Fairfax County Sponsors Community Watershed Forum for Popes Head Creek

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

March 11, 2004


Fairfax County Sponsors Community Watershed Forum for Popes Head Creek

On Saturday, March 27, Fairfax County will sponsor a free Community Watershed Forum to provide education on watershed issues and to seek citizen input for use in the development of a watershed management plan for Popes Head Creek. The forum will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the cafeteria of Liberty Middle School, 6801 Union Mill Road, Clifton.

The county plans to develop watershed management plans for all 30 county watersheds, the areas that drain to particular streams, all of which empty into the Potomac River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. The Popes Head Creek watershed management plan will provide a consistent basis for evaluating problems and implementing solutions. The goal is to protect and restore the stream and related natural resources, such as wildlife habitat.

Paul Shirey of the county's Stormwater Planning Division explains, "The watershed forum is a key opportunity for the community to participate in the watershed planning process and to help shape the recommendations offered in the plan."

The Popes Head Creek watershed planning process began in June 2003 with the selection of AMEC Earth & Environmental Inc., assisted by Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. and Limno-Tech Inc., to develop the plan. The plan will be completed by January 2005. AMEC Earth & Environmental Inc. and its project team are environmental consulting firms.

As part of the development of each management plan, county staff members are working with local communities to identify issues and generate solutions to problems in their respective sub-watersheds. The community involvement process has included the creation of an advisory committee of community representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, conservation groups and other local interests. The Community Watershed Forum is the second of four public workshops planned during the Popes Head Creek watershed plan process. The first public workshop, an Issues Scoping Forum, was held on Jan. 13, 2004.

Registration for the Community Watershed Forum will take place between 1 and 1:15 p.m. on March 27 at Liberty Middle School. The forum will be divided into two sessions. Attendance of both sessions is encouraged, but not mandatory. For those interested citizens who cannot stay for the duration of the forum, attendance at either the Watershed Problems session or the Watershed Solutions session is encouraged.

The first session, Watershed Problems, will be held from 1:15 to 2:25 p.m. and will focus on watershed problems including a perspective by the Fairfax County Water Authority on watershed planning as it relates to the Occoquan Reservoir. Water from the Popes Head Creek watershed flows into the Occoquan Reservoir, a source of drinking water for more than one million northern Virginians. The first session will also include opportunities for citizens to participate in further identifying specific problem areas in the Popes Head Creek Watershed.

The second session, Watershed Solutions, will follow from 2:40 to 5 p.m. and will provide information on watershed solutions to help address the identified problems. Speakers will include representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, AMEC Earth & Environmental Inc., Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc., and Limno-Tech Inc. Following the presentations, citizens will have an opportunity to address their questions about the different types of watershed solutions in a panel-style forum. The session will conclude with small group discussions of which solution types may be most appropriate for the Popes Head Creek watershed.

Popes Head Creek originates in the southwestern area of the city of Fairfax and flows into Bull Run at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. With its major tributaries, Piney Branch and Castle Creek, it drains a 19-square mile watershed that is primarily made up of large residential lots with commercial and medium density residential areas in the upper reaches. A recently completed physical assessment of over 800 miles of streams in Fairfax County, combined with ongoing biological monitoring by local volunteers, has provided valuable information on current conditions in Popes Head Creek. This watershed is exhibiting signs of degradation associated with watershed growth and suffers from some problems common to streams in developing watersheds such as loss of natural buffers, flooding, stream bank erosion, polluted runoff and litter.

Advanced reservations for the Community Watershed Forum are not required, but will help coordinators to ensure adequate space. To reserve a space, send an e-mail message to lynne.mowery@amec.com or call 703-488-3773, TTY 711.

This project and the watershed planning program are administered by the Stormwater Planning Division of the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. More information can be found on the county's Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/Watersheds/. Select the link in the middle of the page "Know What's Happening in Your Watershed and Get Involved -Click Here," then click on "Find A Watershed" at the bottom of the page and then click on "Popes Head Creek" on the map. For additional information, contact Fred A. Rose, P.E., chief, Stormwater Management Branch or Paul Shirey, P.E., program manager, at 703-324-5500, TTY 711.


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