D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser invests $4.7 million in Kingman & Heritage Islands

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser invests $4.7 million in Kingman & Heritage Islands (ABC7)

On Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a conservation status for Kingman and Heritage Islands, located in the Anacostia River just north of RFK Stadium.

The islands were man-made about 100 years ago, using mud dredged from the Anacostia River. Tucked away behind a tree line, in the shadow of RFK, they offer a quiet escape for hikers, nature lovers and D.C. school children in the middle of our urban capital.

Appearing at a new conference on the island, Bowser announced a $4.7 million investment, creating bathroom facilities, outdoor classrooms and improvements to make the islands more accessible. She also designated the islands a State Conservation Area and the southern end of Kingman Island a Critical Wildlife Area.

D.C. Department of Energy & Environment Director Tommy Wells said this means visitors will be discouraged from exploring beyond a planned elevated walkway, preserving the habitat and vegetation below.

“This is really putting a marker down and saying we're going to preserve this as a natural wildlife habitat,” Wells said.

For several decades, developers talked about paving and developing this land, building parking lots, an airstrip and maybe most controversial an amusement park. But time after time, neighbors and environmentalists fought back.

River Terrace Community Organization President Malissa Freese said, “We've got a lot of beautiful green space. And the neighbors really appreciate it.”

Wildlife experts said the islands are home to more than 100 species of birds, small mammals and other wildlife.

“Now, after an absence of 50 years of eagles nesting in D.C., we're on our fourth generation,” Well said. “And the ones at the Aboretum, they feed solely off the Anacostia River.”

The Bowser administration and supporters call this a legacy project, protecting wildlife and protecting the area for generations to come.

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