A recent stream restoration project in Tysons is supposed to help fix erosion but a few residents and environmental advocates in the area worry that it will be detrimental to local wildlife and foliage.
The Old Courthouse Spring Branch at Gosnell Road Stream Stream Restoration Project runs loosely along Route 7 and is currently under construction to restore roughly half a mile of the natural stream channel, replace old sewage lines and decommission an old stormwater pond, according to Fairfax County’s website.
In the months leading up to this project, several nearby residents and visitors to “Tysons Last Forest” have protested the project — not because they want to stop it, but because they want the wildlife and nature to be protected.
The area, which consists of more than 40 acres of open space, is home to birds, deer, owls, small mammals, foxes, hundred-year-old trees and even a bobcat or two, according to Fairfax County.
Local resident Jack Russell, who is a long-time visitor to the park, said he isn’t aware of either an ecological or environmental impact report for the project, which he said concerns him.
Tysons Reporter reached out to Shannon Bell and Charles Smith from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Department for comment but haven’t received a response yet.
Russell said he is already noticing the negative effects of the work done by crews, recounting how Fairfax County workers destroyed a fox’s den. “I watched the fox just walk around in shock,” he said.
Though the work on phase one began in November 2019, Russell and his wife retroactively organized a Facebook page and town hall in January to educate people on the project. The meeting attracted roughly 50 people from around the area, Russell said, noting that Fairfax County representatives attended the meeting, including a liaison from the office of the Hunter Mill District Supervisor.
During the January town hall, Russell was able to share his grievances with Bell and Smith.
“The people who are managing phase one and phase two of the Tysons Forest project couldn’t be nicer people and they’ve listened but they rolled in with bulldozers and backhoes and just clearcut 1,500 feet of old trees,” Russell said.
Fairfax County documentation already notes that ecosystems in the area are fragile. “The natural areas of the district are extremely fragmented, with significant portions of edge habitat and few large tracts remaining,” the report, which was published in 2011, said.
Ultimately, Russell said he and other local advocates have a few key demands.
Though they understand that stream restoration is important for the health of the area, he said they want to:
- minimize the loss of trees and habitat in the area
- delay work on the second phase until damage from the first phase is re-planted and healed
- create “animal-friendly zones” including native plant species and hollow logs for dens
- be a “shining” example nationally for how animal habitats can be enhanced
According to Fairfax County, the project will be completed in 2021.
Russell said he hopes the issue will receive more attention and that Fairfax County will reevaluate the environmental impact of its ongoing projects.
Photo courtesy Jack Russell
The Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott) When March arrives, the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be an officially declared emergency in Fairfax County. After honoring individuals…
Loyal Companion is closing all of its Fairfax County stores, including one at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Loyal Companion is letting out one final howl before…
The baseball diamond at Linway Terrace Park (via Fairfax County Park Authority) The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) wants Fairfax County to reconsider its embrace of synthetic turf for athletic fields,…
Walking on Strawberry Lane in the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Local Task Force Deployed to Turkey — “Members of Virginia Task Force 1 in Fairfax County are…
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.
The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.
Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.