Stream Protection Strategy Overview
What is Stream Protection Strategy?
In 1998 Fairfax County initiated a countywide Stream Protection Strategy Program which entailed the sampling of all the major streams and tributaries throughout the county to assess stream water quality. The focus of this assessment was biological indicators of the ecological health of streams which included aquatic insects (benthic macroinvertebrates) and fish, fecal coliform, some chemical parameters, and habitat assessment of several physical characteristics. The main purpose of the Stream Protection Strategy Program is to better understand the degree of stream degradation, to formulate measures to effectively reverse negative trends, identify and prioritize areas with the greatest needs, and recommend targeted stream preservation and restoration.
The initial phase of sampling has been completed and was the basis for a comprehensive baseline report on county streams completed in December 2000. Over 125 sites/stations were sampled, including 11 reference sites in Prince William County and 114 sites countywide (see map below). This study presented a ranking (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor and Very Poor) of streams based on water quality and recommended management categories/strategies to restore and preserve areas. The results of the study will be used to prioritize areas for more detailed watershed management/master plans, for allocation of limited resources, and to establish the framework for long-term stream water quality assessment. This baseline assessment will also be used to support and help redefine the county's water quality goals for the future.