Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wetlands Studies Information & VT Letter

Unfortunately none of the HC Board members made it to the Jan. 30 information meeting. The Board is in touch with Nicki Foremski about the next opportunity. Meanwhile here are some materials for people to access. The Virginia Tech letter arises from concerns raised about the loss of trees in the Snakeden site, and though rather technical, Dr. Wynn makes it clear this is cutting-edgework which offers a chance of preventing long-term erosion which is already well advanced (also true for Lake Anne, unfortunately). VT will use this case study in an upcoming graduate course on stream restoration design.
Wetland Studies & Solutions, Inc Presentation from 1-30-10
Wetland Studies & Solutions, Inc Stream Restoration Brochure
Virginia Tech Letter

In our situation in Hickory Cluster (shown on the Wetlands project map as part of the Colvin Run Watershed project), the erosion is also very advanced and is now threatening a sanitary (sewer) line which runs alongside the stream. Because of the threat to the sewer line, not doing anything is really not an option, therefore the issue is how to optimize a solution which

(i) preserves our natural area,

(ii) stops the erosion process, and

(iii) costs the cluster as little as possible.

RA and the Wetland Studies & Solutions people are aware of our concerns and have promised to work with us to ensure the best possible outcome which satisfies their technical requirements as well as our commitment to retaining the wooded areas in Hickory. Since the Wetlands project would also finance replacement of our bridge and repair of the paths along the stream, this is a great opportunity for us provided we can find a workable compromise on the tree removal issue. In my view, if we decline to participate in the RA/Wetlands restoration project (by not voting to approve the required environmental easement) we will forego the 100% financing of their project but will eventually be forced into a less-sophisticated repair scheme because of the sewer issue, with unknown costs to the cluster and no guarantee as to the aesthetic outcome (since many trees are now undercut and in danger of falling, and realignment of the sewer line will inevitably also require major earth moving work).

The Virginia Tech letter illustrates that this is a complex issue, but the technical approach RA and Wetlands are using is considered leading-edge in the field. The letter does not mention the mitigation bank which would finance the project, which is a unique opportunity for the cluster to tackle some long-standing issues at no cost to ourselves. A conventional utility engineering solution forced on us by Fairfax Water might be much less attractive, so I urge all of you to read the materials we have posted and come prepared when the next outreach meeting takes place.

Thanks, Fred

HC Cluster Board President

1 comment:

  1. Fred has a great point. We all need to vote in favor of the environmental easement. Assume that vote will happen in the near future.


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