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
Erosion has contributed to the exposure of eight sewer lines in the hillside leading from South Lakes Drive to Lake Audubon. If significant action is not taken, Reston could face serious environmental and public health situation.
That was the takeaway from a long discussion at Reston Association’s Board of Directors meeting Thursday, where the board passed several motions to commit money to study the issue and continue pressing Fairfax County officials to act on the issue.
“This is a health hazard waiting to happen,” said RA land use attorney John McBride, who warned that recent events in Flint, Mich., where a money-saving effort to change the water supply resulted in dangerous lead contamination.
Granted, Reston does not get its drinking water from Lake Audubon, but it is a popular recreational spot, and boaters, swimmers and pets who enter the lake could be severely affected. (more…)
Reston Association and residents who live in neighborhoods across from South Lakes High School are increasing their efforts to bring awareness — and hopefully, action — about stormwater runoff eroding the land nearby.
Water from the school area runs under South Lakes Drive to a steep, downhill drainage ditch that runs between Cedar Cover Cluster and Wakerobin Lane into Lake Audubon. Fairfax County Public Schools officials say a planned 40,000-square-foot addition, as well as more than 100 additional parking spaces, will not add to the stormwater runoff.
Residents say they have dealt with soggy ground for years, and they expect the planned addition for the high school will only make the problem worse. Meanwhile, the school system applied for and received a waiver to meet updated runoff regulations, rather than new ones that went into effect last summer.
“Residents of Wakerobin and Cedar Cover Cluster have been plagued for more than two decades with the ever-growing ditch between our two developments,” Terry Maynard, a Wakerobin resident, told the RA Board in December.