Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Increasing Potential Flooding in Alexandria

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Increasing Potential Flooding in Alexandria

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to issue or deny a 404 permit for the Potomac Yard Metro Station Alternative B project (PYMS) to destroy wetlands, some of which permanently, and void a long-held protective covenant is based on the public interest review. The public interest review involves an analysis of the foreseeable impacts the proposed project would have on public interest factors, such as environmental concerns, wetlands, safety, economics, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, water quality, historic properties, aesthetics, and others. The benefits and detriments to all public interest factors relevant to each case are to be critically and carefully evaluated.

The public “safety” and "floodplain hazards" categories are now especially strong ones, given the massive, environmentally unsustainable degree of development in the Potomac Yard watershed abutting PYMS Alternative B and ever-expanding impervious surface that is the main cause of catastrophic and deadly flooding experienced throughout the D.C. region today.

Filling wetlands, removing mature tree canopy, and using tidal wetlands as a conduit to the tidal Potomac River for stormwater management will greatly exacerbate the dangerous flooding already experienced along the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) at the Alternative B site. Climate change effects will increasingly potentiate major flooding here if inappropriately sited projects like Alternative B are built in major floodplains and wetlands.

What city officials and project planners continue to fail to recognize is that these impacts cannot be mitigated off site — or at all if adding more impervious surface is the plan. If Alternative B is built, as opposed to practicable alternatives A and B-CSX which would do no such environmental harm, Alexandria and all users of the GWMP will be needlessly threatened with unsafe conditions when using the parkway.

C. Dara