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VDOT agrees to support Scotts Run stream restoration in McLean

Scotts Run stream seen from Old Dominion Drive (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Fairfax County has sealed the deal on a plan to restore a portion of Scotts Run stream parallel to the Capital Beltway.

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved an agreement today (Tuesday) with the Virginia Department of Transportation, which will contribute almost $1.4 million to the project’s design and construction.

The project will restore approximately 4,900 linear feet of stream between Old Dominion Drive and Lewinsville Road in McLean, “providing nutrient reduction and improved water quality in the Scotts Run watershed,” according to a staff report.

The county will fund the remaining $5.2 million needed for the project, which carries a total estimated cost of $6.6 million.

The agreement with VDOT had been in the works since 2020, as county officials called on the state to help address the anticipated environmental impact of extending the I-495 Express Lanes from the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons past the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Construction on the 2.5-mile 495 NEXT road project began in late May.

Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation have an agreement to restore part of Scotts Run stream in McLean (via Fairfax County)

The agreement deals with just one part of a larger effort to restore Scotts Run stream, which flows north from the I-495 and Route 123 interchange and extends all the way through McLean to the Potomac River.

In a Middle Potomac Watersheds Management Plan finalized in 2008, the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) recommended evaluating approximately 7,800 linear feet of Scotts Run and a tributary between the toll road and Old Dominion for restoration sites.

The stream banks in the upstream portion of the restoration area are undercut and eroded with many trees along the bank falling into the stream. Woody debris accumulation in the stream has inhibited any defined riffle and pool development. Irregular point bars of sand and gravel are seen along this stream length and bank full flow (1.5 to 2 year storm) is predicted to be at the top of the streams banks.

Proposed restoration activities included removing woody debris and trash, reconfiguring the stream bank and channel, planting vegetation, and placing in-stream structures to support the stream’s habitat.

According to a stormwater management projects map, about 600 feet of a tributary at Windy Hill Road in McLean was restored in 2019. The county also secured a commitment from developer Cityline Partner to improve the stream where it passes through the Scotts Run development in Tysons East.

It will take some time for the new Scotts Run restoration project to come to fruition. DPWES staff had an initial scoping walk to look at the site last month, according to a spokesperson.

The funds for the design will be available starting this year through fiscal year 2025, which will be from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025, but construction funding isn’t expected to be available until fiscal year 2026.

Photo via Google Maps