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New Plans For Lake Accotink As County Finds Dredging Not Feasible

Fairfax County is holding two public meetings on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the future of Lake Accotink Park after a new analysis of a multiyear plan for the lake found dredging to be too costly and disruptive.

Posted on February 15, 2023

Fairfax County is holding two public meetings this week to discuss the future of Lake Accotink Park after a new analysis of a multiyear plan for the lake found dredging to be too costly and disruptive.

The analysis determined that the annual cost to dredge and maintain Lake Accotink over the next 25 years would be roughly $16 million per year. The initial three-to-five-year base dredge and year-long maintenance dredges that would be conducted every five years after the initial dredge could lead to more disruption to the surrounding community than originally expected, according to the analysis.

“I know that this new recommendation will come as a shock after the years of work and community engagement that has gone into the plan to dredge the lake,” Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw, whose district includes Lake Accotink Park, said in his weekly newsletter. “But my priority is to ensure that we are fully transparent and share with you the unvarnished reality of the situation, disappointing as it may be.”

A virtual meeting on the county’s plans for Lake Accotink will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. The public can visit the county’s Public Works site to participate in the meeting.

An in-person meeting about the county’s plans will be held on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Kings Glen Elementary School at 5401 Danbury Forest Drive in Springfield.

Both meetings will include the same presentation, so residents can choose to attend the one that works better for them. After the meetings, there will be an opportunity for residents to submit comments and share their perspectives on the information and recommendation presented.

Fairfax County staff have prepared a storyboard outlining the history of the lake and the results of the new analysis. Residents are encouraged to review the information before participating in the meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lake Accotink Park includes 482 acres of natural resources, trails, picnic areas, and waterfront activities. The 55-acre Lake Accotink is a man-made reservoir built by the U.S. Army in 1943.

(Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services)

Because Lake Accotink is a man-made lake in the middle of a densely-developed 40-square-mile watershed, it has required regular dredging in order to remove sediment. The most recent dredge took place in 2008.

Stronger storms and wetter weather have increased the amount of sediment entering the lake in recent decades. This is due to many factors, including the fact that our older neighborhoods were built without modern stormwater controls.

In 2019, Fairfax County staff developed a dredging plan that was presented to the community and endorsed by the Board of Supervisors. That plan was to dredge 350,000 cubic yards of sediment, pump it to the Wakefield Park power line easement area to be dried, and remove the dried material by truck to a disposal site at a total cost of $30 million.

Based on the new analysis, though, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services staff is expected to recommend that the lake not be dredged and that a new Lake Accotink Park Master Planning process be restarted, with an emphasis on working with the community to develop a new vision for the lake and the park.

The new plan could include converting the open water of the lake to a managed wetland environment.


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