Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9AM-5PM M-F

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448 Fairfax, VA 22035

James Patteson,

Dead Run Stream Restoration Project at McLean Central Park and Dead Run Stream Valley Park

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services plans to rehabilitate Dead Run, within McLean Central Park and Dead Run Stream Valley Park between Old Dominion Road and Churchill Road. The project will restore approximately 2,300 linear feet of the stream and starts below the previously restored section near the Dolley Madison Library at 1244 Oak Ridge Avenue, Mclean.

View Dead Run Stream Restoration Project Site Map

Dead Run Stream Restoration in McLean Central Park

Project Goals

  • Reduce frequent flooding
  • Stabilize the stream banks
    • Protect property
    • Reduce erosion
    • Reduce tree loss
  • Restore and enhance the vegetated stream buffer
    • Reduce ongoing tree loss due to stream bank erosion
    • Install native plant species
    • Control invasive plant species
  • Improve water quality
    • Reduce sediment
    • Reduce nutrients
  • Enhance diversity and abundance of aquatic species by improving aquatic habitat.

The Dead Run stream restoration project began in the fall of 2013. Surveys, assessments and pre-concepts were completed by April 2014. Several public meetings and field walks were conducted in 2014 and 2015.

Public comments are welcome and may be submitted to the project manager by calling 703-324-5500, TTY 711 or email Stormwater Planning Division.

A community task force or "Stream Team" was convened in September 2015 through Fairfax County Board Supervisor John W. Foust's office to address community concerns and provide input on the design. Such teams have proven to be successful in county districts as members become actively involved in revising the initial concept or design of the project and team members become conduits of information between the community and project design team.

Community Meetings and Field Walks

  1. April 23, 2014 - Dead Run Stream Restoration Public Meeting
  2. February 18, 2015 - Dead Run Stream Restoration Public Meeting
  3. May 19, 2015 Dead Run Stream Restoration Public Meeting

    Long View of Project

  4. June 9, 2015 Dead Run Stream Restoration Public Meeting (Dolley Madison/field walk)
  5. August 18, 2015 Dead Run Stream Restoration Stream Team Kick Off
  6. August 18, 2015 Dead Run Stream Valley - Existing Conditions

Summary of Community feedback and concerns on draft concept plan dated August 2015

  • Dead Run Segment Task Force Meeting Summary of Major Issues and Concerns (PDF)
  • Project Design and Benefits: The community raised concerns about the channel width and overall construction impacts. In addition, many questions were related to the overall project benefits and the pros and cons of different design approaches.
    • Based on the concept, the proposed stream restoration project will significantly reduce stream bank erosion that results in sediment being deposited in the stream bed that impacts aquatic habitat. Estimated reduction in erosion is between 783 to 1,500 tons of sediment per year. In addition, the amount of nutrients entering the stream will be significantly reduced. These reductions will benefit Dead Run, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.
    • Additional benefits are summarized in the meeting presentations.
    • Actions: Work with Stream Team, to evaluate alternative designs and related benefits. Present pros and cons of design approach to help make informed decisions.
  • Tree Loss: Tree loss is one of the primary concerns of the community.
    • The estimated canopy loss based on the concept is 11 percent of the area in red shown on figure 2. This includes the potential loss of 88 large trees (trees with a diameter of 12 inches or larger) as well as smaller trees and shrubs.
    • Actions: Conducted field walks with community and design team to identify priority trees and additional "tree save" areas. Evaluating proposed channel size and alignment as well as construction access to reduce tree impacts. Construction access across private residential lots and related tree loss is also being removed as an option.
  • Potential Park Trail Closures:
    • The current concept includes maintaining access to park trails during construction. A temporary wood chip trail will likely need to be installed while working on channel segments that are eroding portions of the trail located along the right (looking downstream) bank that connects to Churchill Road.
    • Actions: Continue to evaluate construction access road size and alignment to minimize impact to trees and trail closures.
  • Frequent flash flooding:
    • Residents on Elizabeth Drive adjacent to the stream experience frequent yard flooding even in smaller storms. In addition, the Churchill Road culvert restricts flows even in smaller rain events causing water to backup and flood the park and private yards.
    • The current concept includes an alternative that will reduce frequent flooding by safely conveying rain from smaller storms into the proposed channel. The existing conditions include sharp bends and blockages from deposited sediment and woody debris that make increased flows from small storm events to rise above the stream banks.
    • Actions: Continue to evaluate channel sizing and alignment to help address frequent flooding while balancing the impacts to trees. Present pros and cons of alternatives to team.

      The County contacted VDOT concerning the Churchill Road culvert. VDOT does not have plans to replace or improve this road culvert at this time. Road culvert improvement plans would need to evaluate the upstream benefits and the potential downstream flooding and stream erosion impacts related to change in timing and volume of flow through a larger culvert or bridge.

      The proposed stream restoration design will remove sediment and debris that blocks a portion of the culvert. One alternative is to better align the channel with the culvert to improve flow through the existing culvert. Staff will continue to coordinate with VDOT.
  • Site Restoration and Landscaping:
    • Comments include: Maintain access to stream channel; control invasive plants; improve tree species diversity and habitat; restore riparian stream buffer; provide landscaping that enhances the park setting, i.e., not overgrown or weedy.
    • Actions: Alternative site restoration and landscaping plans will be presented to the team.

Next Steps:

  • Visit existing stream restoration projects with the Stream Team to see different practices and discuss benefits
  • Continue working with the Stream Team to develop a final concept of the restoration
  • Present the final concept at a community meeting
  • Continue working with the Stream Team to develop a 95 percent design plan
  • Obtain permits
  • Present the final design at a community meeting
  • Bidding and final plan to be based on funding and approved budget
  • "Pardon Our Dust" meeting with residents and contractor prior to issuing the construction 'notice to proceed.'
erosion at Dead Run stream bank
Figure 2: The Dead Run stream bank is eroded, tree roots are exposed and falling trees present a danger.
Snakeden Branch stream
Figure 3: Snakeden Branch in Reston is a similar but completed project, five years after restoration.