Reforesting 1-495 and Trapping the Emerald Ash Borer

Public Private Partnership Will Help Reforest 1-495

   The clearing of trees and vegetation to make way for the HOT Lanes on I-495 has resulted in the loss of almost 200 acres of vegetation, wildlife habitat and the removal of many native plants along the right-of-way. 

   Over the last six months, a public private partnership, the Fairfax County Restoration Project, has been formed to proactively work with VDOT and Fluor to restore much of that land. Preliminary plans include planting of trees, preserving resource protection areas, soil and habitat restoration and community gardening.

   The Fairfax County Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) is bringing together an array of partners to assist in this effort. They include the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Lands and Waters, Friends of Accotink Creek, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council, the Virginia Department of Forestry, representatives from several members of the General Assembly and Fairfax Supervisors with citizens who border the project. The chair of this group is Amy Gould, a local realtor.

   The goal of the group is to foster relationships between the state, county, business and non profit community for the purpose of finding ways to work together to improve the County’s environment and quality of life.

   Supervisor Cook and his staff will be working with citizen and homeowner groups on this endeavor. For more information about FCRP and how you can get involved, contact Karen Fuentes at OP3 at 703-324-5176 or Supervisor Cook's office at 703-425-9300.

Trapping the Emerald Ash Borer

   A number of citizens have asked about the prism shaped purple bags hanging from trees along many roadsides.

   To put speculation to rest, it can be reported that the large purple traps are set to attract emerald ash borers, a beetle native to Asia which made its way into Michigan during 2002. A year later the invasive insects were inadvertently brought to Fairfax County on nursery stock used in the Vienna area. 

   The insect is so named because of its color during the hard-shell adult life stage. In its larval stage the borer lives under the bark and “disrupts the nutrient flow” of the ash tree, killing it.

   Officials ask the public to report traps that have fallen to the ground, and they advise not to touch them since they are covered with extremely sticky glue. Because many ash trees are on private property, officials are looking for homeowners who will allow traps to be hung in their trees. Call the Fairfax County Forest Pest Branch at 703-324-5304, to report fallen traps or to permit traps to be put on private property.

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