The Wildest Part of Washington DC

We all have a stake in what happens to our rivers, but perhaps none more so than the wild neighbors who share our urban waters and green space. They go unnoticed most of the time. They’re not present in the meetings where decisions are made to cut down urban forests, or pave over vernal pools.

In the Anacostia watershed in Washington DC and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland, thousands of wild animal and plant species depend on the decisions we make. If we are going to choose wisely for them, and for us, we need to get to know our neighbors.

Meet more Anacostia neighbors in my photo gallery.

Anacostia Story

The Anacostia River was abused and neglected for more than a century, becoming one of the nation’s most polluted rivers, right in the heart of Washington DC. Today there is growing momentum for restoration of this watershed, but for a full recovery watershed residents must awake, and the Anacostia Story must be told. This slideshow represents a vision for a coffee table book about the Anacostia River, to be used to help elevate awareness and understanding of the watershed, and help more firmly establish the Anacostia’s central role in the quality of life of Washington DC residents.
Click on the first slide below to start the slideshow.

In the winter of 2008, the kit fox, bison, pronghorn and prairie dogs of the northern stretch of the Chihuahuan grasslands of North America survived on a drought-prone but relatively unbroken stretch of rare grasslands spanning the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. Only two years later, their habitat has been severed and movement northward ended for many species due to the dismissal of environmental law for construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The Borderlands Project has been documenting the changes to ecosystems and human communities during this period, and working to ensure that the impacts of this policy are better understood by policy makers and the general public.

 

 

The remoteness of the borderlands region from most U.S. citizens lives, coupled with a news media focus on illegal activity and drug violence, has left most people with a tragically incomplete picture of the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. These remote wildlands harbor a relatively unknown ecological gem that stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico across the belly of North America, providing safe haven for many wild species of plant and animal.

To learn more about the Borderlands Project, click here.

The Anacostia Project

The Anacostia was once a river teeming with fish, turtles and aquatic mammals that nurtured a rich biological community including native peoples descendent from the Algonquin tribe. But history descended upon the Anacostia when the Chesapeake Bay became one of the first centers of European colonization. First deforested and polluted by agricultural runoff, then forgotten and polluted further by urban runoff, the Anacostia diminished to one of the nations most denuded river ecosystems.

But change is afoot.

Anacostia 7-2014-7094 copy

A growing grassroots revival and renewed interest by municipal and county governments to restore this river has brought hope to the Anacostia and the many people and wild species that live along its shores. This river has the potential to be a natural gem supporting improved quality of life, economic improvement and habitat for plants and animals of the region. Surprisingly, there remain long stretches of the river, (which lies almost entirely within the Washington D.C. metropolitan area), that have not been developed.

The Anacostia Project aims to help local non-profits and governments build a campaign of community support around the river, to document current efforts to restore the river, and encourage local leaders to both recognize the great value of the river, and then make the Anacostia a priority.

Learn more about the Anacostia Project here.

Borderlands book wins National Outdoor Book Award

My book about the US-Mexico borderlands was honored with a National Outdoor Book Award for 2013. The book is available on my website, Amazon, and many bookstores nationwide.