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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wakefield Run restoration project in Annandale is collaborative effort



A symbolic groundbreaking ceremony was hundreds of feet from Wakefield Run and several weeks before the start of construction.
The increasing urbanization of the Annandale area is putting lots pressures on waterways. All the impervious surfaces created by development is causing stormwater to rush into streams causing erosion, but at least one degraded stream is being fixed: A stretch of Wakefield Run will be restored  to make the Accotink tributary more stable and more natural, thus improving water flow and quality. 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at Wakefield Park by the Cross County Trail July 24, although the actual Wakefield Run restoration project isn’t expected to start for another month.

Significant erosion along the banks of Wakefield Run.

The ceremony included  representatives of the government departments, agencies, and organizations involved in the project: the Fairfax County Park Authority, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD), Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Dominion Virginia Power, Friends of Accotink Creek (FAC), the Transurban Group, the Fairfax County Parks Foundation, VDOT, Fairfax Trails and Streams, Earth Sangha, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, and the office of Braddock Supervisor John Cook.

The project wouldn’t have happened without this partnership, Cook said. He praised the involvement of FAC as a “great example of citizen engagement.” FAC periodically organizes stream cleanup events and rescued hundreds of native species in advance of the restoration project.

NVSWCD Executive Director Laura Grape described the project: The redesigned and partially relocated stream will meander through a more natural setting. Plunge pools will slow down storm runoff. The removal of some of the riffraff will reduce debris collection at stream crossings and divert the flow away from  erodible banks. And the bridge on the Cross County Trail (in the photo below) will be reconstructed.

Urban conservation engineer Asad Rouhi of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District explains how the stream will be modified.
The water level was very low yesterday because the stream is so unstable, said Grape. The storm flow is “flashy,” which means there’s lots of water after it rains but it flushes out quickly. After the restoration project, the flow will be more natural.

The Public Works Department provided the bulk of the funding—$300,000 for the $440,000 project. The Park Authority contributed $75,000 in seed money from Transurban for the taking of land in Wakefield Park to construct the beltway express lanes. Dominion contributed $35,000.

While improving Wakefield Run is a good start, FAC would like to improve the health of the entire Accotink watershed, said Suzy Foster, the group’s secondary conservator.

But there are many challenges: “multiple landowners and stakeholders, laws of land use that need to be rewritten and enforced, and huge costs to repair the damage that has been done,” Foster  said. “At the very heart of the issue—we we must change the perception of our waterways from leftover backyards to the natural resources that they are.”

The Wakefield Run stream restoration costs about $500 a linear foot; fixing all the impaired streams in Wakefield Park alone would cost millions of dollars. Foster called for property owners and developers to take action to control storm runoff now—and not wait until stricter laws are adopted.

6 comments:

  1. Holy crap what a waste of my tax money! Its a creek for Petes sake and the water all flows downhill some way into the Potomac! It would take 10 million years to erode all this soil. That's why Dominion only contributed $35,000 and we sucked up the rest.

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    1. Yeah! Who needs clean water anyway? We could save a buck and let all of our streams become silted in stagnant cesspools. And another thing, how much money is the County wasting to give us clean air? I have to go chase some kids off my lawn...

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  2. I love stagnant water full of breeding mosquitos with West Nile! Hell yah here we come Africa!

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  3. If you would take responsibility on-site for your own storm water run off - at your own house or apartment complex - with rain barrels, permeable paving, rain gardens, lobbying your apartment management - making smart conservation decisions - you would pay a fraction of the cost of stream restoration, drinking water cleaning, lost Bay productivity, lost recreation revenue, reduced quality of life, disease control. Upstream or downstream, you pay for water. Liz Kirchner, Friends of Accotink Creek, Annandale Virgnia

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  4. We "suck up the rest" because we cause this problem. We drink water. It's a problem. Wakefield Run is a tiny tributary. It drains a tiny bit of heavily paved Annandale, but the rain water that blasts through it and thousands of tributaries just like it carry thousands of tons of silt to the Potomac and the Bay. It costs so much to clean up after we cause a problem - like restoring streams, resuscitating oyster, crab, and fish populations, planting trees, and aquatic vegetation - now, people are making smarter decisions about land use planning to slow storm water, permeable paving, green roofs, rain barrels, trees in parking lots, walk when they don't need to drive - taking responsibility for their water quality impact, at their own houses and apartments. Upstream or downstream - you pay for your water. Liz Kirchner, Friends of Accotink Creek, Annandale, Virginia

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  5. Good article, by the way, Annandale Blog. Great photos: big erosion problem, lots of people trying to solve the problem - you list nine groups working together all recognizing that, as Suzy Foster says in the last para, “At the very heart of the issue—we we must change the perception of our waterways from leftover backyards to the natural resources that they are.” Liz Kirchner, Friends of Accotink Creek

    The Wakefield Run stream restoration costs about $500 a linear foot; fixing all the impaired streams in Wakefield Park alone would cost millions of dollars. Foster called for property owners and developers to take action to control storm runoff now—and not wait until stricter laws are adopted.

    ReplyDelete