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Task force would reconsider the recommendation to not dredge Lake Accotink

Without dredging, recreational activities at Lake Accotink would be limited.

Posted on May 3, 2023

Braddock Supervisor James Walkinshaw, Franconia Supervisor Rodney Lusk, and Board Chair Jeffrey McKay will ask the board to form a task force on the future of Lake Accotink.

The task force would “review the existing studies, analyses, and recommendations, participate in a detailed study of the managed wetland option, and explore the possibility of a hybrid approach that maintains an open water feature,” Walkinshaw announced in his newsletter April 27.

That proposal follows a staff presentation to the BoS Environmental Committee on the recommendation to not go forward with the planned dredge and the results of a community survey.

The recommendation not to dredge is based on a revised estimate that it would cost $395 million – way more than originally expected. Without dredging, the lake would gradually fill up with sediment.

Walkinshaw told the committee that many residents feel that “Lake Accotink is a treasure, beloved by generations of residents in Fairfax County and beyond. The fact that Fairfax County made a commitment to dredge the lake in 2019, and now there is a staff recommendation recommending the opposite has created anger and distrust.”

Among the 1,078 people who responded to a survey, a nearly equal number support dredging (26 percent) versus not dredging (27 percent). Twenty percent are concerned about dredging costs. Fourteen percent support the transition to wetlands, and 5 percent are concerned about wetlands.

While the survey results are mixed, “clearly there are still many people who feel passionately about the lake and are not yet convinced that every possible option has been explored,” Walkinshaw said.

“While other board members expressed deep concern with the $395 million cost to dredge and maintain the lake over 25 years,” he said, “there was unanimous agreement to withhold making any decisions until the task force can complete its work.”

Under the previous process, staff and consultants conducted studies and presented their recommendations to the community for comment, Walkinshaw said. “This task force will enable community members to be at the table to ensure that options are thoroughly explored, and questions from the public are answered.”

Walkinshaw is up for re-election in November, when he will face independent candidate Carey Campbell. Walkinshaw does not have an opponent in the Democratic Primary on June 20. Campbell has run for Braddock supervisor five times, never getting more than 5.9 percent of the vote.


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