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Workgroup to Present Findings of First “State of the Environment” Report in Reston

by Fatimah Waseem January 30, 2018 at 11:00 am 10 Comments

Pushed by ongoing development in the community, Reston Association committed to publishing an annual report about the state of the environment in Reston last year. Now, the results of the first Annual State of the Environment Report (RASER) are in.

The workgroup charged to lead the effort will present its findings at a community meeting on Thursday from 7-8 p.m. at the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive).

The nine-member group invested more than 1,000 volunteer hours to produce the report, which draws from interviews and documents from researchers, scientists and others.

The study is intended to give readers a better understanding of Reston’s current environmental conditions in order to provide a baseline against which future changes to the environment can be measured.

“As urbanization expands rapidly, not only in Northern Virginia but also worldwide, there is a growing disconnect between people and nature. When people are isolated from nature, they perceive it as less relevant and more threatening, and its physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits are devalued. Consequently, interest in conserving and protecting the natural environment is weakened, and society comes to accept a lowered environmental quality as the new norm, ” according to the report.

In light of the limited use of tools to manage stormwater when Reston was developed, the study calls on Reston Association to track and block any requested waivers of stormwater management during the land development and redevelopment process.

Other recommendations include the following:

  • Develop an incentives system to encourage Reston property owners and associations to manage stormwater runoff on their sites.
  • Plant more trees and replace removed tress with native species to increase the quality and quantity of tree cover.
  • Push residents and businesses to landscape using native plants instead of turf grass.
  • Encourage the placement of more electric car charging stations.
  • Identify stream reaches most vulnerable to channel modifications due high-energy water flows.
  • Support more follow-up studies of restored Reston streams
  • Identify sources of phosphorus and sediment loading in watersheds of lakes

The complete 176-page report is available online.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

  • Friends, this is well worth your time. Volunteer members of RA’s Environmental Advisory Committee put this report together, investing much of their free time to do so. It is thoughtful and comprehensive, and gives us a needed snapshot of how Reston is faring environmentally. As the wave of redevelopment rolls through town, we will use these findings (which will be updated annually going forward) to guide our interactions with developers and the county.

    • Lauren Graham

      I’d love to get involved, but apparently renters don’t count for squat. 🙁 From what I can tell, you need to be an RA member to even volunteer or try for a committee. It really sucks that we’re locked out of being involved in our own community because we can’t afford to throw down a half mil or more for real estate.

      • Lauren, renters are full RA members. If someone told you otherwise, send them my way and I will correct them. You can absolutely volunteer for a committee. If you have any trouble doing anything like that, please reach out to me directly and I will help.

        • Lauren Graham

          Thank you! That isn’t very clear on the RA site, so that’s really good to hear. I’ll be looking into the opportunities. 🙂

  • Mike M

    . . . something about idle hands and the devil . . .?

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Lakes should be clean enough to swim in.
    Companies building new neighborhoods/offices shouldn’t be allowed to clear-cut, whether or not they replant (usually much smaller) trees and shrubs later.

  • vdiv

    What about charging stations for electric cars? Not a peep in the report.

  • vdiv

    The whole section about light pollution is an utter nonsense. There is not enough light for an alleged pedestrian friendly community with some intersections dangerously dark. Many of the streetlights are in terrible shape and do not work, others have been taken out by VDOT as they don’t want to deal with them and there is not enough pressure on them to keep the roads safe.

    Can’t have population density without light.

    BTW there is no such thing as degree Kelvin, Kelvin is an absolute scale.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    You folks should consider checking out my the strange problem with my annoying neighbor’s vegetable garden. She complains often about a foul pungent smell that mysteriously appears the next morning after one of my famous beer and aspargus deck parties.

  • 40yearsinreston

    The lakes are polluted with geese droppings

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