Your Views: Council should lead on stream restoration

Your Views: Council should lead on stream restoration
The walking path through Chinquapin Park. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

I’m all for balancing interests, that is, when the interests of both sides are actually heard. Once again, Transportation & Environmental Services went forward with grant applications without securing public input.

This time it was for two “stream restoration” projects that promise – at least without much more analysis – to needlessly destroy mature tree canopies and volumes of plant life at Taylor Run in Chinquapin Park and Strawberry Run, located off of Ft. Williams Parkway in the West End.

With all the controversy brewing over these projects, it would seem that City Council should really hear out the community this time, do the proper analysis and arrive at right answers.

In the case of Taylor Run, council should implore T&ES to prove their thesis: that high phosphorous and nitrogen levels actually exist in the stream bed. The on site testing has never been performed, and until it has, the community will just view the project as unnecessary destruction of 270 trees in one of our only parks with a mature tree canopy and a natural stream. And the more cynical will say it’s all part of the current council’s plan for overdeveloping the city.

In the case of Strawberry Run, council should implore T&ES to do a thorough review of the terrible failure of its last attempt at stream restoration there in 2010. That project likely led to more sediment runoff than if the city had done nothing at all.

T&ES needs to do the work and furnish the scientific and engineering basis for each project. So, it’s up to council to make it happen, particularly with the city’s own Environmental Policy Commission’s recent letter opposing the Taylor Run project.

There’s plenty of time. The city is already ahead of schedule in meeting Virginia Department of Environmental Quality stormwater runoff mandates by 2028. There might also be time to have more discussion with the community about ways to meet all the state mandates within the remaining seven years. -Bill Rossello, Alexandria