Now celebrating its ten-year anniversary, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) brings together 15 federal agencies working collaboratively with local communities to restore urban waterways and surrounding lands, boost recreational opportunities, help local economies, and protect the health of Americans. The federal agencies currently support 20 locations across the nation with financial and technical assistance—the Anacostia River watershed is one of these 20 locations.
On April 5, Assistant Secretary Trujillo visited the Anacostia Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), participating in a boat tour of the Anacostia River and a brief ceremony that highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s environmental justice goals and showcased interagency efforts to remediate legacy contamination in and increase recreational boating access to the Anacostia River. Also announced were the hiring of a new Anacostia Urban Waters Ambassador and the launch of the Kingman Rangers Program.
The Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) has created and expanded several of these programs with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, providing gateways into the solar and green stormwater infrastructure fields. Through one of these programs, Kingman Rangers, DOEE has awarded a grant to Living Classrooms to train, employ, and provide wraparound services for 3 full-time, 4 adult seasonal, and 15 student seasonal Rangers. The Rangers will conduct environmental restoration, educate District students, serve as interpretive hosts, and maintain amenities at Kingman and Heritage Islands. This program will create pathways to stable employment and introduce District students, particularly students at Anacostia High School, to a range of environmental careers. The Kingman Rangers program is just one project DOEE is leading with Living Classrooms under its Anacostia High School Redesign partnership with DCPS and UDC to expand project-based learning, mentorship, and career opportunities around the environment and social justice.
Living Classrooms Foundation of the National Capital Region has been running job skills training programs for adults and youth on Kingman and Heritage Islands since 2019. Living Classrooms’ dedicated staff has tended to the needs of the conservation area and its visitors while developing applicable skills training, modeled after a Park Ranger style position, for youth who are residents of wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. Some projects include clearing trails, building boardwalks, installing ramps to increase safety on the bridges, installing benches and picnic tables for community recreation, and clearing invasive plant species to increase waterfront views along the shore and support the growth of critical and rare ecosystems on the Islands. With funding from this grant, Living Classrooms can expand the capacity of our Kingman Rangers program and ranger skills training simultaneously.