Anacostia Park Environmental Assessment Comments

March 18, 2017

Tammy Stidham
Chief of Planning, Compliance and Geographic Information Systems
National Park Service National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20242

Re: Comments on the Anacostia Park Management Plan Environmental Assessment

Dear Ms. Stidham,

Casey Trees is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, with a mission “to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.” To fulfill this mission, we plant trees; monitor the city’s tree canopy; and work with local decision-makers, developers, and residents to prioritize the District’s trees. We are committed to helping the District achieve its 40 percent tree canopy goal by 2032. Therefore, we appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on the Anacostia Park Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA).

Our city’s parks provide a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife. Green spaces provide a sense of place and offer essential life-enhancing qualities that aid community and individual well-being. In their role as green infrastructure, parks and open space are a community necessity.

The preservation and restoration of Anacostia Park will not only help the District achieve its environmental goals, but will also provide residents in the surrounding 15 neighborhoods with a prized community amenity. We applaud the National Park Service (NPS) for identifying potential impacts of park improvements in the EA, and making a commitment to protecting existing habitat and natural resources.

Thirty percent (340 acres) of Anacostia Park is currently covered by tree canopy. Three-quarters of this tree canopy is located within the proposed Alternative 4 natural resource zone (NRZ). Alternative 4 offers the largest NRZ at 620 acres, and as such, preserves the most natural space and tree canopy of the three alternatives (Figures 1-4).

To meet the NPS’s objective to “provide resource protection and restoration,” achieve the community’s requests to preserve green space, and set a national precedent for an ecologically resilient urban park, we urge the National Park Service to consider the following:

1. Adopt Alternative 4 along with the recommendations below. Taking these actions will preserve the trees that grow in Anacostia Park today and will also lay the foundation for protecting these important natural areas in the future.

2. Protect existing trees. Since 2004, Casey Trees has planted nearly 300 trees in Anacostia Park. Protect these, and all trees, currently growing in Anacostia Park. Replace any trees removed at a ratio of 3:1.

3. Set a goal to cover 35% of Anacostia Park with tree canopy by 2032. By planting trees in the remaining green space of the Alternative 4 NRZ, NPS can increase Anacostia Park’s tree canopy to at least 35%, achieving a net gain in tree canopy. Casey Trees would be happy to partner with NPS to plant trees and achieve this goal.

4. Plant a diverse tree palate in buffer zones. Alternative 4 includes green space along the banks of the Anacostia River. Foresting these zones with a diverse palate of urban-hearty, water loving trees will provide ecosystem services to protect neighborhoods from flooding, reduce pollution and soil erosion, and increase resiliency.

Adopting these recommendations will contribute to a revitalized waterfront, a more robust habitat for wildlife, and forested park space for District residents of all ages to explore. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at ktaddei@caseytrees.org or 202-349-1892.

Sincerely,
Kristin D. Taddei
Planning Advocate

Supported by:
Anne Lewis, President
City Wildlife, Inc.

Stella Tarnay, Co-founder
Biophilic DC

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