Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Wrong Approach for Stream Restoration

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Wrong Approach for Stream Restoration

The biggest problem with the so-called natural channel design approach to stream "restoration" for us in the greater Washington, D.C. region is that it is planned and implemented in completely the wrong places: small order, interior forested, upper headwater streams and wetlands. Natural channel design (Rosgen method) is mainly applicable to large order streams and rivers, especially the kinds one find in the American west. Applying it to small order, upper headwater stream channels of the deeply dissected Fall Zone of our area is a misuse of the methodology, a misunderstanding of eastern Fall Zone hydrology and stream geomorphology, a sure recipe for failure, a mismanagement of public funds by inappropriately targeting sediment-control projects in places with low levels of the very nutrients for which funding is based, and an unacceptable loss of irreplaceable native forest, wildlife, and landscape memory.

The controversial Hollin Hills stream construction projects in the Little Hunting Creek watershed of Fairfax County, Virginia embody the worst elements of these misguided land use projects at virtually every level, from land giveaway to project planning to backing by elected officials.

Rod Simmons, Environmental Scientist

John Field, PhD, Stream Restoration Specialist and Fluvial Geomorphologist

Tony Fleming, Hydrogeologist

Barbara Southworth, Environmental Science and Policy Specialist

Greg Zell, Natural Resource Specialist

Edd Barrows, PhD, Georgetown University Biology Professor

Andrew Macdonald, PhD, Geologist

Laura Anderko, PhD, Georgetown University Professor, Public Health and Climate Change

Jim Long, PhD, Physicist and past president of the Mattawoman Watershed Society

Ken Bawer, Vice President, Watts Branch Watershed Alliance