Fairfax County Seeks Public Review of Final Draft Strategy for the Little Hunting Creek
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
May 19, 2004
Fairfax County Seeks Public Review of
Final Draft Strategy for the Little Hunting Creek Watershed
On Saturday, June 5, Fairfax County will sponsor the Little Hunting Creek Watershed Final Plan Review Workshop from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Highway (U.S. Route 1), Alexandria. The county is seeking public input on the final draft of the watershed management plan. A plan overview will be presented at 9:15 a.m., followed by hands-on interactive discussions about the recommended restoration projects, policy changes and educational ideas. Participants will provide their critique and feedback on plan ideas.
Families, developers, business owners, neighbors and everyone who lives or works in the watershed is encouraged to attend. Advanced registration is not required, but is requested to ensure that adequate space is available. To register, please send an e-mail to Littlehuntingcreek@virginia.edu or call 703-820-3840, extension #5, TTY 711 by June 1. Walk-in registrations are welcomed.
The Little Hunting Creek watershed planning process began in December 2002 and will be completed in June 2004. The county hired the team of Woolpert LLP and the University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation to encourage community involvement, analyze data on existing watershed problems, and provide recommendations on how to solve them. The plan’s development is advised by the Little Hunting Creek Steering Committee comprised of 14 community representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, conservation groups and other local interests such as the National Park Service and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. The Little Hunting Creek Watershed Plan will be the first plan completed in the county’s Watershed Planning Program. The county is in the process of developing similar plans for all 30 of its watersheds, which are part of the Chesapeake Bay Drainage Basin.
In addition to seeking input from the steering committee through regular meetings and workshops, the county held a public watershed forum in July 2003, conducted two focus groups, and held a plan review workshop in December 2003. The final workshop on June 5 will showcase the strategy proposed by the community and local businesses for restoring the watershed of Little Hunting Creek. Community review and input of this final plan is critical as it will chart the community’s strategy for restoring the watershed and providing a high quality of life into the year 2025.
Paul Shirey of the county’s Watershed Planning and Assessment Branch explains, “This is the last call for input on the watershed plan. Once the plan has been finalized, the county will begin to implement the recommended actions in the plan. Some of the proposed projects will require further public involvement and possible easement acquisition during the design phase.”
Little Hunting Creek originates in Huntley Meadows Park and flows into the Potomac River at Mount Vernon. With its major tributaries, North Branch and Paul Spring Branch, it drains an 11.25-square mile watershed that is primarily residential and commercial, including the Route 1 corridor. Extensive data were collected and used to model potential future conditions and the success of various management strategies for reducing or preventing pollution. The watershed suffers from problems common to older, developed urban watersheds – paved land cover, loss of natural buffers, flooding, stream bank erosion, polluted runoff and trash. The creek recently received state and national attention for discovery of the notorious snakehead fish that could severely impact native species and spread throughout the Bay watershed.
The Little Hunting Creek Watershed Management Plan offers a vision for the watershed to integrate environmental management, natural resource protection and community goals to minimize runoff and pollution to restore the quality of Little Hunting Creek and benefit the community. Examples of the plan’s strategies include adding rain barrels and filtration gardens to capture stormwater runoff, constructing new stormwater management facilities, providing incentives to developers for reducing asphalt and hard surfaces, restoring streams, studying how to clean toxic contaminants from the tidal portion of Little Hunting Creek and increasing recreation opportunities.
The plan is available for advance review at the local library and 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,” click on “Find A Watershed” at the bottom of the page and then click on “Little Hunting Creek” and the draft plan is listed under Watershed Documents on the middle right side of the page.
The project and the watershed planning program are administered by the
Stormwater Planning Division of the Fairfax County Department of Public
Works and Environmental Services. For additional information, contact
Fred A. Rose, P.E., chief, Watershed Planning and Assessment Branch or
Paul Shirey, P.E., program manager, at 703-324-5500, TTY 711.