Reston, VA

Updated at 12:05 a.m. on 4/24/2021 — A Dominion Energy spokesperson says that tonight’s power outage was the result of a failed switch.

As of 11 p.m., 27 customers were still without power as crews worked to make repairs. Restoration time was estimated to be between 2 and 5 a.m.

“Hopefully we will get it on sooner,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox told Reston Now.

Earlier: More than 1,000 people in Reston are currently without power, and it may be a few hours before electricity is restored.

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, the outage has affected 1,392 customers between Baron Cameron Avenue to the north and Sunset Hills Road to the south.

The map says that a crew has been dispatched to the area, but the cause of the outage remains under investigation. As of 8:40 p.m., the utility company estimated that power would not be restored until 11 p.m. tonight (Friday) at the earliest, with the timeline potentially stretching until 2 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday).

Image via Dominion Energy

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The Reston Association plans to spend more on lake management in 2021 than in previous years.

Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau suffered from constant algae blooms and overgrowth of invasive hydrilla in 2020, according to an RA community discussion last week about the lakes.

To manage those rather typical lake-related issues, the plan is to take a more “proactive” mitigation strategy, but that requires increasing the lake management budget, a possibility that was first discussed last fall in relation to a potentially toxic algae bloom that emerged in Lake Thoreau over the summer.

However, the investment is planning to be substantially more than initially thought.

In 2020, RA spent $17,000 for monitoring and treating lakes. In 2021, the plan is to spend about three times more money — nearly $52,000.

As stated at the March 31 meeting, this is largely due to Lake Thoreau.

Besides algae, Reston’s deepest lake also suffers from overgrowth of hydrilla, an aggressive, invasive aquatic plant that crowds out native species and impedes boating and fish habitats.

“Hydrilla is a big concern in Lake Thoreau,” said Bill Kirkpatrick of Aquatic Environment Consultants, which RA hired to manage the lakes. “Hydrilla grew late in the year, and the treatment was done on an emergency basis. We’ve revisited this and rethought the process.”

The plan is to start treatment early in the growth stage with a low, multiple-dose application of herbicide that is released slowly through clay pellets dropped to the bottom of the lake.

“It’s kinda like taking antibiotics,” Kirkpatrick said. “You don’t take all of it at once…You split it up to keep a certain concentration in your body.”

While this is a more expensive and time consuming way of treating the hydrilla, the hope is that it lasts much longer.

“It should suppress the growth and it never reaches that big die-off phase,” Kirkpatrick said.

While the hydrilla treatment will cost about $19,000 in 2021, the consultant believes that, if it is successful, no further treatment will be needed in 2022 or, perhaps, for several years beyond.

Starting in May, both Lake Thoreau and Lake Anne will be treated with low-dose algeasized concentrations on a monthly basis through September.

“The goal is to control the noxious algaes and allow the beneficial algaes to exist,” Kirkpatrick said.

Aquatic Environment Consultants plans to manage algae in this manner going forward, and the cost of algae treatment in 2022 is expected to remain the same.

All in all, it’s currently being estimated that the budget for lake management in 2022 will be $29,471 — about $22,000 less than RA anticipates spending in 2021.

The budget also includes funds to monitor lake water quality and to manage alligator weed, water primrose, and water lilies on Lake Newport.

The community discussion covered several other lake-related topics as well, including restocking the carp population, a new fishing line recycling program, and managing the Canadian geese population by tracking nests, counting geese, and potentially addling eggs.

“They cause traffic disturbances, they cause damage to people’s property, and they can put a huge amount of nutrients in the lakes, which can cause some of those algae blooms,” RA Watershed Manager Bill Peterson said. “We are not trying to eradicate the geese population, just trying to keep it down to an acceptable level.”

In recent months, the Reston Association has increased the assessment fee by $10, and as noted at the meeting, the boat mooring rate has also gone up.

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Forget the Tidal Basin. Fairfax County has a few prime cherry blossom-viewing sites of its own.

This includes Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Reston’s Van Gogh Bridge, and along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The blooming, pink-tinged flowers have long served as a symbolic announcement of spring’s arrival in the D.C. area, but the sight might be especially welcome this year after a winter that proved challenging for reasons only partly related to the weather.

“It [always] gets quite busy here this time of the year,” Meadowlark park specialist Jeff Hill said. “But this year, there’s a slight edge of frenziness to it.”

