County Seeks Input On Little Hunting Creek

County Seeks Input On Little Hunting Creek

Fairfax County will sponsor a Draft Plan Review Workshop on Dec. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg Middle School, to seek citizen input on the first draft of the watershed management plan for Little Hunting Creek.

There will be an orientation for those new to the plan at 6 p.m. and the full plan will be presented at 6:30 p.m.

At 7 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to tour stations where elements of the plan will be described by project engineers. Participants will review and contribute to ideas for restoring the watershed.

The county will develop similar plans for all 30 of its watersheds, the areas that drain to particular streams, all of which empty into the Potomac River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

THE LITTLE HUNTING CREEK watershed management plan provides a consistent basis for evaluating problems and implementing solutions.

The goal is to protect and restore the stream and related natural resources, such as wildlife habitat.

As part of the development of each management plan, county staff are working with local communities to generate solutions to problems identified in their watersheds.

"The goal is to have the best possible plan for the community, by the community," said Fred Rose, of the county's Stormwater Management Branch.

THE LITTLE HUNTING CREEK watershed planning process began in December 2002, and will be completed by spring 2004.

The county has hired the team of Woolpert LLP and the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation to encourage community involvement, analyze data on existing watershed problems, and provide recommendations on how to solve them.

The community involvement process includes a steering committee comprised of 14 community representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, conservation groups and other local interests.

In addition to seeking input from the steering committee, the county held a public watershed forum in July and conducted two focus groups to gain insight into how the plan should be developed.

THE WORKSHOP ON DEC. 3, will showcase the strategy proposed by the community and local businesses for restoring the watershed of Little Hunting Creek.

Little Hunting Creek originates in Huntley Meadows Park and flows into the Potomac River at Mount Vernon. With its major tributaries, North Branch and Paul Spring Branch, it drains an 11.25-square mile watershed that is primarily residential and commercial, including the Route 1 corridor.

A recently completed physical assessment of more than 800 miles of streams in Fairfax County, combined with ongoing biological monitoring by local volunteers, has provided valuable information on current conditions in Little Hunting Creek. This watershed suffers from problems common to older, developed urban watersheds, such as paved land cover, loss of natural buffers, flooding, stream bank erosion, polluted runoff and trash.