The Greenway actively pursues strategies to prevent Environmental problems
Toll Road Investors Partnership II, L.P. (TRIP II), the owner of the Dulles Greenway, is keenly aware of its environmental responsibilities. TRIP II has focused on identifying & actively pursuing strategies to prevent any negative environmental impactâ€¦throughout the design, construction, and on-going operations of the Greenway.
Protection of Goose Creek
An example of this is the protection of Goose Creek. The main issue of concern surrounding Goose Creek is erosion & sediment control. TRIP II has implemented diversion dikes, silt fences, sediment traps, and vegetative soil stabilization to reduce the possibility of major sediment problems. These mitigating steps cost $1.5 million more than expected.
Doubling of Wetlands
While the Greenway’s construction resulted in the loss of roughly 64 acres of federally-protected wetlands, under an Army Corp of Engineers 404 permit, TRIP II mitigated that loss by establishing 149 acres of new wetlands. This mitigation represents a 2:1 replacement ratio for forested wetlands, and a 1.5:1 replacement ratio for emergent wetlands.
In recent years, local conservancy groups have been monitoring the Greenway Wetlands for all kinds of wildlife, including birds & butterflies. The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy–with the assistance of the local Audubon Society–has conducted thorough animal countsâ€¦and currently has sited red foxes, deer, painted turtles, snapping turtles, box turtles, great blue herons, American egrets, green herons, mallard ducks, black ducks, green teals, red tailed hawks, snipe, sandpipers, and American Bald Eagles.
TRIP II provided more than a 1:1 acreage replacement of trees that were cleared outside the Dulles Greenway right-of-way. A plan was developed, in cooperation with the official State Forester, to reforest a few large areas, rather than several small areas. This enabled greater survivability of newly indigenous trees, improved wildlife opportunities, and a greater buffer for landowners. In this large area, 2 to 3-year-old seedlings of native species were planted at a density of approximately 622 trees per/acre.
Nesting Season Begins for our Bald Eagles!
Nest repairs and fluff-ups are underway at the Bald Eagle nest at the Dulles Wetlands!
I went over there earlier today just to see if there had been any activity and when I arrived the nest looked empty.
But then, as I looked for a good place between tree branches to get a view of the nest, an adult flew in and made my day!
Quickly getting my scope out of the car and getting it set up, this diligent parent carefully positioned sticks and then rested for awhile.
It then flew off and came back a few times, each time with a new branch or twig. The heavy snows may have taken a toll on this nest (which gets reused each year), or perhaps it was just time to add some new material.
I never did see itâ€™s mate, but I am hopeful that it was just off hunting (or maybe find â€œthe rightâ€ stick to add to the nest!
Iâ€™ll apologize in advance for the quality of the photos – I took them by holding a little point and shoot camera at the viewfinder of my spotting scope.
The nest is actually about half a mile away from where I was â€” we definitely keep our distance from all nests, as the welfare of the birds takes priority over pictures.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC): www.loudounwildlife.org
LWC promotes the preservation and proliferation of healthy wildlife habitats throughout Loudoun County by fostering an understanding of the value of nature and providing opportunities for applying that knowledge to the betterment of the natural environment.