Lake Audubon’s dredging project is slated to start as soon as Feb. 1.
The Reston Association announced today (Jan. 18) that it plans to hire Lake Services, Inc. to dredge the accumulated sediment from the lake’s main coves. Dredging could begin as early as Feb. 1 with expected completion by the end of April.
The announcement comes five months after residents were warned to avoid the lake after a harmful algae bloom was spotted. The bloom, called Microcystis, can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish and people. Some of the toxins have been linked to liver cancer.
“Routine dredging is part of the association’s lakes maintenance program, which helps to extend the life of the lake,” the press release say. “As lakes age, they eventually fill in through sedimentation.”
Sedimentation occurs when materials such as soil from stream erosion, construction sites, road sand, leaves or other debris accumulate in the lake.
RA anticipates that the dredging will require removing 13,500 cubic yards of material, which will be placed in trucks and hauled to a disposal site in Loudoun County.
While the dredging is underway, locals can expect truck traffic to affect the Lake Audubon Pool’s parking lot, according to the press release.
The dredging operation staging area will be located at the Lake Audubon boat ramp. Dredging will not occur at the shoreline edge or within 5 feet of any dock structure, according to the press release.
Before dredging can begin, RA’s Board of Directors will need to approve the project contract with Lake Services, which is anticipated at the upcoming meeting next Thursday (Jan. 24).
Photo via Reston Association
This week on Then and Now, we’re going back to our roots as seeing how Reston’s iconic lakes have changed over the years. With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now has put together a review of how the area around Lake Thoreau and Lake Audubon has evolved since the lake’s creation.
Like Lake Anne, there was no “South Lakes” in photography from 1960. Reston as a planned community was founded in 1964. Before that, much of what is the South Lakes were forests with a few cut-through roads. Interestingly, where Lake Audubon would be built later there was a large pond.
Lake Thoreau and Lake Audubon were built as reservoirs collecting the runoff created by the rapid urbanization nearby. Lake Thoreau was built in 1970 and Lake Audubon was built in 1971, though from the aerial photography there wasn’t much of a “lake” about Audubon until the late 1980s.
One of the earliest large scale developments in the area was the South Lakes High School, which opened in 1978 on 600 acres of land with an “open classroom” design.
The school was not broken into individual classrooms, a plan teachers and students discovered early on was ineffective and distracting. They wound up building temporary barriers until more permanent ones built in 2006 killed the open classroom idea for good.
Langston Hughes Middle School was originally an intermediate school for South Lakes High School, but in 1980 it was officially renamed the Langston Hughes Intermediate School, then Langston Hughes Middle School in the early 1990s.
By 1980, new residential developments had sprung up along the northern and southern edges of Lake Thoreau.
In 1984, the South Lakes Shopping Center opened, marking the last major shift in the area, though the design of that area could be undergoing some visible changes.
Between 1990 and 2017, most of the changes to the area involved the filling in of residential developments in the vicinity of the lake. In 2006, South Lakes High School also expanded and the aforementioned open-space classroom model was eliminated.
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Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker highlighted some of the “key” projects slated for 2019 in a Reston Association video.
Originally developed in 1965, the Hook Road Recreation Area will see architectural and engineering changes. The area, which has remained largely unchanged since tennis and baseball amenities were added in 1973, was identified for major revitalization in 2016 after a review of facility enhancements approved by RA’s Board of Directors.
Bathroom renovations are slated for Lake Newport Pool (11601 Lake Newport Road).
A dredging project will begin for Lake Audubon. Residents were warned in September to avoid the lake after a harmful algae bloom was spotted. The bloom, called Microcystis, can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish, and people. Some toxins have been linked to liver cancer.
Nestled in the woods, the Walker Nature Education Center will receive accessibility improvements.
A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, Schumaker told RA’s board at a meeting last Thursday (Dec. 13).
Finished ones included renovating the Pony Barn, located at the corner of Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown Road, to include an ADA-accessible parking lot, bathroom and pathway, along with adding concrete flooring to the pavilion and grill station. The project also included a new drainage system and playground.
The Central Services Facility at 12250 Sunset Hills Road had a “major transformation” with new energy efficient windows, a new HVAC and bathroom facilities and improvements for accessibility and security. The building had not been updated since it was built in 1982, Schumaker said.
Dredging was completed for Lake Thoreau this year. “Removing the sediment helps improve the overall health of the lake for many years to come,” Schumaker said.
