Strawberry Run Stream Restoration
The Strawberry Run Stream Restoration project is part of the stormwater infrastructure system and involves approximately 900 linear feet section of stream located west of Fort Williams Parkway, east of Taft Avenue, and north of Duke Street. The project limits are approximately 500 feet north of Duke Street and continuing north (upstream) to the culvert under Fort Williams Parkway. Ongoing erosion along the stream banks is deteriorating water quality and threatening existing infrastructure. In keeping with its dedication to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, the City is proposing to use environmentally conscious engineering practices that mimic nature to reconstruct stream banks, encourage native plant growth, and moderate the intense impact of streamflow during high-precipitation events. The project's main goals include protecting the stormwater pipe outfalls, stabilizing the stream banks, shielding the pedestrian bridge from continued erosion, and managing the hydraulic stream flow regime. Whenever possible, on-site materials will be used in the construction of the project. The project stakeholder team for the City’s stream restoration projects include Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), Department of Project Implementation (DPI), Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA) Natural Resources, the consulting team, and the community. A series of community collaboration meetings are planned for late 2022, please follow along to hear from experts about the Strawberry Run stream restoration design process.
Updated on Community Collaboration
The City is continuing the community collaboration on Strawberry Run into 2023. A memo was sent to City Council on January 5th, 2023 about the progress of the community collaboration including information on the SLAF grant.
City to Host a Community Consensus-Building Community Collaboration on Future of Strawberry Run
The City of Alexandria has partnered with the Institute for Engagement & Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia for community engagement pertaining to stream health improvements in Taylor Run and Strawberry Run. Via interviews and small group conversations, IEN has been learning from community members and City staff about their views on possible improvements in these areas. This information will inform a consensus building process spanning August to October, during which time a consensus-built path forward for the two streams will be developed by a stakeholder group and submitted for consideration to City Council. Members of the public, not included in the Consensus Building Group, will have an opportunity to provide input during the process. Please RSVP to the first workshop on Saturday, September 10th to engage with experts and learn more about stream restoration. Final stakeholder recommendations will be captured in a report by IEN.
Three alternative restoration techniques are proposed as part of a community collaborative effort. Please review the approaches here.
City Authorizes Consultant to Perform Soil Collection, Sampling, and Analysis Tests
The City of Alexandria has authorized its consultant to perform soil collection, sampling, and analysis tests for Taylor Run, Strawberry Run, and Lucky Run. The field work for all three steams took place the week of July 25, 2021. Additionally, a consultant will be inspecting the previous stream project completed on the downstream portion of Strawberry Run during the Taft Avenue development to document issues that have occurred.
On April 27, 2021 during a City Council legislative work session, City Council instructed staff to perform soil analysis tests on all three streams (Taylor Run, Strawberry Run, and Lucky Run) using the updated Expert Panel protocol. Council also instructed staff to pause the planned stream restoration projects at Taylor Run and Strawberry Run for further evaluation, but proceed with Lucky Run while the soil analysis occurs. Council also directed staff to evaluate alternatives to natural channel design in coordination with the Environmental Policy Commission (EPC). Finally, Council instructed staff to return as soon as possible with a planned schedule and summary of impacts.
City Council Directs to Pause Strawberry Run Project and Collaborate with Community
At the April 2021 Legislative meeting, City Council directed staff to pause the Taylor Run and Strawberry Run proposed stream restoration projects and collaborate with the Environmental Policy Commission on alternatives to natural channel design stabilization and restoration techniques used in the proposed design. Council directed staff to continue work on delivering the Lucky Run project. Finally, City Council directed staff to perform on-site soil sampling for all three projects to determine nutrient concentrations for use in pollutant reduction calculations for comparison with the default values in the expert panel report that have been used to calculate pollution reduction for the proposed projects.
Comparing the results of the pollutant reduction calculations based on the on-site soil sampling analyses versus those based on the default values from the earlier state guidance highlights the variability that can occur based on the data sets. This also highlights inexactness of the watershed modeling and stream restoration approach and the evolving nature of the science, which is being discussed by work groups and committees at the state and regional levels. While the City has confirmation that the use of the default rates for calculating pollutant reductions is consistent with the state guidance and applicable to these projects, the decreased results using the on-site soil sampling results raise some questions. Staff's collaboration with the EPC is aimed at discussing these results, along with other related topics.
While pollutant reduction credits are an important factor, they are not the sole driver for pursuing these projects. The objectives of stabilizing the stream corridor - including protecting at-risk sanitary and storm infrastructure and nearby private property - are part of the broader issues in this collaboration.
Stream Restoration Identified as a Potential Strategy
In 2015, urban stream restoration was identified as a potential strategy for the City to achieve compliance with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL ("pollution reduction diet"). This pollution reduction diet is a regulatory requirement passed down from the federal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to Alexandria through the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. Strawberry Run was identified as a top-ranking stream restoration project based on the Phase III Stream Assessment completed early 2019 by a contractor in consultation with the City’s Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (TES), Department of Project Implementation (DPI), and Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA). Phase III refers to the third assessment with the first assessment completed in 2004 and the second completed in 2008. In total, 2,786 linear feet of streams were assessed throughout the City. TES presented the results of this assessment to the Park and Recreation Commission September 20, 2018 (view the presentation) and also hosted a public meeting on December 5, 2018. More information on the stream assessment is available on the City’s Stream Restoration web page.
