Wolftrap Stream Improvements

by Beth Corrigan, originally published 7/30/13

What is going on at our local stream bed? I asked myself this question recently on my walk along Follin Lane near the Navy Federal Credit Union. I found answers through the town website and with Cathy Salgado and Leon Evans with the Town’s Dept. of Parks and Rec.

Apparently, this has been in the works as far back as 2009 with letters going out to residents in the immediate area. When you drive down Follin you will see large machinery, orange plastic fencing, and a new mulch path detour. Be careful as you pass because it is eye-catching. Our “stream restoration” project is funded by our Fairfax County Storm Water tax dollars.

This is one of many projects selected to amend the negative impact development has to the natural environment. The primary objective is to prevent the further erosion of the Wolftrap Creek’s banks and expand the aquatic and natural habitat. The plans are detailed and professional. The project is fully underway and should be largely completed by Labor Day with the possible exception of fall re-plantings. I walked Reston’s restored Glade stream and Snakeden stream valleys to get a feel for our stream bed’s future. I liked the results. I’m looking forward to getting our area “cleaned up”. The noticeable deterioration had caught many of my neighbors’ attention as well as mine.

Please don’t panic when many of the debris/trees come out, and when man tries to re-create the natural. We’ll likely be better off. I’m still walking and watching with interest.

Work has continued pretty much non-stop except for rainy days. Netting buried under vegetation keeps soil from eroding back into the creek bed. Rocks are artfully placed to create alternating pools and cascades. Work has progressed about 400 yards downstream from Niblick Drive, and includes improvements on drainage from the TSA parking lot.

Before: Pumps divert the water around the work site as the back hoe resculptures the stream bed. Note the leaning tree in the background of both photos.

After: The stream cascades from one pool to the next. Grass has been planted to stabilize the soil, but native species will soon replace it.