So the Washington Post finally figured out that people in Reston, the "city of trees," don't cotton to folks cutting them down. By way of proof that the ongoing stream restoration project is a Troubling Thing, they ran the picture above under a headline about a "makeover," which made us think we were reading the Style section. We're really not sure what the big deal is. Forests spontaneously thin themselves out to create giant dead zones all the time! Biologists call them "nature's parking lots." That orangish thing near the back of the shot that looks to untrained eyes like a piece of heavy construction equipment is actually a well-camouflaged rhododendron bush.
So, really, what are folks upset about?
Work began last year on the long-planned project to reverse years of damage and pollution caused by development. But residents said they were stunned in the fall when Wetland Studies and Solutions, the Gainesville company in charge, began using heavy construction equipment to reshape sections of stream and take down some of the community's signature mature hardwoods.And what exactly is wrong with golf courses? Last time we checked, Reston had a few of those, and you don't see anyone up in arms about them.
The project has been approved by the county, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors and two state lawmakers asked this month for another review from county and state environmental experts in response to the residents' concerns.
Chris Koerner, an environmental consultant who lives in Reston but not near the restoration site, said the Reston Association could achieve better results with a lighter touch, removing trees selectively and using smaller, more precise equipment. The heavy equipment compresses the soil, he said, making it difficult for young trees to take root and grow.
The result of the work is more reminiscent of a manicured park than a natural stream, Koerner said.
"You sort of think you're on a golf course," Koerner said.