Run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), Meadowlark is home to at least 60 to 80 cherry trees, a number of which are the same species as the ones at the Tidal Basin (Yoshino). The oldest ones were planted back in the late 1980s, while other cherry trees were planted more recently over the past several years.

Hill says that, particularly in the last four or five years, the trees have grown “exponentially in popularity.”

They are scattered throughout the 95-acre property, but mostly concentrated near the Visitor’s Center and down by the lakes.

According to Hill, the ones closer to the Visitor’s Center are already in bloom and are nearing their peak. The trees by the lakes just started to open earlier this week, so those blossoms should be nearing peak bloom as well by this weekend.

However, the recent cold weather could majorly impact them.

“Anything that’s in full bloom right now, will probably be affected the hardest,” Hill said. “Not only is it cold, they’ve been calling for pretty significant winds.”

However, he says that, since they haven’t fully opened up yet, the trees by the lakes “maybe able to skirt by” and remain on schedule to bloom come this weekend.

In terms of care, the staff at Meadowlark rarely interfere with the cherry trees aside from periodic pruning, monitoring for insects and fungi, and mulching.

“We try to leave things to be as natural as possible,” Hill says.

With the gardens expected to be very busy this weekend, Hill recommends visiting during the week if possible. Capacity limits are in effect, but since the grounds are so large, crowds should be minimized if people spread out.

“With the Tidal Basin so busy and popular, people are just looking for an alternative site,” Hill said. “[Meadowlark] is a great place because you have the water, you have the cherry trees…everything you need for a cherry blossom-style festival.”

As for the cherry trees near Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne in Reston, one is owned by the Waterview Cluster and the others by the Washington Plaza Cluster Organization.

Those trees date back to at least the early 1980s, according to the Reston Association, which does not own the trees, but occasionally prunes them to keep pathways clear.

The Van Gogh bridge was built in 1965 to link the Waterview and Washington Plaza clusters. It was designed by William Roehl, who also designed the nearby Swing.

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Construction is progressing on the $86 million Lake Anne Fellowship House redevelopment at 11444 North Shore Drive with a completion date projected for the summer of 2022.

The property, which is to be called “Lake Anne House,” is framed up to the fifth floor of what will be an eight-story building. Mechanical, electric, and plumbing is also underway. The roof is scheduled to be put on by this June.

Christy Zeitz, the CEO of Fellowship Square Foundation, a non-profit that provides affordable housing to seniors, says that completion is still expected by next summer. That’s despite the fact that construction moved in a  “deliberate” manner during COVID-19.

The construction of the new, modernized Lake Anne House is progressing as scheduled and we are on track for a summer 2022 completion. Our construction partners have been deliberate in their safety protocols to ensure the safety of their teams and workers while also ensuring that the project moves forward so that our residents will be able to move into the new building next year.

Our residents are very excited — as the new Lake Anne House will be more space efficient, energy efficient, and will provide enhanced amenities such as an onsite wellness clinic, fitness center and more while, importantly, still assuring that rent is never more than 30% of a resident’s income.

A time-lapse video from February shows construction over the last month.

Currently, residents live in facilities that are adjacent to the new development and were built in the early 1970s, which was prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessibility has continued to be a challenge for residents at those facilities.

Once the project is completed, residents will move into the new building. A timeline notes that should begin by spring/summer 2022, though it depends on building completion.

Once move-in is completed, the old facilities will be demolished and the land sold will be sold for future townhomes.

The project was first approached more than seven years ago, in 2013, and approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2018. Groundbreaking was in October 2020.

The new building is part of an $86 million redevelopment project aimed at serving low-income senior residents.

Lake Anne House is expected to have 240 affordable apartments for seniors whose income is at or below 60% of AMI (area median income) for at least the past 30 years.

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It was a year ago when business owner Liz Kamp made the decision to shut down her cycling, strength, and fitness studio New Trail.

New Trail, located at Lake Anne in Reston, was thriving after opening in November 2018. The customer base was growing, nine employees had been hired, and Kamp, 36 and a mother of three, was proud of the community she had built. There was even talk about opening a second studio.

That all changed on March 14 last year.

“We had a St. Paddy’s [cycling] event and I had set up a million safety precautions that I felt pretty good about,” Kamp says. “Then we had it and I just felt like I didn’t have full control of this.”