Some of this year’s projects nearing completion include new flooring, paint, fixtures and lighting in the Glade Room at 11550 Glade Drive and tree removal along the dam at Butler Pond at 1145 Water Pointe Lane.
Photos via Reston Association/YouTube
Plans to restore roughly 800 linear feet of Lake Audubon’s streams were approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board Tuesday night. The project, called Snakeden, would involve tree removal, stream construction and revegetation along RA’s parcels between Cedar Cove Cluster and Wakerobin Lane.
Meghan Fellows, the county’s manager of watershed projects, said a design team has been working on the project, with the input of RA, property owners and residents, for nearly three years.
“The stream is desperately in need of some assistance,” Fellows said at the DRB meeting, noting that portions of the area are degrading significantly.
Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he hopes the project team will minimize the loss of trees by tweaking designs and implementation to conserve trees — even if it meant a minor tweak to save just one tree.
The project was challenged by the need to secure easements across private property and Reston Association property to construct the stream. Land rights for the project were obtained in June following a more than a year-long period of tree and stream surveys and conceptual planning.
After a cycle of revisions, permits were granted in October. After receiving final approval for designs, drawings and permits in the spring of next year, construction is likely to begin in the summer, Fellows said.
Overall, several sanitary crossings in the area are exposed and RA found that 40 trees are likely to fall down if no action is taken. Trees will be replanted during later phases of the project.
County staff estimates the project will cost under $1 million.
Photos via handout/Reston Association
Stay away from Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau — A toxic algae bloom spotted at the lakes two weeks ago remains, so Reston Association staff are encouraging residents to avoid contact with the water. Pets also shouldn’t swim or drink from the lakes. [Reston Association]
Silver Line investigation continues — Metro’s Office of the Inspector General announced Wednesday that it’ll take over an investigation into flawed concrete in phase two of the Silver Line extension project. The effort is currently overseen by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. [The Washington Post, WMATA]
A natural recovery at Sunrise Valley Elementary School — When a renovation project at the school required the removal of trees to maintain line of sight for pedestrians and drivers, Reston Association, the school system and two design firms partnered to restore a natural area at the school. The area is now a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and other animals. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
A harmful algae bloom spotted on Lake Audubon a little over a week ago remains on the lake. The bloom, called Microcystis, was can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish, and people. Some toxins have been linked to liver cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency says Microcystis is a common form of algae that is “almost always toxic.” It resembles a green, thick, paint-like material and tends to gather along shores.
As the algae bloom continues, Reston Association is advising all residents to avoid contact with the water. Pets should not swim in or drink from the water.
In a statement, RA said consultants have indicated a drop in the temperature of the water will help get rid of the bloom.
Also, purple and green clumps floating on the surface of Lake Thoreau were identified as Plankothrix algae, which can also produce toxins. Residents should also avoid contact with that water.
Thus far, no toxicity tests have been conducted by RA.
Photo by Reston Association
The results of the 35th annual Reston Triathlon are in the books. The community race, which happened on Sunday, drew contestants and participants despite the rain.
A harmful algae bloom on Lake Audubon, discovered on Thursday, forced Reston Association to cancel the swim portion of the triathlon. As of Monday (September 10), RA advises against touching the water, which has algae that can produce toxins that are lethal to livestock, fish, and people.
The overall winners in the male division were:
- Sean Pinkney, 34: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 16 seconds
- Jacob Gilden, 30: 2:07:25
- Noah Kennedy, 21: 2:07:30
In the female division, overall winners were:
- Raquel Torres, 37: 2 hours, 10 minutes, 17 seconds
- Ekaterina Pinkney, 34: 2:23:26
- Kristine Wooten, 30: 2:28:18
In the individual age groups, the winners were:
- Sean Pinkney, 34, Male: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 16 seconds
- Jacob Gilden, 30, Male: 2:07:25
- Noah Kennedy, 21, Male: 2:07:30
- Bryan Rivera, 34, Male: 2:08:25
- Andrew Gyenis, 24, Male: 2:08:54
- Raquel Torres, 37, Female: 2:10:17
- Kevin Wright, 29, Male: 2:11:33
- Wiehan Peyper, 32, Male: 2:16:52
- Paul Cutler, 50, Male: 2:18:31
- Ryan Luczak, 17, Male: 2:18:31
Neil Medoff and Rich Uhrig also received an award for perfect attendance. They attended every Reston Triathlon for the last 35 years.
