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Anacostia Riverwalk volunteers (Photo via Anacostia Watershed Society)

An organization that restores historic buildings and natural habitats on Capitol Hill praised the District Department of Energy and Environment’s updated Wildlife Action Plan, but urged the agency to take a tougher stance on habitat conservation.

In July, the DOEE released an updated version of its 2005 Wildlife Action Plan, which the District is required to update every 10 years. The update sets goals for wildlife and habitat conservation in the District and will serve as guidelines for other D.C. agencies to follow in the next 10 years. The department is accepting public comments on the plan until Monday.

“The plan correctly identifies the important goal of expanding wildlife corridors,” Capitol Hill Restoration Society said yesterday in its public comments on the plan. “A corollary goal is to preserve existing wildlife corridors intact.”

The group called on the DOEE to focus more on wildlife corridors, or areas that connect habitats to each other allowing animal population to meet. The CHRS requested that the plan find a way to restrict development in wildlife corridors and asked that the department specifically request that no more roads be built through wildlife corridors.

The CHRS singled out the District Department of Transportation as a threat to wildlife corridors, saying that the department has repeatedly tried to build a road along the Anacostia River that would cut through an important wildlife habitat.

“We urge the DOEE to encourage all D.C. government agencies to work together with DOEE to further the goals of the” plan, the group said.

Photo via Anacostia Watershed Society

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U.S. Capitol Dome Restoration (Photo via Flickr/Architect of the Capitol)The architect of the Capitol next week is slated to give locals a peek under the covers shrouding the building’s dome.

Stephen Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, will speak about the restoration work on the dome during the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s annual membership meeting Monday. The discussion starts at 7 p.m. at the National Community Church (535 8th St. SE).

The free event is open to the public.

Finished in 1866, the dome hasn’t had a complete restoration for more than 50 years. The restoration of the dome’s exterior is scheduled to end by the end of this year. Restoration work on the dome’s interior is expected to wrap up by fall 2016.

Photo via Flickr/Architect of the Capitol

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An Afghan sleigh, a hidden stairway and private gardens will get a public showing this weekend.

The annual “Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour” is back Saturday and Sunday with stops at St. Monica and St. James Episcopal Church (222 8th St. NE), East Side Yoga (518 10th St. NE) and eight houses in the neighborhood. The focus of the tour this time is Near Northeast.

Patrick Crowley, treasurer of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, which organizes the tour, said the homes are a “broad spectrum of styles from very traditional to avant-garde.” Houses featured are new to the tour or haven’t been shown in at least a decade, he added.

“I’ve been struck by the number of winding staircases this year — some are spirals, some hidden, some switchbacks,” Crowley said. “And of course, libraries — wouldn’t be Capitol Hill without them.”

The hidden stairway can be found at the St. Monica and St. James rectory. As for the Afghan sleigh, it’s at 414 D St. NE. Crowley described the sleigh as “a backpack of sorts with poison darts and a blow tube.”

The other houses on the tour include:

  • 19 2nd St. NE.
  • 315 Constitution Ave. NE.
  • 11 4th St. NE.
  • 811 A St. NE.
  • 415 6th St. NE.
  • 600 E St. NE.
  • 630 E St. NE.

An advance ticket costs $35 and can be purchased online or at various Capitol Hill businesses. Otherwise, a ticket is $40 this weekend. The tickets are good for Saturday and Sunday.

The tour will run from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Crowley

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Capitol Hill Historic District signThe Capitol Hill Restoration Society is gearing up for a big November as the group explores the expansion of the Capitol Hill Historic District.

If the boundaries of the district were changed, residents and developers would need approval from the D.C. Historic Preservation Office for new construction and many alterations to buildings. Property values have risen every time a neighborhood has earned the historic designation, according to the preservation office.

The current district is roughly bound by F Street NE to the north, 13th Street NE and SE to the east, the Southeast Freeway to the south and 2nd Street NE and SE to the west. The expansion would add additional blocks to the north as far as H Street NE and to the east as far as 19th Street SE.

CHRS will hold public meetings next month for residents in the proposed expansion areas.

ANC 6A area: Nov. 5 at 6:45 p.m. at Maury Elementary School, 13th Street and Constitution Avenue NE

ANC 6B area: Nov. 17 at 6:45 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

ANC 6C area: Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., Northeast Library, 330 7th St. NE

Rosedale community: Possible meeting to be scheduled

CHRS has also released a question-and-answer sheet from the Historic Preservation Office that aims to address neighborhood concerns about landmarked districts.

Advocates for expanding the district say the new area includes historically significant buildings from before and after the Civil War. The architectural history firm EHC Traceries will complete a study of the area, Hill Rag reported. That study is set to be released next month.

The mayor appoints members to the Historic Preservation Review Board, which oversees the historic districts. The election next week may affect the potential expansion of the historic zone. The DC Preservation League released a candidates’ questionnaire on preservation.

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