Wolftrap Creek Stream Restoration Project


wolftrap creek before, shortly after contruction and established streamside vegetationWolftrap Creek is a major tributary within the Difficult Run watershed. The land around Wolftrap Creek began to change from forest and agricultural use to residential in the 1960s and 1970s. Development increased to a point where the Wolftrap Creek watershed is approximately 40 percent impervious. Stormwater that would have once soaked into the ground now drains directly to Wolftrap Creek through the stormwater drainage system. The additional volume and velocity of stormwater runoff has increased the erosion of the stream channel and reduced the water quality.  

The 2,541-foot-long Wolftrap Creek stream restoration project design was developed and approved through coordination with Fairfax County, the Town of Vienna and the community. The Wolftrap Creek watershed map shows the drainage area and location of the stream restoration project within its watershed. The project was funded through the Fairfax County Stormwater Management Program. The goals of the project were to:

  • Restore the ecological function of the stream corridor;
  • Improve water quality through the reduction of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Total Suspended Solids;
  • Provide a safe and sustainable stream valley for the community;
  • Protect property and public utility infrastructure; and
  • Create in-stream and riparian habitat for wildlife.

The images to the right show the stream prior to restoration, shortly after restoration and a rendering of how the streamside vegetation will look in about one year. The project restored the form and function of the stream using a variety of restoration techniques. These include:

  • Raised the streambed to connect the stream to its floodplain;
  • Constructed in-stream structures to divert water away from banks to reduce in-stream erosion;
  • Installed a reinforced bed to reduce streambed erosion; and
  • Planted native vegetation to stabilize the stream and provide food and habitat for wildlife.

On Oct. 19, 2013, Jane Seeman, mayor of the Town of Vienna, and Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, opened the completed stream restoration project to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony. A presentation of the project is available on Slideshare, and a video of the ribbon cutting is available from Channel 16.

Vienna Parks and Recreation Department organized a Family Fishing Rodeo at Wolftrap Creek in the town’s Wildwood Park on March 29, 2014. The creek was once a popular fishing hole, but with urbanization the creek deteriorated and water quality declined. The partnership between Fairfax County and the Town of Vienna restored the creek and it is stocked with trout.

For additional information, please email the Stormwater Planning Division or call 703-324-5500, TTY 711.


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