Immediately after that event, she made a very difficult decision.

Seeing people getting too close to one another after class and realizing she could do little to spread COVID-19 by establishing precautions, she closed New Trail.

“It was too stressful and too risky, ” she says. “It was my social responsibility to shut it down.”

Exactly a year later, on March 14, 2021, Kamp is re-opening her studio and allowing people to exercise indoors for the first time.

Classes will remain very limited, with only six people inside at a time and spread out by at least 10 feet. Doors will remain open for fresh air, a new HVAC system will be running, and masks are required.

Participants can also exercise outside for those who are not comfortable being inside yet.

But it’s a return to something resembling normalcy for the fitness studio and for Kamp’s ambitions. She hopes to create a space for those like her looking for a good workout.

Kamp has been a fitness instructor for nearly her whole career, including a stint as a fitness specialist for the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department.

Then, in 2009, she moved to Reston and within walking distance of Lake Anne.

“It was sort of an underutilized space at the time,” Kamp says about Lake Anne.

It took nearly a decade — she’s a mom to three kids —  but Kamp eventually made her dream happen — opening up New Trail in part of the space that used to be Lake Anne Pharmacy (which closed in 2014).

“Such a deep part of my mission is to create the space where it’s a hangout,” she says. “You’re not anonymous. They know me. I know them. That small town appeal was strong for me.”

Her goal was also to create a studio for folks like her.

“I think a lot of times when people see what we call boutique studios, it’s 20-year-old models teaching and it sort of sets people up for intimidation,” she says. “I wanted to take that all out of the game and focus on just creating a real community where the focus is not how we look, but working out and moving for wellness. Mind, body and soul.”

Everything was going great until March 2020. In the intervening year, she received a Payment Protection Program loan while pivoting to some outdoor (in the summer) and virtual classes but admits it wasn’t the same.

“Our value in the marketplace is the in-person experience, so when you take that away, it’s just different and it takes away our uniqueness,” she says.

Competing with Pelotons of the world was also very tough since they can provide top-notch production at lower costs.

“That was defeating at times… feeling like ‘how can I compete?'” Kamp says.

But this shift back to indoors and, maybe, normalcy is leaving her hopeful. She misses seeing her customers and thinks people will flock back.

“Places like New Trail are going to mean much more to people now,” she says. “We’ve missed that human connection.”

As for that second studio, she remains optimistic about it but is waiting to see what 2021 and beyond – brings.

“We will keep pushing our mission forward,” Kamp says.

Photo courtesy of New Trail/Kim Chevez Photography

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Updated at 4:35 pm to clarify information about the board election

Since Dec. 1, Robin Jordan warms water in two large stock pots, waits for the water to heat up, and crouches over the pots in her shower to give herself a bath with a washcloth.

“We have no idea what’s going on,” Jordan, said.

That’s because between 20 units — twelve condominium units and eight commercial units — — haven’t had hot water since Dec. 1. Some go to local gyms to take showers while others turn to relatives and friends for help.

The aging building, which was built in 1963, is losing roughly 300 gallons of water per hour. And it’s unclear where the water is going, although recent assessments by maintenance staff suggest it is pooling underground. Pipes are corroding and leaking in multiple areas.

After weeks of attempting to address the issue with the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association (LARCA), residents’ frustrations are boiling over.

Jordan, who has lived at the condominiums for eight years with her husband, hung a sign above her balcony alerting the public about the issue. Others question where condominiums fees of around $1,000 are going.

LARCA has been consumed by political in-fighting after the results of an election for board president were disputed by two groups within the board. Board President Jason Romano and owner of the Lake Anne Brewhouse was certified as the winner over George Hadjikyriakou, the owner of Kalypso’s. But the results of the election are still contested by board member Senzel Schaefer and others on the board.

Romano says resolving the hot water issue is the board’s top priority. Last night, the board approved a plan to install a $35,000 hot water heater by the end of next week. Residents can also shower at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods, if needed.

“You would think that you can replace a hot water heater and you’re back up and running. But that’s just not the case. It has taken a long time to troubleshoot the problem and find out what the actual cause is.”

But that fix is only a band-aid. Recent engineering and structural analyses have shown that a major replacement — likely of the building’s underground trunk line — is needed as soon as possible.

The latest water heater replaces one that was installed roughly a month ago. That heater was not powerful enough to service the entire building, which has leaking and corroding pipes in multiple areas.

