Kingstowne Stream Restoration Project
A stream flowing through Kingstowne in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County suffered considerably from upstream development. The Kingstowne stream is a main tributary of Dogue Creek. It begins behind Edison High School and feeds into the Potomac River, less than six miles downstream. Upstream development has replaced natural vegetation with more and more impervious (nonporous) surfaces, such as roofs, roads, and parking lots. Fewer plants, shrubs, and trees are available to slow down and absorb the flow and to allow infiltration of stormwater into the soil. More and faster water flowing into the stream led to erosion of the material from the bottom and sides of the channel. On its own, the stream would have reshaped itself over time to accommodate the larger volume of runoff, but not before tons of sediment and attached nutrients were carried downstream to the wetlands of Huntley Meadows, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
In 1998, NVSWCD joined forces with Fairfax County, state and federal agencies, and two citizens groups to implement a demonstration project that would serve as a model for the "softer," more environmentally-friendly approach to solving erosion problems. The site analysis and project design took nearly a year to complete. Construction began in October of 1999 and was finished within two months. Through cutting and filling of soil material, this project restored gentle meanders to the stream and raised the level of the channel to reach the floodplain. The project used live plant materials native to the area to stabilize the stream banks.
Today grass is growing on the floodplain, live stakes are in bloom on the banks, and tree and shrub seedlings are maturing. NVSWCD continues to monitor the Kingstowne stream and to participate in similar restoration or stabilization projects.
NVSWCD implemented another stream restoration project at Kingstowne in Fall 2011: the Kingstowne II stream restoration built on the success of Kingstowne I, one of the first projects to use natural channel design in the region. The Kingstowne II $1.2 million project restored another badly eroded section of the stream, which now features aquatic life, a gentle slope and a well-vegetated riparian buffer. The partnership included the Nature Conservancy, Army Corps of Engineers, Kingstowne HOA, and Fairfax County. Kingstowne Photo Credit: Stephanie Bianco