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Vienna Town Council approves agreement to use county funds for Bear Branch stream restoration

The Bear Branch stream restoration will address approximately 1,900 linear feet of eroded banks (via Town of Vienna)

The Vienna Town Council unanimously approved moving forward with the second phase of a project to restore Bear Branch stream on Monday (Dec. 6).

Originating north of Cottage Street and cutting through Southside Park, the stream has experienced “major erosion and stream bank failure,” according to project documents.

This portion of the project aims to restore approximately 1,900 linear feet of stream banks from Cottage Street SW down to I-66, running parallel to Patrick Street SW and George C. Yeonas Park.

The project will use natural channel design techniques to reduce sedimentation and improve the stream’s water quality while stabilizing the eroded banks.

The town council voted on Monday to approve an agreement to committing Fairfax County to providing half the funding for the project, which carries an estimated cost of $2.52 million cost.

The other half of the funding will be covered by a stormwater assistance grant that Vienna applied for from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in November 2019.

The grant, which has now been awarded, comes from the state’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF), which gives matching grants to local governments for stormwater management efforts that address cost efficiency while committing to reducing water quality pollutants.

“As we have with all of our stream restorations, we are partnering with Fairfax County through their storm water funds,” Vienna Director of Public Works Mike Gallagher said during Monday’s meeting. “And they are funding 50% to match the DEQ 50% to make a full project.”

Funding for the first phase of the project was approved by the Vienna Town Council in August 2019 and by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in September 2019.

After receiving nine proposals and reviewing three finalists, Vienna awarded a design contract of up to $427,003 to Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions on July 6, 2020.

A survey of the site subsequently began in July 2020, and a citizen meeting was held on Dec. 15 to present and discuss concept plan design.

Following the Vienna Town Council’s vote on Monday, the county still needs to approve the new funding agreement before the project design is finalized and built.

“We’re probably talking at least 18 months from now to have something installed, implemented, between design and starting construction,” Gallagher said.

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