“We’re looking for a creative solution that will be the most cost-effective and least impactful for the community,” he told Reston Now.

The hot water issue is emblematic of maintenance issues that are popping up all over Lake Anne Plaza — often at the same time.

“We have a situation where we’re really trying to replace and fix the aging infrastructure all around us. It’s had a wonderful lifespan until this point and we want it to continue for another 50, 100 plus years and keep this community going,”Romano said.

Board members like Schaefer allege their efforts to address the hot water issue have been stalled by intentional efforts to thwart progress.

“The Lake Anne of Reston issue is a microcosm of our national politics, this is why elections matter,’ she said. “Jason Romano who lost in the October 2020 LARCA election refused to respect the will of the members.”

She too has been attempting to address the issue with the help of two other board members.

Basil Shakarchi, a resident at the condominium building, resorted to installing a $2,000 tankless hot water machine in his apartment — an addition that was only possible because he renovated his unit.

Other units in the aging building, which was built in the early 1960s, do not have that luxury. The units simply cannot handle that much electric current.

Shakarchi wants the board and the building’s property manager to find a long-term solution.

So far, it’s unclear what that long-term solution — which would will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — is. Romano says the board has contracted with an engineering firm to explore available options.

He hopes the installation of the new hot water heater will buy LARCA time to find a long-term solution.

Jordan, who recently began washing her hair in the sink of her hair salon in Sterling, says she wants the board to be more responsive and transparent to residents.

“I’ve been here for eight years and we’re all pretty outraged,” Jordan said, noting that the need to replace the building’s aging trunk line did not arise overnight.

Shakarchi has a simple plea for himself and residents: “Please send help.”

Photo via Robin Jordan

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Local Police Conduct Mock Travel Stops — The Fairfax County Police Department conducted mock traffic stops for drivers with disabilities. Police and community members came together to learn how to safely interact with one another during traffic stops. The goal was to ensure that drivers with disabilities are well-versed in what happens during traffic stops. [Local DVM]

Health Department Hires Staff to Help with Pandemic Response — The county’s health department is looking for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to join its vaccination team on a part-time, temporary basis. The plan is to hire 100 people. [Fairfax County Government]

In-school Learning to Resume Next Week — Fairfax County Public Schools will bring back its first group of students for in-person instruction on Feb. 16. Students who have already selected to return to in-person instruction will still be able to do so two days a week. [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Teacher Arrested for Sexual Assaults of Student — “A Fairfax County Public Schools teacher is in custody for sexually assaulting a student more than twenty years ago. Detectives assigned to our Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad recently learned of the unlawful sexual contact and began an investigation. Last night, detectives arrested Marc Damon Cheatham, 51, of Woodbridge.  [FCPD]

Repairs to Lake Anne Fountain Completed — Reston Association has completed repairs to Lake Anne Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza. Residents can expect to see the lights function on schedule. [RA]

CORE Foundation Celebrates 15 YearsCORE Foundation in Reston, “Helping Others Be the Change for 15 Years,” held its MASKerade and Community Hero Awards Saturday evening, Jan. 16. Celebrating the nonprofit organization’s 15th anniversary, co-hosts Doug Bushée, founder and Chairman of the Board, and Taralyn Tharp Kohler, Executive Director, welcomed guests and honorees to the virtual event. “

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Delayed since mid-December, the Reston Association’s project to inspect and repair Lakes Audubon, Anne, Newport, and Thoreau dams will finally get under way later this month.

In a statement posted to social media, Reston Association will start work on January 25 on the trash racks and riser structure in Lake Audubon. This requires lowering the lake on January 21 and 22, a foot and a half to two feet a day. That work is expected to take a week.

Then, on February 1, the organization will draw down the lake again, this time to a total of eight feet, to allow for a full inspection of the dam infrastructure. It will be drawn down no more than a foot a day, so this work could talk up to one and a half weeks.

Due to this, Lakes Anne, Newport, and Thoreau will also be lowered to prevent spillage.

Later that month, February 15, more dam inspections will be done. This is expected to take until February 24. Once finished, the lake will be allowed to refill naturally which could take up to a few months to happen.

Reston Association asks all residents to provide slack in their moor lines so that boats can lower safely with the water level. The lake bottom will be “deep mud” so do not attempt to walk on it, RA advises.

