Tysons, VA

The Dead Run stream restoration completed in-part last year is continuing with improvements planned for the stretch of waterway between Georgetown Pike and Churchill Road in McLean.

Last year’s project revitalized the dream in McLean Central Park, combatting erosion and re-greening portions of the stream to be better suited to local wildlife.

The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Stormwater Planning Division has scheduled a virtual meeting to discuss the project on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m.

The Fairfax County government website said the upcoming expansion of that restoration will tackle the part of the stream north of the earlier improvements and include re-greening along one of the main tributaries.

“The project is a continuation of the stream restoration that was completed through McLean Central Park,” the Stormwater Planning Division said on its website. “It will begin at Churchill Road and extend to Georgetown Pike. The tributary behind the Saint Luke Serbian Orthodox Church is included in this scope of work.”

Stormwater Planning Division said part of the project’s goals is added protection to nearby properties at risk from the negative effects of erosion.

“Property will be protected by providing a stable stream bed, banks and alignment, which will reduce the rate of stream bank erosion and channel migration; trees at risk of falling will be removed or protected where possible; native vegetation will be installed to hold soil in place and provide habitat,” the Stormwater Planning Division said. “Health and safety will be protected via improved water quality, protection of public utilities, such as sanitary sewer lines, within the floodplain and stabilization of stream banks.”

The project design is expected to be completed by July 2021.

Image via Fairfax County

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Vienna officials want to fix the erosion along a stream of Bear Branch Tributary.

The Vienna Town Council is set to vote on awarding the design contract for the stream restoration project, which will improve roughly 1,900 linear feet of the stream and its banks from Cottage Street SW downstream to I-66, according to town documents.

In total, the project costs approximately $2 million. In September, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved giving roughly $1 million to the town for the project.

“Town DPW staff will lead and manage the project, and Fairfax County staff has pledged support with plans and review if requested,” according to town documents.

Earlier this year, town staff reviewed nine design proposals and narrowed their selection to the one from Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. The town is set to vote on awarding the contract to the firm tonight.

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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

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Fairfax County will provide an extra $160,000 to help the Town of Vienna kick off a stream restoration project.

The county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve the additional funding at their meeting on Tuesday.

The extra funds will go toward the design and construction of the Northside Park Piney Branch Stream Restoration Project.

Located in the Town of Vienna and the Difficult Run Watershed, the project will restore roughly 1,400 linear feet of the stream on Piney Branch by improving the water quality and providing more nutrients, according to county documents.

“The town will administer the design and construction of the Project. Partnering with the Town on this project will save the county the time and administrative costs that would be incurred if the county were to implement the project under its stormwater program,” according to the county.

Back in 2017, the county board gave $660,000 to the town to partially fund the project. After the town received six bids in December, “the total project estimate has increased by $333,006 due to higher than originally estimated construction bids,” according to the county.

The vote on Tuesday means the county will provide an additional $168,006 to the project, which now has a total estimated cost of $1.6 million.

The project is also being supported by an $825,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, according to county documents.

“The town will reimburse the county funds that are not expended in accordance with the terms of the attached agreement,” according to the county.

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors wants to team up with the developers behind a Tysons East development on a stream restoration project in Scotts Run.

The partnership between the county and Cityline Partner would let the developer fund part of the project, satisfying its proffered conditions for its Scotts Run project, which would bring a hotel, apartments, office buildings and retail space right next to the McLean Metro station.

When the county approved Cityline’s rezoning application in 2013, the developer agreed to design and construct a stream restoration project in the Scotts Run Stream Valley Park, which is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, according to county documents.

More from county documents on the proposed agreement:

As part of the Stormwater Capital Improvement Program, the county has finalized designs and is ready to construct a stream restoration project in a section of the Scotts Run that is contiguous with the Cityline Plan (County Project). The county and Cityline want to implement the Cityline Plan and the County Project concurrently…

Under the proposed agreement, the County will solicit bids for the construction of the combined Cityline Plan and the County Project, and, based on the bid, Cityline will choose whether to fund its proportional share of construction costs or construct the Cityline Plan independent of the County Project.

The county says that combining the stream restoration projects will help the work will get done faster and lower construction costs.

“Additionally, stormwater improvement and stream restoration projects for Tysons are included in the adopted Scotts Run Watershed Management Plan and are part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Improvement Program,” the county documents added.

The board is set to vote on the proposed project agreement tomorrow (Tuesday).

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Restoration recently finished on a stream in McLean as part of Fairfax County’s larger efforts to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Restoration started at Bull Neck Run, a stream just north of Tysons, in 2018 and included improving the ecological function of the stream and extracting nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil.

Before the project, the banks of the stream were eroding and the stream bed was identified as instable.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust celebrated the project’s completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday (Oct. 21).

“Projects like this will help ensure the health of our watersheds for generations to come and I look forward to continue working with the community on these improvements,” Foust said in a press release.

The project cost $1.6 million and was funded through the county’s stormwater service district.

Lewinsville Coalition, a local advocacy group, provided input during the project’s design and construction, along with pushing for trails to stay open while work was underway, according to a press release from Foust.

“The work involved restoration of approximately 2,000 linear feet of Bull Neck Run and several tributaries and will remove 800 pounds of nitrogen and 71,000 pounds of suspended solids per
year,” according to the press release.

Work to restore the native trees along with other landscaping is expected to wrap up next month.

The project is the latest stormwater project completed.

Upcoming projects include the restoration of Dead Run toward Georgetown Pike and work on Tucker Avenue in Falls Church.

Photo courtesy John Foust 

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The Town of Vienna has now received the funding it needs for a $2 million stream restoration project.

The Board of Supervisors approved giving a little more than $1 million for the project to the town at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

“The project will restore approximately 1,900 linear feet of [the] stream on Bear Branch Tributary, providing nutrient reduction and improved water quality in the Accotink Creek watershed,” according to county documents.

Earlier this year, the Town of Vienna received a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality that will cover roughly half of the design and construction costs.

About half of the Bear Branch Tributary, which is apart of the Accotink Creek watershed, is located in the Town of Vienna.

The Accotink Creek Watershed Management Plan rates the Bear Branch Tributary’s condition as “very poor” and calls for a series of restoration projects, starting with retrofitting the stream channel on the upstream side of I-66 at Southside Park.

“The channel is over-widened with moderate to severe erosion along the stream banks,” according to the plan. “Restoration would include reducing the channel dimensions, raising the bed elevation and installing grade controls.”

After work is done on that portion, the plan calls for work on the stream from Hunter Road to Route 50 to stabilize the stormwater outfall structures and regrading eroded stream banks.

“Partnering with the town on this project will save the county the time and administrative costs that would be incurred if the county were to implement the project under its stormwater program,” according to county documents.

Image via Google Maps

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