Photos via Reston Triathlon/Facebook and Brian Kent
In a preliminary dive into next year’s budget on Monday, Reston Association’s Board of Directors and members of its fiscal committee explored ways to navigate a possible increase in assessments next year.
The increase may be necessary to offset additional expenses and new capital projects, according to RA officials. A major driver of expenses is a $50,000 increase in health insurance premiums for staff and $215,000 to pay for unanticipated lease payments for the lease of RA’s headquarters. Although staff hiring savings of $90,000 are expected to offset some expenses, the association has also seen an increase in lawsuits, amounting to roughly $30,000. Revenues from the Lake House and tennis courts are also down, said Larry Butler, RA’s Acting CEO.
Other expenses include a $60,000 state-mandated reserve study, $40,000 in software updates, $44,000 to add dechlorination systems for pools, $30,000 for a new billing and collections software and $20,000 for targeted marketing. The dredged of Lake Audubon, which was pushed from this year to next year, is expected to cost $850,000. Projected cost estimates for improvements to Hook Road are also expected to be a major expense next year.
Butler pitched several budgeting strategies for next year’s budget. On the top of the list is a proposed 2.5 percent in membership dues or annual RA assessments. Other alternatives include cutting expenses by 2.5 percent, dipping into investment earnings for $35,000, and the use of RA’s operating reserves.
RA Board President Andy Sigle suggested that staff continue to explore ways to balance the budget with RA’s operating reserve, which was also used to pay the Lake House loan. A stronger understanding of the projected year-end balance for the operating fund was necessary to determine whether or not to increase assessments, Sigle said.
Board member Julie Bitzer also stressed the need to ensure budgeted amounts are conservative and realistic, citing that RA budgeting for a decrease in lease payments for its headquarters location, only to later discover a decrease was not expected.
RA staff and the board will take a second dive into the budget by presenting draft two of the budget in late September. Following a series of listening sessions with members, the fiscal committee will receive the budget in late October. The budget is approved at a November meeting by the board following additional member input opportunities and amendments.
Photo via Reston Association
RTC West+ — JBG Smith plans major additions to RTC West, which, for now, is essentially an office park with a touch of retail. [Washington Business Journal]
Death ruled a drowning – An autopsy determined that Kevin Ruby’s cause of death was drowning, with the contributing cause of cardiovascular disease. Ruby drowned during a popular race on Lake Audubon in late May. [Fairfax County Police Department]
First PRC work session tomorrow — The first workgroup meeting regarding transportation as the county considers a plan to increase Reston’s population density is set for tomorrow at 12005 Sunrise Valley Drive. [Reston Today]
Twitter user @MrErrett
A Reston Association working group created to analyze rules governing lakes, docks and boats kicked off it meetings on June 13 (Wednesday).
RA’s board of directors formed the group on March 22 in response to residents’ concerns about outdated boating policies, enforcement issues and overall usage of local lakes. The group will provide recommendations to the board in November.
During the first meeting, members received information on Reston’s lakes, as well as the type and number of boats and docks currently allowed.
The group’s objectives include identification of the environmental impact of docks and boats, a review of current rules and policies and whether or not rules infringe on lakeside property owners’ use of their properties.
The presentation given to the working group is linked here.
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
The body of a 45-year-old swimmer was recovered Monday afternoon from Lake Audubon.
Kevin Ruby was competing in the 31st annual Jim McDonnell Lake Swim when a family member noticed he was missing for more than an hour. Ruby finished a one-mile race but never showed up at the end of race two, which covers two miles.
Police believe Ruby may have drowned. Foul play is not suspected and a medical examiner will determine the cause of death, police said.
More than 600 people participated in the event. Swimmers wore bracelets, which were used to check in and out of the event. Event organizers were not immediately available for comment.
Remi Currell, who was a guard at the event, said the event was handled professionally.
“This sort of accident is not exclusive to our race. There is no way to completely [foolproof] this type of event, and the only way I can think of making it safer is to have one lifeguard per person, which is impossible.”
Police and fire and rescue personnel searched the area from Sunday noon through the night. The helicopter-assisted search resumed Monday. Ruby’s body was found around 12:45 p.m. that day.
Nearly three years ago, a 63-year-old man participating in the swim died after losing consciousness during the event.
The event happens at a Reston Association lake, but is organized by the Reston Masters Swim Team.