Every year, the Reston Association performs these inspections and repairs. They are a state requirement, Chris Schumaker, Director of Capital Projects, tells Reston Now via email.

The project was initially pushed due to “delays both in the fabrication and delivery of key materials for the Lake Audubon trash rack and valve replacements,” writes Shumaker.

Photo via Reston Association/Facebook

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A new Reston Historic Resources Survey names ten area locations as “potentially eligible” for the National Register of Historic Places.

They include the Ring Road subdivision in North Reston, two area golf courses (Reston National and Hidden Creek), a number of 1960s-and-1970s-era housing clusters, and the Ken Bonner-designed residence on Stirrup Road.

The survey’s goal was to determine significant historic districts and buildings that were constructed during Reston’s prime development years – between 1961 and 1978. It was commissioned by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and conducted by Mary Hanbury of Hanbury Preservation Consulting, a historic preservation consulting firm out of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The survey covered all of Reston, except for the land within Lake Anne Historic District. This district is already on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a community meeting held last night (Jan 5), Hanbury explained that the survey and field work reconnessicance first began in December 2019. It took the better part of a year to conduct. She reviewed eight potential historic districts and 51 individual properties in Reston.

The survey consisted of photos, locational mapping, creating or finding site plans, and a brief written history of the location.

From this, she determined that ten locations were “potentially eligible” for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Potentially eligible” refers to the places that meet the requirements for eligibility for inclusion – meaning they are at least fifty years old (unless in exceptional circumstances), looks much like it did in the past, and has significant historical or architectural value.

However, it’s not up to Hanbury if it will be included on the National Register.

“I can not say that something is eligible for the National Register. That is something that the state department of historic resources also the national park service determines,” Hanbury explains. “But part of this as a professional is to say ‘this is something that I think is potentially eligible.’ Technically, I’m not in power to say that it is [eligible].”

The ten locations are:

  • The Hickory Cluster, a modernist group of densely-grouped townhouses designed by Charles Goodman who was hired by Robert Simon.
  • Waterview Cluster, one of the earliest subdivisions constructed as part of Simon’s plan for Reston. It was designed by Chloethiel Woodard Smith, who owned at one point the largest architecture firm run by a woman in the U.S.
  • Coleson Cluster, built in 1966 and also designed by Smith. The cluster is designed to be walkable and oriented towards public spaces, as opposed to private courtyards.
  • Mediterranean Villa Cluster, a rare example of residences designed by Robert W. Davis. He was much more known for hospitals and office buildings.
  • Golf Course Island Cluster, designed by Louis Sauer who worked and studied with famed architect Louis Kahn and notable urban planner Edmund Bacon (who happens to be Kevin Bacon’s father).
  • Ring Road subdivision, a mix of architecture and building styles focused on a single-family aesthetic that became popular throughout the area in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Wainwright Cluster, a grouping of dense townhouses oriented towards a common space acted as a model for Reston’s master plan.
  • Hidden Creek Golf Course and Reston National Golf Course, both designed by a golf-loving engineer Ed Ault. He became a prolific golf course architect who built over 200 golf courses across the east coast over his career.
  • 12146 Stirrup Road, designed by Ken Bonner and thought to be the first single-family residence built in Reston.

The survey also namechecks several locations that could be eligible once they hit the fifty year benchmark. They include the Atrium condominiums on Roger Bacon Drive, Sheraton Reston Hotel, and the Fairway Cluster. They all will hit their fiftieth birthday over the next few years.

Additionally, there are few places that the study determined merited “further study” ( including Lake Anne Gulf gas station, Fairway Apartments, and Cameron Crescent Apartments) as well as those that are “likely not eligible” due to significant changes that rendered them too different from when they were initially constructed.

Hanbury cautions that the National Register has very particular rules and regulations and is only one measure of historic importance.

“It is one that is commonly used and a good frame of reference,” said Hanbury. “But they are places that aren’t eligible… that are important and can be locally designated.”

After the presentation, a few members of the community spoke mostly commenting on other historical locations in Reston.

One community member asked why a number of golf courses were included considering that, in his understanding, are “environmental deserts” and were mostly used by “super affluent, white people.”

This comment received several retorts, notably that the golf courses were used by Reston’s diverse population and that local wildlife thrived there.

