(Washington, DC) Construction of a 20-mile multi-use trail along the Anacostia River has gotten an unexpected stop-work order from Mother Nature. A family of Osprey—a large fish-eating bird of prey—has built a nest atop a construction crane that was being used on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, a collaborative project of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the National Park Service (NPS).
“This might be a first for us, not the type of complication you expect on a construction project, but we’ll roll with it,” said Terry Bellamy, DDOT’s Interim Director. “It highlights how transportation can bring people closer to nature—not just get them from point A to point B—and shows the potential of the Anacostia watershed as a rich natural resource.”
Crews were using the construction crane to build piers for a bridge to carry the Riverwalk Trail over railroad tracks on the east bank of the Anacostia River. The work zone is in the National Park Service’s Anacostia Park.
“It’s been great how DDOT, the contractors, and the Fisheries and Wildlife Division of the District’s Department of the Environment (DDOE), and the NPS have come together to allow these birds to safely nest. We particularly appreciate Dan Rauch of DDOE working with our Park Rangers to delineate a “safe zone” around the crane” said Alex Romero, the NPS Superintendent responsible for the site.
Rauch, a Wildlife Biologist at DDOE, says it appears the female Osprey is incubating eggs in the nest, which is anticipated to take approximately 35 days. It will take another 45 days after hatching for the young ospreys to learn how to fly.
In order to not disturb the birds during the nesting period, NPS and DDOT have agreed to suspend work near the nest and the crane will be left in place until the Ospreys have abandoned the nest and moved on. Ospreys are migratory birds and fly south for the winter months. The contractor will instead focus on other parts of the trail on the west side of the River, a safe distance from the nest. Photos of the Ospreys and their nest are now posted online at www.flickr.com/photos/ddotphotos .
The Riverwalk Trail is a key component of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI), a $10 billion 30-year effort to revitalize the Anacostia River. When completed, the trail will connect sixteen waterfront neighborhoods to Anacostia Park and the river. It will serve as a recreational amenity and transportation alternative for District residents and workers and allow them to bike and walk to many popular destinations, including the Fish Wharf, Nationals Park, Poplar Point, the Navy Yard, historic Anacostia, RFK stadium, Kingman Island, the historic Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the National Arboretum. At either end, the trail will connect to the National Mall at the Tidal Basin and to the Bladensburg Marina Park in Prince George’s County, MD. For more information about the Riverwalk Trail visit ddot.dc.gov/awi.
More information about Anacostia Park is also available online at www.nps.gov/anac .