News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the YouTubes: Not Quite the Love Boat

Here's some exciting, and almost exhaustive, video of the ongoing dredging operations at Lake Audobon. If you have young children, be sure to gather them around the computer screen, as this is almost as exciting as that Thomas the Tank Engine show they keep prattling on about, except that the RA's boats and backhoes (thankfully) don't have human faces or bad attitudes.

Here's what the videographer has to say:
Prior to the recent stream restorations, with each heavy rain, lots of dirt would be washed into the lakes which over time would make the lakes shallower where streams enter. The restoration projects are expected to greatly reduce the erosion from run off and create a healthier water system. Consequently dredging is expected to be required much less often and so I recorded this activity for posterity.

The dredging cycle begins with empty barges being pushed down the lake by a tug boat to the dredging platform. A backhoe on the platform then fills the barge with mud while the filled barge is pushed to shore for emptying. A second backhoe on land scoops the dirt into trucks for disposal. This cycle repeats for weeks until the job is done.
Another Restonian operative asks a question:
Will they leave the boats in the water and make gambling boats out of them?
We can only hope.


  1. When was the last time you saw someone fishing in Lake Audubon? Even the bluegills suffocated in the runoff FROM the stream restoration.

    It remains to be seen if the cheap hydroseed job with which they replaced the 70-year old trees will ever generate enough roots to keep Audubon from silting in again.

    Sorry, this is Restonian, I should say something funny. OK.

    What does a dyslexic, agnostic insomniac do all night? Lies awake wondering if there really is a Dog.

  2. The description sounds thoroughly Zen like but somehow this resident is just gonna have to pass on watching . Yikes .

  3. what do they do with the dirt they dig up?

  4. Publish it on Fox News.

  5. Publish it in the comments section of Restonian.

  6. All that's missing is a narration by Andy Sigle in his melodious golden voice.

  7. The Reston lakes will all have to be dredged out every decade irrespective of the stream restoration/deforestation efforts.

    Reston lakes are man made water impoundments designed as storm water protection facilities to trap silt before it reaches Difficult Run. They trap and collect silt and, as designed, are intended to accumulate muck that will continuously need to be removed. The silt is not structurally stable and cannot be recycled to building sites and so is landfilled in a construction debris land fill.

  8. You're very welcome, RES. However, as a civil engineer, you already knew all of this.

    (You did already know all of this, right?)

  9. The dirt is hauled at great expense to West Virginia I once learned by attending a RA meeting. The alternative of having our own "Mount Trash-more" right here in Reston is not considered.

    Also not considered is just lowering the lake level and using conventional front end loader equipment as has been done on other less affluent Virginia impoundment home owners lakes, Blue Ridge Shores for one. Why not is the effect of such a operation too offensive for the few lake owners who have lakefront property for which we all pay equally and they alone have the dubious privilege of having a pontoon boat? Who owns the hauling company or the tug boat company?

  10. Q: When was the last time you saw someone fishing in Lake Audubon?

    A: This has been one of the best years ever to fish the lake. We caught a 20" largemouth a few months ago and the sunfish/bluegill are eating anything we throw at them. We even caught a baby grass carp.

    I make a living off of this lake so I'm glad its getting cleaned up. The process is quite messy and all sorts of junk from the bottom is floating up (cans, bottles, and plant matter).

    The stream restoration project only modifies the water and silt coming in from the main creek passing by Highs (oops, 711), the rest is coming off of residential streets. This includes all of the tons of sand from the past winter.

    On a side note, there is a rare duck on the lake, a black bellied whistler. It would be as strange/rare as seeing a flamingo on the lake.


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