“The reason the falcons over at Reston Town Center have a place to hunt and eat is because of the open fairways that the Reston golf courses offer them,” said a citizen.

The survey will be used to determine what properties have historical value and should be nominated for historical designation.

It could also inform any future changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan, noted Fairfax County Board Supervisor Walter Alcorn of the Hunter Mill District.

“The report includes recommendations for future documentation and preservation efforts,” wrote Blake McDonald of Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources in an email to Reston Now. “[The department] hopes that Fairfax County will pursue some of these recommendations and we look forward to partnering with them on those efforts.

The public can continue to comment on the survey through January 10.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources

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The Reston Association’s project to repair and inspect the Lakes Anne, Audubon and Thoreau dams was scheduled for the second week of December has been rescheduled for the second half of January 2021. 

According to a statement from the Reston Association, the start date for the project was pushed due to delays with both the fabrication of new parts and with shipping. However, the statement says that the shift will lessen the impact on holiday plans the community may have. 

Previously, Lake Audubon was supposed to be lowered to conduct repairs on the riser structure, and the Lake Thoreau dam was supposed to be thoroughly inspected. 

According to Chris Schumaker, the Director of Capital Projects, the Lake Audubon Projects as well as the three spillway inspections should take no more than one month to complete. Lake Audubon is the only lake that needs to be lowered to complete the replacement of its spillway trash racks and several gate valves in addition to the inspection of the outfall pipes. 

Lake Thoreau, Lake Anne and Lake Newport do not require lowering more than a foot to conduct inspections and therefore won’t impact its members, according to Schumaker. 

Photo by Matt Paulson

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Conversations are underway to improve the safety of Lake Anne Dam, which currently does not meet state regulations for handling the largest flood considered when evaluating the dam’s performance.

The state’s Department of Conservations and Floodpain Management has called on Reston. Association, which owns the high-hazard dam, to submit an alteration permit application to increase the spillway capacity so it can manage a high-intensity flood, which is known as the Spillway Design Flood (SDF).

In a letter issued to RA on March 20, Russel Baxter, deputy director of dam safety and floodplain management and water conservation, told RA to submit the alteration permit by Dec. 31. 

Construction work to boost the dam’s spillway capacity should be completed by the end of. 2021, according to the letter.

So far, RA has been issued a Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate because the dam currently does not meet state regulations. The certificate expires on March 31, 2022. RA has previously received conditional operation certificates as well. 

But it’s unclear exactly how alterations would be phased out. Talks are underway to update the state’s dam regulations.

This year, RA’s Board of Directors deferred around $750,000 in funding to accommodate other pending projects in the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Larry Butler, RA’s Chief Operating Officer, told Reston Now that the association is waiting on the state to complete to determine what changes are made to state codes and regulations regarding dams and impounding structure.

“We have no alteration plans at present because we do not know how the code will change,” Butler wrote in a statement. 

When the board met last month, RA’s CEO Hank Lynch noted that the state is working on seating a Technical Advisory Committee to review dam safety regulations.  Lynch said that many dam owners have expressed concerns about “recent changes to the regulations and the owners’ inabilities to satisfy the requirements, both technically and financially.”

“This action has been delayed because of the pandemic,”  Lynch noted.

It can take around two years for the committee to complete its work, which prompted staff to delay any capital funding until new guidance is in place.

In 2017, the state agreed to foot half of the $14,590 bill for a hazard analysis of the dam. High-hazard dams pose the greatest risk to life and property if they fail.

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Next month, Reston Association will be conducting its annual lake inspections on Reston lakes.

The association announced the inspection in a press release Tuesday (Nov. 17). Starting the second week of December, if weather permits, Lakes Anne, Audubon, Newport and Thoreau will all have inspections inside and outside the bodies of water, according to the press release.

“We contract with an engineering firm specialized in this service whose team inspects the inside and outside of the structure and uses divers to look at areas underwater,” the press release said. “To accommodate this inspection, each lake is lowered slightly to prevent water from spilling over the concrete lip that is at the regular lake pool surface level. This lowering typically does not impact activities or boats on the lake.”

Reston Association Watershed Manager William Peterson says these inspections are performed to look for several possible areas of concern.

