Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Mon - Fri

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 449, Fairfax, Va 22035

Craig Carinci,
Director, Stormwater Planning

Rabbit Branch Tributary Restoration Project at Collingham Drive

Rabbit Branch current condition
Present condition of the tributary to be restored.

Project Background

This project was identified in the Pohick Creek Watershed Management Plan for stream restoration and stabilization. It was placed in the county's Fiscal Year 2017 work plan as a result of maintenance issues related to Lake Royal.

Project Description

The project will restore more than 4,800 linear feet of natural channel and about 1,300 linear feet of outfall leading to it. The stream channel exhibits eroded and over-widened banks, head-cuts, and the potential for further bed and bank instability. Restoration objectives include stream stabilization, water quality improvement, aquatic and riparian habitat enhancement and reconnection of the channel to its floodplain. This project is part of larger efforts to restore many of Fairfax County’s degraded streams while improving overall water quality and the condition of the Chesapeake Bay.

The primary goals of the restoration are: 

  • Stabilize the channel and prevent future erosion and degradation along the stream 
  • Reconnect the channel to its floodplain
  • Restore native trees and herbaceous planting to promote natural reforestation 
  • Develop a healthy ecosystem 

Project Location

The project in the Pohick Stream Valley Park, upstream of Lake Royal, on Fairfax County Park Authority property. 

Rabbit Branch project area map
The project area is shown in blue outline.


Project Phase

Project is in construction.

Project Benefits

The benefits of the project are:

  • Improve sewer system reliability in the neighborhood.
  • Prevent costly future emergency repairs.
  • Reduce future risk of sanitary sewer overflows.
  • Reduce risks to public health and the environment.

Fairfax Recovery Wheel

Ahead of a stream restoration project it is important to gain a holistic assessment of the stream’s health, as well as to ascertain its restoration potential and function, and to observe how the community engages with the body of water. All of this aids in understanding how ecosystem services can be improved during the restoration project.

At Rabbit Branch Tributary Restoration Project at Collingham Drive, we have made a full assessment in preparation for completing the design/moving towards construction.

The Fairfax Recovery Wheel tool helps us understand a stream corridor. Metrics include social, biological, geomorphological and construction feasibility aspects. Overall, we need to know how 24 different metrics of stream corridor health balance in this system.

View Recovery Wheel
Click to Enlarge

Project Timeline

Construction began in Spring 2022 and is expected to be substantially completed in early winter 2023.

What to Expect

The construction area will be fenced with orange snow fence, metal tree protection fence and/or silt control fencing. Inside the construction area will be closed to residents. Staff and contractors will wear high-visibility clothing, and proper safety gear. Once construction begins, access and deliveries will enter the site from one of the proposed access points at Roberts Road and/or Gainsborough Dr. The typical work week is Monday through Friday starting after 7 a.m. Note that at some periods during construction, work may occur on weekends. Construction activities on weekends will begin after 9 a.m. These start times are in accordance with the Fairfax County Noise Ordinance.

Project Cost and Funding Source

Construction of the Rabbit Branch Tributary at Collingham Drive is estimated at $2,797,000. .

Presentations to the Community

Rabbit Branch at Collingham Drive Stream Restoration - March 28, 2022

Rabbit Branch at Collingham Drive Stream Restoration Information Meeting - July 16, 2019

The goal of the stream restoration is to build an ecologically sound restoration that balances water quality benefits with riparian function and park user experience.


For more information please email Project Manager Matthew Shepherd, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Stormwater Planning Division, or call 703-324-5685, TTY 711.

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