News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Treepocalypse Now: Defenseless Trees to Be Saved, Forever, By Well-Designed Website

Hey, remember that time that Reston, the "city of trees," decided to deforest remediate its stream banks with a $70 million project that, for that price tag, apparently includes a series of laser-equipped orbiting satellites designed to eradicate any new saplings impertinent enough to push up through its newly napalmed remediated stream buffer zone of rebarb-reinforced concrete walls and cyborg squirrels armed with still more lasers? Yeah, that was awesome. Only there's been a small catch: Turns out people who live in Reston like trees, and when people who like trees get angry, they do things -- things like building a protest Web site.

The Save The Glade Coalition is a group of about 20 Reston citizens who are opposing the way in which the project is proceeding with the revitalization of Reston's Glade Stream. The group has set up a Web site,, and has started a petition that has already garnered over 100 signatures against the way the project is scheduled to proceed.

The coalition's petition says that the group is "very concerned by the results of the first phase of the restoration project, in the Snakeden Branch. [The Reston Association's] contractor has cut down hundreds of trees, engineered a new course for the stream, reinforced it with huge boulders and clear-cut extensive areas on both sides of the stream. We, the residents of Reston, were never informed that the restoration effort would employ such drastic and destructive measures."

The group is calling for an immediately halt to the project's second scheduled phase--the Glade Stream restoration project--and asks that certain actions be taken before work begins there.
And how will they stop the project? With well-written, tear-jerking prose, that's how:
The Glade, with its walls of thousands of 120-year-old cathedral trees and its carpets of running cedar and Christmas ferns, is what we like to call our “nature house.” It is a unique and wonderful refuge of flora and wildlife where runners, walkers, bikers, and mothers pushing strollers can find an outdoor place of comfort from the hot summer heat and a peaceful refuge in an increasingly stressful world.

We who use it daily look forward to seeing the owls, hawks, woodpeckers, deer, fox, chipmunks and, yes, even the squirrels, who have made the Glade their home. We watch with great joy as the flora blossoms in the spring, the wildlife emerges and the rich, natural beauty surrounds us. And with the onset of winter, we find peace and consolation in the quiet snow-covered landscape, knowing that we are about to have this glorious gift of nature bestowed upon us, once again, as spring draws near.
Awww... that's sweet. Sometimes, Restonians can't help being Restonians. Especially when they can work in a backhanded dig at the DRB:
We never thought we would ever need to defend the Glade from destruction, not here, not in Reston, where residents must petition the powers that be to remove a single tree, and the fate of each tree carefully considered as if it were the last one standing.
Awwww, snap! Actually, the DRB just held a meeting about this project, where the contractor explained the intent of the project:
On December 16, Mike Rolband, founder of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.--the company contracted for the restoration—spoke to a crowd of over 100 people at a Reston Design Review Board meeting. Rolband said that if his company wasn't doing its job correctly, it would not have received the 2008 Land Conservation Award from Fairfax County. "This is a short- term degradation for long-term gain," he said of the restoration project.
He's lucky that he got out of there without being assaulted by reams of well-written prose.

The group has been joined by Marie Huhtala, a former Fairfax County Board of Supervisors candidate. So far, no word on whether Earl the Squirrel will join forces with the Gladesters.


  1. It's a $70 million project. Not $700 million.

  2. Oops -- quite right. Guess there won't be quite as many cyborg squirrels on sapling duty then.

  3. I live on old Reston Avenue not too far from the pipeline tree-clearing area across Reston Parkway. We can always grow more trees but not make more gas. By the way, my mulch business is booming!

  4. Its funny how people that feel strongly about a certain topic such as trees, which take along time to grow can be so short sited.

    Restoration of natural systems doesnt take short periods of time stop looking at the next year and start looking ahead to the long term benefits of the stream restoration.

  5. "Disney"fying stream valleys by applying engineering solutions does not improve the environment.

    This was principally a moneymaking exercise for Rolband.

    Larry Butler and RA got snookered.

    This project would never be approved by today's Corps or DEQ personnel. They would have directed a holistic approach relying on mostly on hand tools and less on clear cutting and large heavy machinery.

  6. As amusing as your "Treepocalypse Now" prose is, it's misinformed. No one is anti-tree or anti-nature. Look at the impact of your homes on the streams. Because of the run-off from YOUR HOMES, the streams are eroding, the lakes are silting up, and fish and aquatic life are suffocating. Why do you believe that certain trees are more important than the stream and lake environment? They are all equally important.


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