City's Head Still in Sand on So-called Stream Restoration

City's Head Still in Sand on So-called Stream Restoration

Regardless of soil test results conducted by Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) on behalf of the City, or anyone else for that matter, for total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) along the Taylor Run stream banks at Chinquapin Park and First Baptist Church pursuant to clearcutting the forest and reconfiguring the entire hydrology of the stream valley, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, has already advised that WSSI's and the Department of T&ES, Stormwater Management's proposed natural channel design for the park is incompatible with resource protection of the Acidic Seepage Swamp at Chinquapin Park:

"The site and significant community should be managed to protect the critical groundwater hydrology.  Alteration of the Taylor Run stream channel or other actions that would increase overland flooding should be avoided... Protection Comments: The seepage swamp should be recognized as a critical natural resource within the City of Alexandria's park system."  

DCR, DNH concurs with the Dept. RPCA, Natural Lands Management, who first identified and documented the wetlands along Taylor Run over 20 years ago and has worked tirelessly since then to protect the wetlands from adverse impacts.

This is sound science by specialists in the field vs. those beholden to facilitating overdevelopment, increased impervious surface that is the main cause of downstream flooding, and the stream construction industry's bottom line profits.

But effective preservation of this irreplaceable, globally rare natural resource will have to come from the will of Alexandria residents and the actions of the City Council who represent them. State DCR and local resource management staff have more than done their part in presenting quality science and best practices for the preservation of the wetlands. It's long past time that Alexandria grasped the existential threat of climate change, locally, and the grave effects of deforestation, stream and wetlands destruction, and habitat loss as stressors driving it.

Rod Simmons, environmental scientist

Arlington, Virginia