Ashby Pond Dredging and Environmental Improvements

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July 10, 2024, UPDATE: Turtle trapping will be postponed July 12-15 due to excessive heat. Trapping will resume July 16 at 10 a.m.

June 21, 2024, UPDATE: Some residents have asked what happens to the turtles when Ashby Pond is drained.

The city has contracted with Dr. Todd Rimkus from Marymount University to relocate turtles before the dredging and retrofit project starts this fall.

Dr. Rimkus has obtained a permit through the Department of Natural Resources to relocate turtles from Ashby Pond. Turtle traps are being tested now, and the relocation work will start in early-July and continue through the end of the month.

Turtle traps will be checked daily, and any captured turtles will be removed from the traps between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Residents are welcome to visit the pond during these times to see how trapping and relocation is performed. This is also a unique opportunity to observe the turtles more closely.

The DNR permit restricts handling of the turtles to the specific permittees, and the relocation work only requires a small group of people, so additional volunteers are not necessary to rescue the turtles.

You can learn more about Dr. Rimkus and the Hawksbill Hope nonprofit that he established for turtle conservation here: https://www.hawksbillhope.org/about/

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The City of Fairfax Department of Public Works is developing plans to dredge and upgrade Ashby Pond. Removing accumulated silt from the pond will increase the pond’s capacity to slow stormwater runoff and capture pollutants. The deeper pools will enhance water quality for local wildlife and improve the park’s aesthetics for visitors.

Satoshi Eto, public works program manager, explains the project to dredge and improve Ashby Pond.

A Pond with a Purpose

When it rains, stormwater runoff carrying sediment and debris flows downhill to Ashby Pond. The stormwater management pond receives runoff from about 135 acres, and much of the sediment is captured in the pond. Preventing pollutants from reaching Daniels Run improves the water quality in the Accotink Creek Watershed.

Dredging the pond is necessary about every 10 years to remove the silt that the pond captures over time. This restores the pond’s capacity to hold water capacity and its ability to continue to capture pollutants. The pond was last dredged in 2011; however, due to budgetary constraints, only a portion of the silt that had accumulated up to that point was removed.

Improving the Pond

In addition to dredging the pond, the department plans to retrofit the pond to meet current specifications. This work will increase the pond’s pollutant removal capabilities, make future maintenance easier and more economic, improve aesthetics, and provide the community with credits to help meet the city’s Chesapeake Bay pollutant reduction targets.

Environmental upgrades will include:

  • repairing erosion at the two channels that flow into the pond and making them more resistant to erosion
  • adding two sediment forebays that will trap sediment before it enters the main pond area
  • adding aquatic benching and plantings around the perimeter of the pond

The sediment forebays will be easier to dredge in the future and greatly extend the intervals between dredging of the main pond. The aquatic benches create shallow water habitats for plants and animals.

Estimated Cost and Funding

This project will be partially paid for by the city's stormwater utility fee. The city was awarded $588,000 in Stormwater Local Assistance grant funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in 2021 to help pay for the $1.575M project.

In the months ahead the project team will continue to refine the design, seek and incorporate input from the community, and obtain necessary environmental permits. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2023 and take 9-12 months to complete.

July 10, 2024, UPDATE: Turtle trapping will be postponed July 12-15 due to excessive heat. Trapping will resume July 16 at 10 a.m.

June 21, 2024, UPDATE: Some residents have asked what happens to the turtles when Ashby Pond is drained.

The city has contracted with Dr. Todd Rimkus from Marymount University to relocate turtles before the dredging and retrofit project starts this fall.

Dr. Rimkus has obtained a permit through the Department of Natural Resources to relocate turtles from Ashby Pond. Turtle traps are being tested now, and the relocation work will start in early-July and continue through the end of the month.

Turtle traps will be checked daily, and any captured turtles will be removed from the traps between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Residents are welcome to visit the pond during these times to see how trapping and relocation is performed. This is also a unique opportunity to observe the turtles more closely.

