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Stream Restoration at Locust Shade Park

A Mile of Stream Restoration at Locust Shade Park and A True Public-Private Partnership!

On Aug. 10, 2012, the Prince William County (PWC) Department of Parks and Recreation (PWC Parks), the PWC Department of Public Works, and Angler Environmental (AE) celebrated the completion of nearly a mile of stream restoration at Locust Shade Park. In total, 5160 LF of highly degraded stream was restored through a public-private partnership involving all above parties.

Starting off at the Marigold Pavilion at Locust Shade Park, PWC Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan introduced the project, highlighting the rich history of the park and the value of the natural resources it contains. Supervisory Caddigan was followed by Debbie Andrew, the Operations Planning and Administration Director at PWC Parks. After introducing key project members, Ms. Andrew described the public-private partnership that initiated the work at Locust Shade and how that partnership has benefitted PWC Parks in general. Don Seaborn of AE, the designer and contractor for the project, reiterated Ms. Andrew’s emphasis on the partnership’s value and the benefits generated for the private sector as well as the public. Marc Aveni of PWC Department of Public Works, Watershed Management Branch, also spoke to the importance of the extensive stream restoration in light of the newly imposed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for counties. After introductory remarks closed, the speakers and audience members walked the trail down to the stream where the AE project manager and stream designer discussed the ecological and technical facets of the restoration. The event closed with a ribbon cutting ceremony across the stream to commemorate the project.

Prior to the restoration, stream conditions at the park included highly incised banks, significant bank erosion, and a tortuous meander pattern. These factors contributed to downstream sediment accumulation in Chopawamsic Creek and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.  In response, 5,160 LF of stream restoration was implemented via Natural Stream Design techniques. Restoration efforts created stable stream channels, protected riparian communities, and improved the health of the watershed as a whole.

This restoration is the first completed project of the Prince William Environmental Bank (PWEB), a stream mitigation bank serving the Potomac Watershed in Northern Virginia. PWEB is a public-private partnership between PWC Department of Public Works, PWC Parks, and Angler Environmental (Angler). While PWC provides oversight, access to park land, and long-term stewardship of the project, Angler provides all design and construction services to implement the stream bank. In total, PWEB will restore or preserve approximately 22 miles of stream and conserve over 900 acres of land in PWC parks.

In this collaboration, the private entity - Angler Environmental – assumes all costs related to the bank’s design, construction, and management, while the public entity – PWC Parks - provides the land for stream restoration and receives improved water resources at no public expense. 

In addition to environmental benefits, PWEB generates a new source of revenue for PWC Parks, which receives a percentage of revenue from mitigation credit sales, shared with the mitigation banker, Angler.  PWC Parks earns this revenue at zero cost, with full funding and liability for the bank assumed by Angler. The first wave of credit sales produced almost $400,000 for PWC Parks, which will continue to receive payments on a long-term basis with each credit sale. It is estimated that PWC Parks will receive approximately $3.4M over the course of this project. While PWC Parks and Angler share revenue from credits sold by the bank, PWC receives priority credits for its capital improvement projects and keeps mitigation improvements within the county. 

A potential pathway to environmental and economic sustainability at the local level, PWEB is the first of its kind in Virginia, and possibly the first in the United States. While restoration will improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River, and numerous local watersheds, PWEB also facilitates long-term stewardship of public park lands.

PWEB was commended by the National Association of Counties as a 2010 Achievement Award Winner, and was presented as an educational session at the National Recreation and Park Association Annual Congress in Atlanta, GA. Angler also presented information on this bank at the Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington, VA and at the American Ecological Engineering Society conference in Ashville, NC.

Involved with six wetland and stream mitigation banks, Angler Environmental is a full-service environmental consulting and ecological construction firm. Headquartered in Prince William County, VA, Angler has over 80 employees and branch offices in Richmond, VA and Odenton, MD. They provide water resource consulting, engineering, and construction services to preserve and protect environmentally sensitive areas.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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