Birds, Wetlands and... Conservation

Birds, Wetlands and... Conservation (HM2MAO)

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N 38° 54.717', W 76° 56.902'

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

Anacostia River tidal marshes were far more extensive a hundred years ago than today. Marshes support amphibians, small fish and insects. This abundant aquatic life attracts herons, egrets, rails and other birds to feed. Over-hunting and draining of the wetland caused the decline of many bird species along the river.

People dedicated to changing this trend included Paul Bartsch, a local bird watcher, conservationist and professor at George Washington University. The Smithsonian Institution published his study, Herons of the Anacostia, in 1903.

Angry about losing so many birds to hunting, he and the National Audubon Society successfully lobbied Congress to pass some of the first nationwide laws protecting birds.

The National Park Service, local governments and non-profit organizations continue restoring wetlands along the Anacostia River. As a result, many herons and egrets have returned.

Effects are felt far beyond the Anacostia watershed as migratory birds use these wetlands as a stopover on their journeys.


Former Hunting Grounds

During the late summers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, sportsmen regularly spent afternoons bird shooting in the marsh. Often, they would hire local African American guides,

who operated skiffs and new the river well, to take them hunting in the wetlands.

An eyewitness described the scene on August 22, 1900:

"The marsh was alive with crafts of all kinds plying through the tangle of maze and lily pads and host of other marsh-loving plants and bang, bang, bang, rang the guns continuously."
Placed ByNational Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 27th, 2019 at 11:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 331071 N 4308810
Decimal Degrees38.91195000, -76.94836667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 54.717', W 76° 56.902'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 54' 43.02" N, 76° 56' 54.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
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