Environmental Commitment

 

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 impact…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.

 

Vibrant Wildlife

 

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 counts…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.

 

Tree Reforestation

 

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.

 

Greenway Wetlands Walk

Led by Mary Ann Good and Joe Coleman, 8 people visited the privately owned Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project on a chilly, drizzly March 19, 2014 for a Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy bird walk. We found 32 species of birds and a multitude of animal tracks in the mud and lingering snow.

We were thrilled to find a family of beavers has moved in and dammed the spillway for the wetlands. While the dam has probably only raised the water level by 6-12 inches, the area around the wetlands is a flood plain, so the water has really spread out. The beavers have also done a nice job of radically pruning the black willows and Ash leaf maples, so it is a bit more difficult to approach the wetlands without the ducks becoming aware of you.

 

The highlights of the walk included the Bald Eagles on their nest, a flock (26) of turkeys crossing the road right before the walk, a Woodcock closely seen, and a Northern Harrier, who briefly checked out the area. While only a few people saw the turkeys and the Woodcock, most of the group saw one of the Bald Eagles bring prey in to the nest and leave with it shortly thereafter. The only significant difference from my scout of the wetlands the day before was the absence of a large flock of Widgeons and a single Hermit Thrush that were there previously. It was disappointing not to find a single Rusty Blackbird either day.

 

See below for complete eBird list of the birds seen on the walk.

 

While the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project is generally closed to the public, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has permission to occasionally lead walks there.  Please check out the schedule on the website (www.loudounwildlife.org) for upcoming bird walks there and elsewhere in the county, in addition to the many other free activities.

 

Also, Mary Ann Good, who manages the bluebird trail on the wetlands, was thrilled that one of Wednesday’s participants volunteered to help with the trail this summer.

 

Good birding,

Joe Coleman
(nearby  Bluemont, Loudoun Co)

 

eBird List

 

Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, Loudoun, US-VA

  • Mar 19, 2014 7:45 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Protocol: Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz
  • 1.0 mile

Comments:

 

Mary Ann Good and Joe Coleman led a walk for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy on the privately owned Dulles Greenway Wetlands this morning. There was a chilly drizzle during much of the walk and not as many species as were expected; also, no Rusty Blackbirds.

 

32 species observed:

 

  • Canada Goose  X
  • Gadwall  15
  • Mallard  30
  • Canvasback  6
  • Ring-necked Duck  20
  • Bufflehead  22
  • Ruddy Duck  2
  • Wild Turkey  26

NOTE: The Wild Turkey flock was seen crossing the road in front of one of the participants and behind another. They were moving from the edge of the wetlands north toward Oatlands.

 

  • Northern Harrier  1
  • Bald Eagle  2
  • American Coot  6
  • American Woodcock  1
  • Belted Kingfisher  1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
  • Downy Woodpecker  2
  • Northern Flicker  5
  • Eastern Phoebe  2
  • American Crow  X
  • Fish Crow  X
  • Carolina Chickadee  8
  • Tufted Titmouse  3
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  2
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • Eastern Bluebird  1
  • American Robin  2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler  8
  • Song Sparrow  4
  • Swamp Sparrow  1
  • White-throated Sparrow  12
  • Dark-eyed Junco  6
  • Northern Cardinal  8
  • Red-winged Blackbird  20
  • Rusty Blackbird  0

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17506357

 

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org/VA)

 

Reported By Joe Coleman
Edited by Sarah Steadman 

 

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.