The Bio-Blitz project has a number of goals: scientific, conservation and management, education, public relations, and social. The Park hopes to identify new species, develop lists for new taxonomic groups, and upgrade existing lists of species occurrence to better reflect current park conditions. Using the expertise of the field naturalists, we hope to identify any special species or communities on the site. That way, once aware of their presence, we'll have a better chance of keeping their populations healthy. Such information will also be of benefit to the development of the D.C. Natural Heritage Program. Their staff will be working with the Blitzers to enter and catalog all species into the D.C. Heritage database.
A portrait of the Anacostia has developed through media reports and Washington talk, a river and watershed gone dead, devoid of life, species, and value. While certainly compromised by years of industrial and residential development within its boundaries, an abundance of plants and critters still live here. For example there are recent records for Pumpkin Ash, Marbled Salamanders, Warbling Vireos, Least Bitterns.......We expect there are many more undocumented species that occur here and hope June 1st brings others to the surface.
Habitats in the park are listed briefly below. We will send you maps and field data forms in the mail. Detailed maps will be available at Kenilworth on the day of the count. The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens consist of 44 small display ponds containing historic collections of water lilies and lotus. Kenilworth Park (app. 700 acres), includes the Aquatic Gardens and has fresh-water tidal wetlands, mud flats, bottomland forest, river channels, vernal pools, freshwater streams, meadows, a developed spring, a golf course, playing fields (turf areas), several small buildings, and a picnic area.
The official 24 hour count (Blitz) period will extend from May 31, Friday afternoon (5:00 p.m.) through 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. There is no rain date, the event will occur rain or shine, though a thoroughly rainy day could effectively cancel the event. Friday afternoon and evening are available for those groups who want to set up traps or do night work. NPS staff members will be around all night, but if you have nocturnal plans you should specifically contact the on site coordinator, Dan Roddy (202-690-5185), so that he can coordinate with the U.S. Park Police and others.
All participants must report to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Visitor Center to sign-in and be oriented to the park. Access to most of the park will be from this area. The Anacostia Watershed Society will be bringing a fleet of canoes. They will provide shuttle points back and forth across the river at 2 locations. Canoes, and even canoe paddlers, will be available to those of you who want to sample on the Anacostia River, Kenilworth Marsh, Kingman Lake, or some of the islands in the park.
Coffee, water, and restrooms will be available but you should plan to bring your own food. Fast food is available nearby, outside the park. A room with field guides, scopes, historical maps, and historical species accounts will be available for your use throughout the event.
At 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1st a preliminary tally and report will occur. At this point each person or group will present a first cut of the number of species they found, talk about the significance (or lack thereof) of their findings, and give their general natural history perspective of the region. Again, we emphasize that there are many reasons why a one day investigation is not completely sufficient to document the Park's biota, but your immediate impressions will provide us with important insights.
Before you leave the park we would like to make duplicates of all field sheets and notes. We will have computers available at the park for entering your results or you can work them up later and submit them (no later than July 1, 1996) to us via email or mail. If you are really pressed for time, we will be happy to enter the data for you.
For insurance and safety reasons we ask that every participant fill out a volunteer in parks (vip) agreement. These forms will be mailed to individuals that pre-register. Extra copies of the vip form will be available on the day of the Bio-Blitz. Collecting small numbers of specimens, strictly for identification purposes, will be permitted but must be approved by Dan Roddy prior to any collection within this National Park Service site. Because there will be a number of impressionable reporters and students around that day, we ask you to use a healthy dose of common sense and sensitivity in how you handle, display, and process the species you are working on. The removal or death of some individuals is often necessary for identification of tricky plants and invertebrates, but displaying a cavalier and insensitive attitude toward the life and comfort of even the most common species is something others could find disturbing.
As of May 1, we have had an excellent response to the announcement which was sent only to a small number of you. Word is getting spread about and we encourage you to recruit additional help. We are in particular need of naturalists who can identify species in the following areas: soil invertebrates, algae, bacteria, fungi, lilies and other ornamentals, aquatic and benthic things (other than fish and copepods), lichens, various specialized groups of insects (e.g., leafhoppers, katydids, bees...), and in general anyone with a specialty unlikely to be covered by the generalists.
So far the following groups and agencies are involved:
National Park Service
National Biological Service
Anacostia Watershed Society
New Columbia Audubon Society
Mail information to:
Dan Roddy National Capital Parks - East
900 Anacostia Drive, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20020
** Call Dan Roddy to pre-register and to advise him of any special needs you may have for the Blitz. He will send you vip form, data sheets, maps, directions, and answer any questions you may have about the park, etc.
** You must still sign in the day of the Blitz. When you first arrive in the park you will need to follow the signs to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens visitor center. This will be the location for the detailed maps, database lists, orientation packets.