The DNR permit restricts handling of the turtles to the specific permittees, and the relocation work only requires a small group of people, so additional volunteers are not necessary to rescue the turtles.

You can learn more about Dr. Rimkus and the Hawksbill Hope nonprofit that he established for turtle conservation here: https://www.hawksbillhope.org/about/

---

The City of Fairfax Department of Public Works is developing plans to dredge and upgrade Ashby Pond. Removing accumulated silt from the pond will increase the pond’s capacity to slow stormwater runoff and capture pollutants. The deeper pools will enhance water quality for local wildlife and improve the park’s aesthetics for visitors.

Satoshi Eto, public works program manager, explains the project to dredge and improve Ashby Pond.

A Pond with a Purpose

When it rains, stormwater runoff carrying sediment and debris flows downhill to Ashby Pond. The stormwater management pond receives runoff from about 135 acres, and much of the sediment is captured in the pond. Preventing pollutants from reaching Daniels Run improves the water quality in the Accotink Creek Watershed.

Dredging the pond is necessary about every 10 years to remove the silt that the pond captures over time. This restores the pond’s capacity to hold water capacity and its ability to continue to capture pollutants. The pond was last dredged in 2011; however, due to budgetary constraints, only a portion of the silt that had accumulated up to that point was removed.

Improving the Pond

In addition to dredging the pond, the department plans to retrofit the pond to meet current specifications. This work will increase the pond’s pollutant removal capabilities, make future maintenance easier and more economic, improve aesthetics, and provide the community with credits to help meet the city’s Chesapeake Bay pollutant reduction targets.

Environmental upgrades will include:

  • repairing erosion at the two channels that flow into the pond and making them more resistant to erosion
  • adding two sediment forebays that will trap sediment before it enters the main pond area
  • adding aquatic benching and plantings around the perimeter of the pond

The sediment forebays will be easier to dredge in the future and greatly extend the intervals between dredging of the main pond. The aquatic benches create shallow water habitats for plants and animals.

Estimated Cost and Funding

This project will be partially paid for by the city's stormwater utility fee. The city was awarded $588,000 in Stormwater Local Assistance grant funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in 2021 to help pay for the $1.575M project.

In the months ahead the project team will continue to refine the design, seek and incorporate input from the community, and obtain necessary environmental permits. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2023 and take 9-12 months to complete.

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Here are our suggestions.
1) More parking is needed.
2) All yards & flowing water into the creek going to Ashley's Pond should be checked for pollutants, including pet waste runoff, sanitary sewer breaches, excessive sediment erosion, etc... at least once every 3 years. We looked at the water clarity upstream of the pond and it was very unclean looking, not cloudy from excessive rain, where it is understandable.
If such occasions arise from inspections, pet waste must be picked up daily and even so, a berm of mulch or leaves, must be put along side the property to filter the urine left behind. Clay soil of our area, does not make a good absorber and it would just run off. Note: Leaves & mulch will, at first, will put unwanted pollutants from it's components into the outflow but, within a short while, (say 6 months), filter pollutants out at an incredible rate of pollutants, for as long as it is maintained (you would need to add to it as it degrades into soil). We saw a demonstration of this a a Fairfax County Fair.
3) Being that you have your vehicle nearby, you would not need a shelter from a storm, but certainly you need a toilet facility. There is no neighbor who in this day & age, would want a stranger in their home to use theirs. When you got to go, most people go where the bears go!
We applaud your work and concur that even though it costs a lot of money, it is all worth it. Why spend money to go to pristine parts of the world, when we should have it here and enjoy our environment.That same money to travel could be used right here, locally, with no extra aggravation. Thank you.

t 9 months ago

Removed by moderator.

S.john over 1 year ago

These types of excellent projects! Water management is getting ever more important as we can see from shortages and quality issues around this country and the world!

MattL almost 2 years ago
Page last updated: 10 Jul 2024, 11:48 AM