“Regardless of whether a part of the riser structure is under water or out of the water, we are looking for similar things,” Peterson said. “Essentially, anything that might create a concern. This could include cracks in the concrete, leaks in the control gates, corroded metal for any of the gears, pipes or grates, proper operation of the gates and valves, and more. We want to make sure that our dams are well maintained to ensure the safety of our community and those downstream of each of our lakes.”

Restionians living near any of the four lakes – Anne, Audubon, Newport and Thoreau – should not expect to be affected by the inspections, according to Peterson.

“Typically, the inspections do not affect the residents living near the four lakes,” Peterson said. “Although each riser structure has gates to control the water level, they are always closed except for maintenance purposes. The level of the water for the lakes is typically right at the concrete threshold that allows the lakes to have continuous flow downstream. For the inspections, we lower the levels slightly, typically about a foot, so that water is not flowing inside of the riser structure during the inspection. This helps the inspectors identify possible leaks.”

This year, according to Peterson, Lake Audubon will be lowered a lot more to accommodate the water-overflow.

“Lake Audubon’s water level will be lowered six to eight feet to conduct an inspection on the Thoreau dam outfall, which is on the Lake Audubon side of the dam, Peterson said.” “This is on the opposite side of South Lakes Drive from Thoreau. Although Lake Thoreau will be lowered to prevent water from flowing over the threshold mentioned above, it will not be lowered substantially like Lake Audubon is and should not impact boats on Lake Thoreau.”

For more information about the upcoming lake inspections, visit Reston Association’s website.

Photo via Restion Association/Facebook

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In mid-August, a major and possibly toxic algae bloom blanketed Lake Thoreau following Reston Association’s treatment of an invasive plant in the lake.

The treatment, which RA said was one of several factors that caused the bloom, was conducted much later into the season, making the bloom worse.

Following this issue and subsequent community meetings about lake management, RA CEO Hank Lynch wants to more than double its lake maintenance treatment budget for 2021 budget, which is currently under development. This year’s lake maintenance budget is $31,745, up from $17,103 in 2020’s. budget.

The proposed budget would include up to five algae treatments of Lake Thoreau, up to five algae treatments at Lake Anne, and $18,920 to treat lake Thoreau with sonar pelters in the spring or early summer.

The association also plans to shift from treating the lake with contact herbicides to systemic herbicides earlier in the season to control the hydrilla plant.

“This solution will control the hydrilla before it gets to grow and become a problem in the lake,” according to meeting materials.

The systemic herbicide treatment is much more costly than previously used treatment but will produce more long-lasting results, Lynch said at a Board of Directors’ meeting last week.

RA also hopes to remove water lillies at Lake Newport every few years. Its consultant, Aquatic Environment Consultants, will “continue to monitor to determine the right timing of this treatment,” according to meeting materials.

The removal of primrose and alligator weed at Lake Thoreau on the shoreline and along the dams has also been identified as a pending project. The issue will be addressed based on growing conditions this summer.

The lake will also be stocked with 130 carp — which consume aquatics plants — to help manage the overgrowth of certain aquatic plants like hydrilla. The lake was last stocked in 2017 with 80 carp.

RA will hold another community engagement meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Lake Thoreau and lake environmental health. The meeting will take place online.

Photo by Jeannine Santoro

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Public Art Reston released an updated self-guided art tour through Lake Anne Village Center. 

The “Public Art Tour Series – Lake Anne” goes hand in hand with the “Public Art Tour Series – Reston Town Center” as a way for people to view Reston’s art and history. 

With the new Lake Anne Village Center self-guided tour, people are invited to explore Reston’s history and unique artworks. According to a statement released by the organization, Lake Anne Village Center is the “historic heart of Reston,” and public art has been fully integrated into its design. 

The guided tour takes participants through Lake Anne’s open plazas and along several paths that show off 11 different works art within communal spaces. The tour will also discuss four different temporary projects and programs that took place there, according to the statement. The tour also includes how the public art ties into the architecture of the area.

Public Art Reston encourages visitors to embark on the “Public Art Tour Series- Reston Town Center” tour once they finish Lake Anne. The tour takes participants through the 14 different public art works throughout Reston Town Center. It emphasizes the “urban environment within a suburban setting”, according to the statement. 

Public Art Reston is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire commitment to public art and the new generation of artwork. They are committed to raising awareness to the role of public art in a community, according to the statement. 

Both guides are sold at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and at Reston Association, and can be viewed on the Public Art Reston website.

Photo courtesy of Public Art Reston

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