Prince William to Start Largest Stream Restoration
DUMFRIES, Va. — Environmentalists will work to bring back a stream on the brink.
Next fall, Prince William County plans to spend $2 million to restore Dewey’s Creek – a small stream that flows for about a mile from U.S. 1 in Woodbridge to Quantico Creek in Dumfries.
At 6,400-feet long at a cost of $300 per restored foot, this is the largest stream restoration project the county has ever attempted. The greatest completed so far was a stream 1,200 feet long.
Dewey’s Creek is littered with debris, old TV sets and trash, and log jams. Because the stream water flow has shifted direction so many times, cables anchoring power lines to the ground now sit in the middle of the water.
Especially troubling is the condition of the ground at a culvert where the stream flows underneath U.S. 1. Soil along the stream bank is pulling away from the concrete and that could cause the culvert to become unstable. Trees that sit along the stream bank are already having a hard time staying rooted in the ground due to erosion.
“A lot of these [culverts] were born out of the best intentions, but was we find after years of research, it shows us the ways streams were designed to manage storm water, it’s no longer the best practice,” said Prince William Environmental Engineer Clay Morris.
Morris is leading the effort to restore the stream, and said Prince William is one of a handful of counties in the area using their own funds for stream restoration. Because the project is being handled “in house,” Morris’ team can begin working once the project has reached the 60-percent completion rate in the design phase.
The restoration effort will be broken up into four segments, and each has a different set of challenges.
Segment one will entail creating a new channel for the stream to flow through to get water away from power lines, then filling in older portions of the stream. They’ll also build a Newberry Riffle, as crews will add new rocks in the center of the stream to control water flow.
Segment two will see the addition of a Bankfull Bench, which actually lets water out of the stream bank in cases of heavy rainfall and flood.
Subsequent sections of the stream will see reforestation and other improvements.
Dewey’s Creek eventually spills into Quantico Bay, which as of late has been the focus of Dumfries officials who want to fight an invasive underwater plant, Hydrilla. While officials have urged dredging Qauntico Bay to rid the waterway of the weed, there are no plans to in place to do so.
The restoration could take about a year to complete.