The next meeting of the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District will be on Tuesday, June 22, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., in the Fairfax County Park Authority Board Room, Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. Board meetings are open to all.
For information about candidates for the November 2015 elections, please see State Board of Elections: What's on my ballot? Select "Fairfax County" for Locality, "Soil and Water Conservation Director - Northern Virginia District" for Office and choose the 2015 November General Election.
Participants will start this workshop with a pile of recycled lumber, a recycled pickle barrel, and assorted screws and bolts, but you will leave with a fully functioning tumbler style composter! We will take you through the construction steps and also give you some primers on proper composting technique. The finished composter will hold 55 gallons of organic material. All lumber will be pre-cut and all tools and materials will be provided. The cost of the workshop is $75 and registration is limited to 15 people, although you may bring helpers to assist with the construction
What would you say if I were to tell you that you can turn regular household kitchen and yard waste into......gold? Skeptical? You should be, but where the ancient alchemists failed, we have succeeded! We can teach you too to turn what was once considered rubbish into valuable, prized organic humus: the veritable black gold of gardener lore! And how do we accomplish this amazing transformation? By harnessing the power of millions of natural microbes and putting them to work inside tumbler style composters.
Next composter workshop - August 15, 2015, 1-4 PM, $75. For more information or to register, please contact Dan Schwartz (703-324-1422, TTY 711).
Many thanks to the composter workshop partners: City of Falls Church and ReBuild Warehouse.
Fairfax County, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service recently celebrated the completion of four joint dam rehabilitation projects in the Pohick Creek Watershed. See photos of the Pohick Watershed Dam Celebration on Flickr.
- Royal Lake (Dam #4) - 2009
- Woodglen Lake (Dam #3) - 2010
- Lake Barton (Dam #2) - 2011
- Huntsman Lake (Dam #8) - 2014
Through this multi-year partnership effort, four flood control dams in the 23,000-acre Pohick Creek Watershed have been upgraded to meet current Virginia Dam Safety standards to protect people and property downstream.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), then known as the Soil Conservation Service, partnered with the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) and Fairfax County to construct six flood control dams in the County's Pohick Creek watershed. These dams have helped mitigate downstream flood damages and have provided improved water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities to the residents of Fairfax County for more than 30 years.
Based on studies completed by NRCS and Fairfax County, it was determined that the dam auxiliary spillways of four of the six dams needed rehabilitation to resist erosion when the spillway activates during large storm events and also to contain flows within the spillway during these events. The facilities that needed rehabilitation were Royal Lake, Woodglen Lake, Lake Barton, and Huntsman Lake.
Fairfax County, in partnership with NRCS and NVSWCD, has completed rehabilitation of three of these facilities, and construction on the fourth facility, Huntsman Lake, will take place in coming months. Fairfax County has also initiated a dredging program to restore the sediment pool capacity of these lakes. Dredging at Lake Barton was completed concurrently with the spillway rehabilitation, and dredging at Huntsman Lake will also be completed concurrently with the dam rehabilitation project.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) works with lawn care companies to encourage watershed-friendly lawn maintenance in the Commonwealth. Lawn care companies voluntarily enter into a water quality agreement with the agency. They agree to train their employees to use lawn care products responsibly, follow appropriate lawn fertilization practices and provide environmentally sound advice to customers. In return, DCR maintains a list of watershed-friendly lawn care operators that is available to the public. This spring, consider choosing a watershed-friendly lawn care company or, if you take care of your own lawn care, consult the DCR publication "Tips on Keeping Your Lawn Green...And the Chesapeake Bay Clean" to try home lawn care - the watershed-friendly way.
We encourage you to stay informed about the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District's opportunities and programs! To subscribe, please contact us via our online form and specify which of the following updates you would like to receive:
- The Watershed Calendar, sent monthly by Dan Schwartz, features stream monitoring and other volunteer events across Northern Virginia,
- The Green Breakfast emails are sent by Kory Kreiseder to advise about upcoming Green Breakfast events, and
- Conservation Currents, the NVSWCD newsletter, is emailed by Lily Whitesell to individuals who prefer to receive an electronic copy. You can also subscribe to receive print copies of Conservation Currents.
Are you looking to give back to your community, get involved in a fun volunteer activity, or simply get a few service hours in this year? The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District can help. Volunteers can:
Rain gardens, also known as bioretention areas, are attractive landscape features that allow rain water and snow melt to infiltrate into the ground. A layer of mulch and plants intercept water running off streets, driveways, and rooftops, slowing its flow and removing pollutants before the water reaches local streams, the Occoquan River and the Potomac River, drinking water supplies for the region.
These rain garden workshops are in-depth, hands-on three-hour seminars that cover location and design, planting, tips for installation and a real-life exercise to help you take your rain garden from a good idea to a concrete reality. They are typically held 2-3 times per year.
- To be notified about future rain garden workshops, please contact us.
- To request a general overview (30-minute) presentation about rain gardens for your garden club, civic association or other group, please contact us.
- For more information about designing your own rain garden, see: Rain Gardens, Green Roofs and Low Impact Development Practices
Solving Drainage and Erosion Problems: An Online Guide for Homeowners
These issues may be indicators of a drainage or erosion problem on your property. Addressing these problems just got easier with NVSWCD’s new online resource, Solving Drainage and Erosion Problems: A Guide for Homeowners.
The guide provides step by step instructions to troubleshoot common drainage and erosion issues. Some problems come with simple fixes, like buying a splash guard or making sure your gutters are clean. But the guide also advises when you need to dig deeper or if it’s time to bring in the professionals.
When you take care of your land, not only does the home benefit, but the homeowner does, too. Property values rise, the grass will start growing, flowerbeds will flourish, and you can take pride in your landscape. Safely controlling runoff also means you will be more at ease when those flash flood warnings come up on the news.
Reducing runoff, fixing bare spots and erosion, soaking water into the soil and keeping nutrients on your land also has another advantage. From the crayfish in your local stream to bald eagles on the Potomac and blue crabs in the Chesapeake, the natural world will benefit too.
When you need to say thank you, consider a gift that will last a lifetime: the gift of trees. Through Reforest Fairfax, a new partnership between Fairfax County Restoration Project and Fairfax ReLeaf, five native trees will be planted for each gift you give, and a beautiful card and certificate will be sent to your recipie
By giving trees, you will be helping to ensure a beautiful and healthy place to live and work long into the future. Trees clean our air and water, protect our streams, prevent soil erosion, lower city temperatures, and boost property values. When you give the gift of trees, you're not just saying thank you; you're helping to plant our future. To learn more or to give a gift, visit Reforest Fairfax.
Fresh strawberries. Heirloom tomatoes. Summer squash. Artisan cheese. Garden-fresh herbs. Flower bouquets. Rainbows of fruits and vegetables, tables of pies, breads, rolls, stacks of eggs, jars of honey, bottles of milk, and an assortment of local beef, chicken, and pork.
Fairfax County farmers markets start in early May and wrap up in November. With twelve locations across the county, residents can find fresh, local food just a short walk, bike ride, or carpool from their front doors.
Green thumbs can buy plants at the beginning of the season, and during most markets Master Gardeners will be on hand to inspect plant or insect samples for pest identification and disease diagnosis. Visitors to farmers markets support sustainable agriculture and local food. Since each vendor must produce within 125 miles of Fairfax County, customers can be sure that their produce and baked goods are as fresh—and delicious—as possible!
For more information and for a complete schedule, see: Farmers Markets, Fairfax County Park Authority