The Strawberry Run stream restoration will help the City comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and is identified in 2019 Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan. The Strawberry Run stream restoration is identified as a mid-term action item in the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040, adopted by Council in 2018, which stemmed from the Eco City Alexandria initiative which launched with the Eco City Charter in 2008.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) awarded the City a competitive $800,000 Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) grant for partial funding of this project. Currently, the total estimated project cost is $1.6 million. The SLAF grant program was initiated by the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide financial support to municipalities implementing projects to reduce stormwater pollution as the new Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements were being passed down through the MS4 permits.
Impact on Trees
During initial design, in 2020 a total 353 trees were surveyed around the project site and, of those, 36 of them are considered to be 'notable' trees, as defined by Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities (RPCA), Natural Resources. The project designers worked with RPCA and adjusted the stream alignment to reduce the total amount of trees removed from the original plan of 206 down to 89. This adjustment also lead to a decrease in removal of 'notable' trees with 13 slated for removal, down from 34. Of note, these 13 'notable' trees to be removed are impacted by stream erosion and are currently at risk for negative health impacts. The NCD plan currently consists of replanting 1,030 native tree species (3-gallon container). The planting mix also includes 350 shrubs (1-gallon container) including American Elderberry, Buttonbush, and Spicebush; 5,100 "live stakes" (3-4 foot) of Silky Dogwood, Smooth Alder, and Black Willow; and 548 2-inch plugs of rushes and sedges.
Community Collaboration Series on Stream Health Improvements
The City of Alexandria has partnered with the Institute for Engagement & Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia for community engagement pertaining to stream health improvements in Taylor Run and Strawberry Run. Via interviews and small group conversations, IEN has been learning from community members and City staff about their views on possible improvements in these areas. This information will inform a consensus building process spanning August to December, during which time a consensus-built path forward for the two streams will be developed by a stakeholder group and submitted for consideration to City Council. Members of the public, not included in the Consensus Building Group, will have an opportunity to provide input during the process. Please join to engage with experts and learn more about stream restoration. Final stakeholder recommendations will be captured in a report by IEN.
Follow along with all the discussions and latest information for the Stream Health Improvement Community Collaboration Series.
Past Community Meetings
Parks and Recreation Commission Meetings (Stream Restorations and Assessment Results) - Sep 2019 and Sep 2018
Meeting to share outcome of the Phase III Stream Restoration study, prioritization of top two projects (Taylor Run and Strawberry Run) discuss concept ideas and receive input from the Commission prior to application for grant funding.
Public Meeting: Phase III Stream Assessment and Potential Stream Restoration Projects - Dec 2018
Meeting to share outcome of the Phase III Stream Restoration study, prioritization of top two projects (Taylor Run and Strawberry Run) discuss concept ideas and receive input.
Public Community Meeting - Nov 2019
No meeting materials available
Strawberry Hill Association - Jan 2020
No meeting materials available
Seminary Hill Association - Feb 13, 2020
Virtual Public Community Meeting - Oct 28, 2020
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the City did not hold public meetings in the spring/summer.
2021 Draft Natural Channel Design Engineering Plans
The draft NCD engineering plans are provided in response to community feedback received. These plans are not for construction purposes and should be considered as a "draft". The plan set is included as five (5) separate documents due to file size limitations but in total represent the complete set.
- (1) Cover Sheet; (2) General Notes; (3) Existing Conditions & Demolition Plan; (4) Tree Identification Table; (5) Tree Location Map; (6) Overall Site Plan
- (7 & 8) Strawberry Run Plan and Profile; (9) Tributary Plan and Profile; (10) Storm Sewer Outfalls Plan & Profile; (11) Cross Section Plan; (12 - 14) Cross Sections
- (15) Riparian Planting Plans; (16) Riparian Planting Details; (17) Tree Preservation Notes; (18) Tree Preservation Details; (19) Design Narrative; (20) Water Quality; (21) Water Quality Impact Assessment
- (22) Typical Sections; (23) Erosion and Sediment Control Notes and Details; (24) Erosion and Sediment Control Plan; (25) Storm Sewer Notes and Details; (26) Strawberry Run Geometry Plan; (27) Tributary Geometry Plan; (28) Soils Map
- (29) Cascade with Boulder Steps and Logs Detail; (30) Constructed Riffle Detail; (31) Rock Cross Vane with Step Detail; (32) Rock Vane Details; (33) Log Vane Details; (34) Rock Revetment Details; (35) Toe Wood Details; (36) Plunge Pool Details; (37) Step Pool Details; (38) Storm Sewer Outfall Details; (39) Wetland Delineation Map
Camille Liebnitzky, P.E. (She/Her)
Environmental Engineer IV