ANS PUSHES TO PROTECT A NATURAL ‘PLACE OF SOLACE’ IN THE CITY OF FAIRFAX
Proposal being considered would destroy steam and forest in the North Fork of Accotink Creek
For Immediate Release – June 3, 2020
Chevy Chase, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) is one of several groups leading efforts to save a portion of the Accotink Creek, the 25-mile-long Potomac tributary, along with the nearby four acres of forested riparian habitat in the City of Fairfax. On June 23, the City Council will decide if it will move forward with the Northfax West development plan.
It should be clear that ANS supports major portions of the Northfax West plan to transform acres of impervious parking lot into a more vibrant, ecologically focused activity center with walkable streets, denser development, better use of scarce land, rain gardens, bioswales, and green roofs.
At the same time, the 123-year-old environmental organization says it’s also clear that nature needs to be protected for people and wildlife during redevelopment. “There’s no way to make up for losing the living headwaters of the Accotink watershed,” said ANS Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate Renee Grebe, in her latest blog post about the proposed plan. “City residents are at risk of losing another natural place of solace, while owls, fish, and salamanders will lose their homes. We have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic that access to nature is a priceless commodity during all times, and especially during the worst of times.”
City of Fairfax Resident Katy Johnson agreed in comments she submitted May 29 to the mayor and council. “We have recently visited the creek and contrary to what was reported at the May 13th council meeting, we found more fish than we could count, frogs, bugs and a chorus of birds, including a barred owl in the middle of the afternoon, which likely indicates its roost can also be found within the riparian buffer, and many, many other animals rustling to hide away from us.”
ANS has three chief asks of the mayor and council: 1) That a decision to rezone the entire lot be postponed; 2) That the City bring in to the development process an expert ecologist; 3) Alternatives be sought that preserve the healthier, “A1”, section of the stream and better match the city’s Small Area Plan vision and help the city reach its land use and environmental goals.
About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.