Stream 'Lost' Nothing

In Development Plan

A June 2 letter ["Beware a Loophole in Stream Protection," Fairfax Extra] by the Wedderburn Neighbors Steering Committee of Vienna contained a number of inaccuracies that need to be corrected.

The Virginia Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and Fairfax County's regulations are designed to protect perennial streams -- streams that have continuous flow during normal conditions. The 26-indicator scoring system referred to in the June 2 letter is used by the county to predict whether a stream is perennial. It is a model to predict what might happen.

As with any scientific model, it requires subjective assumptions and conclusions. Using the model to predict where a stream changes from intermittent to perennial is especially subjective. Different scientists using the model can reach widely different conclusions about where this transition occurs.

In response to these limitations, the county regulations allow a reclassification of a stream from perennial to intermittent if observational data prove that the stream section in question is in fact intermittent. The author of the June 2 letter would have the county elevate a model that predicts outcomes over observational data that show what actually happens. This is not only bad science but a misuse of the model.

The stream section in question has gone dry every year in recent memory, except for 2003. Many will recall that 2003 was the wettest year in our area in more than 100 years. It is an intermittent stream.

The letter concludes that the stream will be "lost" due to "developer greed and bureaucratic disinterest." This is inaccurate on every level. The vast majority of the stream that the author claims is perennial will in fact remain preserved and undisturbed with the proposed development plan. In fact, the plan has not changed at all with regard to the stream since the stream classification was changed from perennial to intermittent. Nothing has been "lost."

Fairfax County has worked long and hard to comply with the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. The county has assembled a staff of knowledgeable and talented professionals to enforce these requirements and protect county streams.

Staff members have spent countless hours on this particular stream section to make sure they got it right. To label the county with "bureaucratic disinterest" simply because it disagrees with you is unjust and disingenuous.

James L. Perry

Vice President

Elm Street Development


Questions Remain

On McLean Soccer Field

The June 4 article on the soccer field in McLean ["Deluxe Soccer Field in McLean Spurs Hard- Hitting Legal Match," Page A1] seemed to me to-the-point, thorough and accurate.

I could additionally mention my perspective as a neighbor. I attended and took notes on the first neighborhood meeting on the soccer field issues. The issues were who would use the field and what might be the potential problems with increased use.

The vote concerning the civic association's stance was close. Subsequently those civic association members who were not angry were minimally kept abreast of civic association actions.

In addition, I suspect that the $60,000 donation figure for the West Lewinsville Heights Citizens Association legal fund could be misleading.

Does the $60,000 include in-kind contributions? In other words, is the value of the time being put in by civic association members who are lawyers being counted as donations that account for some of the $60,000?

Sally Garen