors are crucial to addressing environmental and social concerns. The Anacostia Waterfront Trust and Federal City Council are ideally suited to play this role, bringing together top business, civic, and professional leaders to develop coordinated solutions.
However, the District cannot achieve a restored Anacostia alone. Only about one-sixth of the Anacostia watershed is actually located in the District, with the remainder in Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Siglin noted that we must first prove the concept in the District to help persuade other localities to implement similar efforts. Encouragingly, officials in these localities have expressed support for the project.
For more information about the Anacostia Waterfront Trust and the RainPay program, please contact Doug Siglin via phone 202.223.4521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.