Friday, April 29, 2011

RA Projects in and Near HC

On April 25, Reston Association began dredging Lake Anne Canal, located near North Shore Pool, and will continue for about another week. We are using a small floating dredging machine at the canal, which hydraulically pumps the soil and water from the lake bottom through hoses to dewatering bags located on the old volleyball court in Hickory Cluster. The water level will remain unaffected. There will be some engine noise from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each weekday and maybe on Saturday. There will be some turbidity in the lake during the dredging period, but this will be about the same as experienced after a strong thunderstorm.
Should you have any special needs, questions or concerns, please contact Dan Warfield at 703-435-6549 or
Note: RA task done every six/seven years and to be complete by RELAC operation season.

Along with the Lake Anne fountain replacement, there will be several upgrades necessary. These include a new electrical system to operate the fountain, removal of several abandoned conduits on the bottom of the lake and dredging the bottom to allow for proper operation of the fountain. The new fountain will be in operation by the end of May, barring any unforeseen difficulties or scheduling conflicts.
Please contact Paul Priestley at 703-435-6541 or email if you have any questions.

Lake Anne Dredging & HC Stream Restoration Response 
Reston Association has an easement giving them access through Hickory Cluster for dredging the pond to ensure the water supply needed by RELAC. In the past RA has brought-in heavy earthmoving equipment, and used our volleyball court as a staging area for the work. Any damage was then rectified by RA when the work was complete. This time, RA has hired Wetland Studies & Solutions, which is using a new technology to dredge the cove next to the RELAC inlet, without bringing in earthmoving equipment (which I consider a big advantage). The cove has a heavy build-up of silt (about 3 ft., according to the site foreman) and this was not removed in recent years because it would have required temporarily lowering the lake level, then draining water from Lake Newport to restore the level at Lake Anne when the work was done; this is also quite disruptive and again requires the use of earthmoving equipment. The tradeoff is that the filtration bags on the volleyball court need to remain for 2-3 weeks after the pumping is finished so that the silt is dry enough to haul away. Compared with the use of the volleyball court as a staging area for earthmovers, I don't consider the filtration bags to be a real nuisance, but perhaps you see it differently.

WSS is not dredging the pond at this point because that is slated to happen as part of the upcoming stream restoration project which was discussed at length at the special community meeting last October. The volleyball court will again be used as a staging area for the restoration project, and WSS has committed to restoring the area to the community's specification when the project is finished. After discussion with participants at a community forum, we have asked WSS to convert that area to low-maintenance landscaping using native species and consistent with the surrounding area which will be replanted as part of the conservation project. The engineering design of the restoration is intended to preclude the need for dredging in the future (or at least to greatly minimize it), so if things go well we would no longer have periodic disruption of the site in order to protect RELAC.

At the community meeting on the restoration project last October, the main area of concern was the design of the standard bridge which will replace our existing (and delapidated) wooden bridge next to the pond. The community was very unhappy with the visual elements of the standard bridge, and Ralph Youngren was asked to come up with a design more appropriate to the Goodman architecture in Hickory Cluster. Ralph and Richard Speier (who established the Goodman Fund) held several meetings with WSS, RA, and cluster members on the site to discuss options, and drawings were presented at a member forum during one of the Board meetings. The preferred design was sent to WSS and RA representing the Cluster's recommendation, and this design was accepted. Not surprisingly, the upgraded bridge is going to cost more ($8,850 at last estimate) and the cluster was initially asked to contribute $3,000 toward this. We were able to negotiate an agreement with WSS that they would forgo this request and fully cover the additional bridge cost if the Cluster was able to move quickly on approving the conservation and construction easements (since delays could be costly to them). After a legal review by the Cluster's attorney, and some minor wording revisions which he recommended to the text of the easements to protect the Cluster's rights, the Board approved the easements and the permitting process is now well underway.

I am still hoping that the project will be able to begin in the Fall, though there are still some approvals in the pipeline, and WSS is also facing financing gaps because of a decline in payments into the stream restoration bank (which is financing the project) from developers as a result of the financial crisis. WSS has said that they are working on bridging finance (no pun intended) to enable the project to start on-time so that they can keep their crew at work instead of demobilizing them when the Forest Edge phase is complete, and then remobilizing at a later date (which is very inefficient for them). The permits are not within their control, so they can't give any guarantees about when the work will actually begin. We will provide the latest update at the Cluster's Annual Meeting later this month.

Best regards,
Fred Swartzendruber
HC Board President

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring 2011 Cluster Clean-Up Scheduled

Cluster Clean-Up on Saturday & Sunday, April 30-May 1, 2011: 9am-1pm

Hickory Cluster took a beating this season and there'll be lots to do including: Ivy removal in natural areas, weeding in beds & cleaning of porches, carports and fence lines.

As you get ready for Spring, please take a look at the RA and Hickory Cluster guidelines pertaining to 'in view' storage items. Thank you!

RA Regs
HC Regs

Cookout in Block II will follow at 5pm.

Other ideas in the works...
  • A scheduled big item trash pick-up day
  • Clusterwide Yard Sale:  May 14, 8am-1pm