Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cleaning Up Quander Creek

Yesterday, I trekked into the woods with about twelve volunteers to help clean up a creek in my district called Quander Brook. There is a map of Quander Brook to the right. It starts as three streams originating from the Old Quander Farm (West Potomac High School), and two branches in the Fairview Neighborhood that join near the JPG Rosenfeld property (Chuck E. Cheese) and then parallels U.S. 1 down to Great Hunting Creek.

The segment of the stream we cleaned up, also runs through 8.5 acres that was recently donated to Fairfax County by the Fairchild Family for use as a County Park.

This stream has a number of problems that this service project was useful to highlight:

  • Excessive storm water erosion damage and loss of biodiversity.
  • Significant trash contamination.

The short version is that this creek parallels many restaurants and properties that do not control their trash. The forest behind these properties is littered with boxes, beverage containers, and food wrappers that all wash into the woods and eventually the creek. The 1950's-era storm water facilities also basically sweep up all kinds of trash from U.S. 1 and neighboring parking lots directly into the creek. When coupled with massive storm water flows, the creeks suffers from massive erosion problems caused by large water flows and "trash dams" that form in the creek. All of this eventually washes into the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

All of this leads to zero biodiversity. I did not see one bug, crawfish, fish, turtle, frog or any sign of life in this stream. The closest thing we found was a porcelain frog.

I will write a broader article for our local papers this week about it that I will post upon publication, but the problems with this property can be fixed through a number of issues.

The cleanup was a terrific success. We gathered two pickup trucks full of trash including 13 tires, a stereo, 3 tents, several blankets, a dryer top, a vacuum cleaner, a porcelain frog, about 1000 feet of "Caution Tape," and about 40 bags worth of plastic and beverage containers. Here are some pictures.

Thank you to JBG Rosenfeld for allowing us to access the property from their property and for providing us with a large dumpster for the trash and trash bags. Also thanks to community leaders Martin Tillett and David Dale who led our trek into the woods and gave us a tour of the property we did our work.

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