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Burke Lake marina closed and water lowered to address beach erosion

Stabilizing and drainage work to be done at Burke Lake (via Fairfax County)

Burke Lake’s marina is being closed for a number of months, and the lake will be lowered by two feet to help stabilize the beach area and improve drainage.

The $1.5 million project aims to stabilize the beach area as well as add “armoring” — the use of physical structures to prevent further coastal erosion — to a large portion of the shoreline. Drainage will also be improved around the existing boathouse and restroom buildings.

“Gravel from the shoreline has eroded and deposited in the shallow area where [Fairfax County Park Authority] boats are launched, creating challenges when launching boats and causing damage to the boats,” spokesperson Judy Pedersen told FFXnow. “In addition, existing storm outfall and foot traffic are causing erosion to the shoreline adjacent to the marina.”

Paid for by county voter-approved bonds, construction is expected to start next month. The marina is already closed until the spring.

“Contingent on the weather, the marina is expected to reopen at the end of April 2023,” the park authority says on the project page.

To help with the construction, Burke Lake is now in the process of being lowered by two feet.

A “controlled drawdown” is underway, with 2 to 4 inches of water being pumped out of the lake a day. It’s estimated that Burke Lake will hit the 2-foot goal “on or before” next Monday (Nov. 19), based on a predicted lack of rainfall over the next several days.

The lake is expected to remain at this lower level until at least the end of March 2023, but its normal elevation will eventually return through natural runoff.

The rate and timing of the lake level’s rise is “contingent on precipitation,” the project page notes.

While the marina will be closed and water levels will be lower than usual, Burke Lake will remain open to those looking to fish and spend time on the water.

However, the park authority is asking boaters, canoeists, and kayakers to proceed with caution since “numerous obstructions will be exposed or may be present just under the water’s surface.”

The 218-acre public fishing lake is owned by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. The lake is located in Burke Lake Park, which is owned and operated by FCPA.

The park sits on land originally purchased by the federal government as a potential site for an international airport. When airport plans shifted to Chantilly, the nearly 900 acres of land were handed over to the county. The park opened to the public just about six decades ago, in 1963.

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