The team issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
Reston Masters is honored to have had Mr. Ruby compete at our Jim McDonnell Lake Swims for many years. He was a very talented top finisher. Earlier Sunday morning Mr. Ruby won his age group in the 1-mile race with a time of 23:38.
As part of all our races, Fairfax County on-water EMS staff are an integral part of our operations. We are especially grateful for the timely and extensive additional support from Fairfax County Police and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue.
Please join Reston Masters in keeping Kevin Ruby in our hearts and memories as an accomplished distance swimmer.
Photo by Fairfax County Police Department and Jessica Peachey
The Reston Masters Swim Team will host the 31st annual Jim McDonnell Lake Swim on Sunday at Lake Audubon.
The swim has been held every Memorial Day weekend since 1988, according to the team’s website. In 1999, it was named in honor of McDonnell, a founding member of the team who was on the committee that first organized the swim. McDonnell died from lymphoma in 2016.
“Reston Masters is excited to host the 2018 U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) Middle Distance Open Water National Championship,” said Reston Masters President Brian Evans. “Our 2-mile swim is the kickoff race of the USMS championship series and we are ready to deliver a top-notch, well-organized experience for JMLS competitors.”
Up to 200 swimmers will vie for national champion status. Swimmers take part in a two-mile open water loop around Lake Audubon. This year, two visually impaired swimmers are competing, along with a young woman trying to qualify for the U.S. Special Olympics
A practice swim will take place on Saturday.
Proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Lymphoma charities. In the past, recipients have included Herndon-Reston Fish, Inc. and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
More information about the event is available online.
Here’s more about the event from the organizers:
Swimmers of all abilities compete every year. This year’s field includes elite swimmers like 66-year old Shirley Loftus-Charley, a USMS All-American and All-Stars champion and record holder, who is competing in her 31st consecutive JMLS.
Swimmers in the 30-34 year age group will be watching out for distance swimmer and triathlete Shannon Greene. Shannon has placed first in the 1-mile race three times, and has taken first in the 2-mile twice.
“You can expect to see some fast swim times,” said Evans.
One swimmer is hoping to score a qualifying time to compete with Special Olympics USA, and two visually impaired swimmers are also taking on the challenge.
Competitors will swim counter-clockwise around buoys over a 1-mile course. Those swimming the 2-mile race will make the trip twice.
Photo by Ryan Dawson
The Walker Nature Center’s Spring Festival is back next week, featuring a recycling clown magic show, crafts for kids, and live entertainment.
The free event will be held May 5 from 1-5 p.m. Song Garden, Hickory Grove, and other artists will perform acoustic music live throughout the festival.
There will be $5, half hour canoe and kayak rentals at Lake Audubon, as well as fishing activities, a native plant sale, and information from local environmental groups.
The entertainment schedule is as follows:
- 1:30-2 p.m. — Blue Sky Puppet Theater: The Three Green Pigs
- 2:45-3:30 p.m. — Teddy the Recycling Clown: Magic Show
- 4-4:45 p.m. — Reptiles Alive: Live Animal Show
Parking will be available at Glade and Soapstone Drives as well as at Glade Pool.
Photo courtesy of Reston Association
Public Art Reston’s fourth annual ChalkFest kicks off today with professional artists beginning their work, but the big day for the event is Saturday. That’s when, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event is open to artists of all ages and talents.
That’s just one of many events going on around the area this weekend, though. This is officially the last weekend of summer, as the autumnal equinox comes a week from today and brings with it the fall season. The weather forecast calls for plenty of sun and temperatures in the 80s all weekend, though there are chances of a few afternoon showers.
Have fun out there!
(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)
- The JamBrew series continues tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Nordic Knot Pretzels will provide tasty snacks, and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from DJ Ragz, The DuskWhales and JUXT. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).
- Speaking of Aslin Beer Co., it will be celebrating its two-year anniversary Saturday at 771 Elden St., which will become its permanent home in the coming months. The event, slated for noon to 6 p.m., will feature dozens of guest breweries along with food trucks, live music and much more. General admission is $35, which includes an anniversary glass and five 6-ounce pours.
- There will be an improv show, presented by Reflex Improv, tonight from 8-9:30 p.m. at Café Montmartre (1625 Washington Plaza).
- Traditional music trio Lulu’s Fate will perform Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). Tickets are $15.
- “Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
- The Herndon Kids Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave.). Registration for the event is full; however, volunteers are still needed to help.
- The Susco 8K and 2K fun run, to promote brain aneurysm and organ donation awareness, will take place Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at South Lakes High School. Registration ($40 for the 8K, $25 for the 2K) can be done the morning of the event.
- Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will host Kevin Patti from Clara Barton National Historic Site (National Parks Service) from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. He will present “Between the Bullet and the Hospital,” using photos from the Civil War era to explore the dangers Barton faced and the accomplishments she achieved.
- Explore the history of Lake Audubon on a guided canoe/kayak exploration from 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday. No experience is necessary, and all equipment (including canoes and kayaks) will be provided. Cost is $10 for RA members and $12 for non-members.
- Curiosity Day at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.), Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include an appearance by Curious George himself, story time, crafts and more.
- Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will be performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55. A package experience for the Sunday matinee that includes brunch at PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) is available.
- Floris United Methodist Church (13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon) will present a concert of Christian music through the decades from 5-8 p.m. Sunday. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in an outfit from their favorite decade.
- Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
- Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Rusty Cage tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.
- Musician Patty Reese will be performing Saturday from 8-11 p.m. at The Tasting Room Wine Bar and Shop (1816 Library St.).
Adrian Hollands knew “Orca,” the 20-foot pontoon boat he bought from his Lake Chapel Lane neighbor, is longer than what is allowed on Reston’s lakes per the Reston Deed.
His covenants appeal that was brought before the Reston Association Board of Directors last week (video) failed after a lengthy discussion that delved into conversation about how closely the Board should adhere to the Deed.
“The Deed was written so many years ago that every now and again, we should probably be looking through the Deed and saying, ‘What doesn’t make sense anymore?'” Board President Sherri Hebert said. “[But] it’s not as easy as just taking a vote to change our Deed and change those rules. It’s a pretty complicated process.”
CEO Cate Fulkerson said that in 2003, the section of the Deed regarding boats was considered in advance of the referendum to amend the Deed, which took place in 2006.
“As opposed to eliminating this particular covenant, it was actually strengthened to include the width of the boats,” Fulkerson said. “That was considered and put to community comment.”
Section VI.2(b)(9) of the Reston Deed states that “[e]xcept for emergencies or Association authorized maintenance, no boats greater than eighteen feet in overall length and ten feet in overall width and no boats powered by or equipped with internal combustion engines shall be allowed on the lakes.”
In 2008, seven property owners whose boats were longer than 18 feet were issued nontransferable grandfather exemptions. When Hollands purchased “Orca” from his neighbor, the Covenants Committee said, the exemption for that boat was invalidated.
Hollands, who said the cost of modifying the boat for compliance would be more than $5,000, provided the Board with 36 signed petitions from Lake Audubon neighbors who had no issue with his boat being 20 feet in length. Hollands said while no one seems sure why the Deed sets the limit at 18 feet, he has heard it comes from 18-foot townhouse widths on Lake Anne.
“Suffice it to say that I don’t know how Reston Association or RHOA at the time came up with this rule,” Hollands said in a written comment provided to the Board, “but as with many rules, laws and regulations, they are well intended but not necessarily the right course of action.”
RA member Irwin Flashman addressed the Board and said he feared that if it begins picking and choosing which parts of the Deed to follow and to ignore based on convenience, it would lose all credibility and legal standing.
“If you fail to enforce your covenants, you risk the next time you go to court, having the court say, ‘Oh, but you don’t enforce it yourself and you’re asking the court to do that?” he said. “It would undercut the Reston Association’s authority and this Board’s authority.”
Each Board director spoke on the issue, most agreeing that while Hollands’ plight is unfortunate and he made good points, it is important to abide by the rules set in the Deed and not become a “court.”
“I hate this, because it’s a dumb, arbitrary number,” said At-Large Director Eric Carr. “[But] it would take us down a slippery slope, where when somebody doesn’t want to enforce something, they’re going to say ‘You chose not to enforce this in the past because you thought it was dumb.'”
At-Large Director Ray Wedell, however, said what should be of the most importance to everybody is to “adhere [to] common sense and what’s in the best interest in the community.”
“To say that somehow we have to be the guardians of this strict rule written 50-some-odd years ago on each and every issue or else … is opening us up to incredible bureaucracy,” he said. “I think we use the Deed as a crutch to never do anything sometimes.”
The covenants appeal was denied by a vote of 8-1, with Wedell casting the lone dissenting vote.
“I’m proud to be the one,” he said at the conclusion of the vote.
The Board took legal counsel in executive session to further discuss the process of considering changes to the Deed.
Image via Reston Association