News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Treepocalypse Now: Trees vs. Tennis, a real dilly of a pickle

Reston's Design Review Board will decide tomorrow whether to allow the awesome stream renovation project, which has turned peaceful wooded streams into arid wastelands -- and this site's ordinarily deserted comments section into a vibrant flamefest -- to continue.

Tuesday WSSI staff will bring the project to the Design Review Board again. The board deferred the project in December after members listened to more than three hours of public comment from concerned residents. Tuesday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. at RA headquarters located at 1930 Issac Newton Sq.
This, after the company doing the work made revisions to its plan, including promising not to create giant parking-lot sized wastelands for its heavy tree-leveling equipment.
Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. (WSSI) has revised plans for the pending restoration of the Glade Watershed. WSSI president Mike Rolband said plans were adjusted to save as many trees as possible. "I’m trying to find the most palatable solution," he said.

THE COMPANY conducted a wildlife habitat evaluation of the watershed and has adjusted the limits of construction to avoid important habitats as much as possible, Rolband said. Also, he said, the company has delineated its exact access routes and construction areas and marked all trees that are to be removed so that citizens will know what to expect. Where water comes from drainpipes, the streambed cannot be raised as is being done elsewhere, so workers will now put up walls around the ends of those pipes rather than widening the streambed to accommodate the flow. And a couple of the bridges that are being replaced are to be moved, so as not to disturb trees that have grown up around them since their original construction.

Along the first reach, WSSI now plans to use the swimming pool and tennis court parking lots to house equipment, rather than clearing an area. "Originally, people didn’t want us to shut the tennis court parking lot down," Rolband said, noting that a few people still were not pleased with the arrangement.
No surprise there -- if there's something Restonians care more about than trees, it's their tennis courts. But for opponents of the project, no worries! Even if it proceeds, you'll be able to rescue various trees, shrubs and invasive plants before they're bulldozed into toothpick-sized scraps.
If approved, construction could begin Feb. 9. Rolband said if they are approved a plant rescue will be held from Feb. 5-7 and residents may come take plants from the areas WSSI will be working in. For those not strong enough to dig up plants themselves 10 WSSI staff members will be on hand to assist them.
We have, as they say in the movies, a Plan:

1) "Rescue" various plantings from the Glade Watershed,
2) Replant them in the Snakeden Watershed, where apparently there's some newly cleared space for trees and stuff to grow, and
3) Stick it to the man!

Problem solved, in wacky sitcom fashion. You can thank us all later.


  1. The underlying issue is that RA claims to care about it's residents and the environment.
    In practice, a typical developer normally has much more power.

    For example, I attended the last mass protest in Reston's history. This was the mid 90's protest in favor of trees at the time Spectrum's land was clear cut. Lots of noise, some acknowledgment by RA and Town Center. No effect in practice.

    The heart has been ripped out of Snakeden Run. Recovery will still be evident in decades to come.

    When my family arrived in South Reston in the mid-80's, the town as in harmony with the trees. You could easily see the stars and planets. Lots of woods, and dark nights.

    The addition of thousands and over-full buildout of Reston has been an ecological disaster. More water pollution into the Chesapeake Bay, more pet pollution, more car-driven air pollution. The damage extends beyond Reston to the new coal-burning power plants, the trees removed for the new power lines required, and increased traffic congestion. The Silver Line will not help.

    Reston was a great suburb once. Now it has the charm of Ballston. OK if that's your thing, but we have lost much of value.

    Residents are pretty much powerless compared to the developers.


  2. Oooh! Great solution to save the trees and stream valleys! Tear down all the houses, plant some stuff and move away! To Colorado! Or Nebraska! or Montana! Or Utah! So many trees and beautiful landscapes there. Fer realz.

    A place like Reston, beautiful but beginning to be hoppin' with the awesome Reston Town Center and all — it was only a matter of time before the masses came and wanted to live in high-density housing here. But you can't really say that you would have never seen it coming, because there have been plans for development and the silver line for decades. DECADES! Since the 60s. People should look at them before they buy a house and move to a place that they think will never change. Reston was designed as a planned, urban development.


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