Reston, VA

Updated on Feb. 1 to correct information on the project phase and jurisdiction receiving funding

Despite being approved more than two years ago, the construction phase of the restoration of Sugarland Run (South) Stream still hasn’t begun.

The $1.2 million project remains in the design phase, according to the Town of Herndon’s deputy Director of Public Works John Irish, though it’s expected to be completed by May.

The project will improve stormwater systems, stabilize erosion along streambanks, prevent flooding, and ensure the stream meets requirements for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, first established in 2010. It will do this by planting vegetation, in-stream structure placement, and installing brush mattress.

The conditions along the stream banks and stream valley have been deteriorating in recent years.

The project will also restore a portion of the stream that flows near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing.

The town received $200,000 from Fairfax County for the design work, which includes the geomorphic assessment, surveying, and public outreach meetings.

Irish writes to Reston Now in an email that this phase is “approximately 95% completed.”

In all, the design phase will end up taking up nearly three years. This is due to Herndon being asked by the county to apply for and, then, waiting for a state grant.

A stream condition assessment and negotiation of a fee that met budgetary guidelines also took time, writes Irish.

All in all, design work didn’t start until February 2020.

After designs are completed in May, they will be sent to the county with a request for one million dollars for construction. Once those funds are received, Herndon will advertise for construction bids.

Despite seemingly a long way to go in the process, Irish says construction is still expected to start this summer and completed within six months of the awarded contractor being given the go-ahead.

That means the project could be completed by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

The initial funding agreement did estimate the project could take up to four years, so the project theoretically could still be completed on time if not early.

However, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services tells Reston Now that this particular project is “lower priority” as part of their full Sugarland Run Watershed Management Plan, which was first adopted in 2010.

It remains unclear how this assessment will impact the expected providing of one million dollars to the Town of Herndon for construction and completion of Sugarland Run Stream restoration later this year.

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The research phase of local stream restoration projects at Snakeden and Glade has begun following the completion of the first phase of the projects.

According to a news release by Reston Association, crews from Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. will mark boundaries of the wetlands with pink flags as the locations are reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

RA anticipates the work will begin in late October and continue through the end of the year.

Here’s more from RA on the project:

The research being undertaken is a partnership between Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., Northern Virginia Stream Restoration, LC, Resource Protection Group, Inc., and state and federal agencies to further the science of stream restoration and ecology.

This research program has already provided grants to the U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Commonwealth University, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin additional monitoring and research in these streams, with more grants to follow. As these groups begin to plan their work, RA members will see their staff and vehicles periodically in these watersheds as they prepare for monitoring this spring. USGS will develop a website to disseminate the resulting information.

The $1 million restoration of the Snakeden Branch Stream, which flows into Lake Audubon, began in October 2019. The project, which spans 750 feet, aimed to improve water quality, protect the ecosystem, improve wildlife habitat and remove invasive species around the area.

Photo by Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank

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Stream restoration efforts are underway at Colvin Run Stream Valley at Wiehle South.

The Reston Association released a video on Tuesday (Feb. 5) detailing the project’s progress, which is expected to be finished by the summer.

Construction crews are working on small sections of the stream at a time as they use track equipment and various sizes of rocks to raise the bottom of the stream, according to the video. The rock is meant to reconnect the stream with the flood plain.

The Reston Association is working with the Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc., a consulting group that has designed and restored streams for Reston before. The Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank is funding the project.

Once the project is finished, the area will be stabilized with erosion netting and native plant seeds will be planted sometime in the fall, according to the video.

Until then, caution signs mark the walkable paths around the work site, which will only be closed during construction hours.

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Representatives from the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank (NVSRB), which include wetland experts and staff from the Reston Association (RA), have issued updates over the past week, informing residents of the status of various local stream restoration projects, and warning of new projects set to begin in November.

Currently, restoration of the streams at Brown’s Chapel Park and Vantage Hill is underway, and RA staff said the areas will be under construction through the end of the year. Staff posted on the RA website last week reminding local residents that the areas are closed during working hours, and asked everyone not to cross the gates or safety fences.

Construction at Brown’s Chapel Park is expected to be completed in December, and at Vantage Hill in January.

In November, restoration of Lake Anne East, near Inlet Cluster, and Lake Anne West, near Waterview Cluster, is set to begin.

Restoration of the Buttermilk and Tall Oaks streams are scheduled for early 2018.

RA staff said they expect construction of all stream channels to be completed by fall of 2018.

RA staff said that they expect all wood acquired for the project will be used in the construction of thestreams themselves, but that any wood that is left over will be split into firewood and will be made available to Reston residents at Brown’s Chapel Park in the lot near the upper ball fields.

Once all restoration construction is complete, RA staff said hundreds of new trees will be planted along Reston’s streams. Read More

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