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Ballston Beaver Pond Spared From I-66 Widening Impacts

by ARLnow.com August 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm 3,281 10 Comments

An oasis of wetlands and wildlife, tucked between the office towers of Ballston and the traffic of I-66, is safe from highway construction impacts, the county’s Department of Environmental Services says.

The Ballston Beaver Pond, as it’s called, was initially designed to collect stormwater runoff from I-66. But that started to change in the 1990s when beavers moved in and dammed up the drainage system, creating a pond and wetlands to form. The Beaver Pond is now a habitat frequented by muskrat, geese, ducks, heron, egrets, redwing blackbirds, fish, turtles and the occasional beaver.

The Beaver Pond is located next to a bike trail that connects Ballston and the Custis Trail, just north of the ramp from Fairfax Drive to I-66.

Residents of the nearby Waycroft Woodlawn neighborhood have become fond of the pond and became worried when a bulldozer arrived in the area as part of the I-66 widening project. But not to fear says Aileen Winquist, of the county’s Environmental Management Bureau.

“The Beaver Pond is not in danger from the current I-66 spot improvement project and widening of westbound I-66,” Winquist said in an email.

Winquist noted that the design work on a planned restoration of the Beaver Pond will begin this fall. The restoration will clean up trash and sediment from the pond and provide better water quality treatment. There will be several public meetings held to educate residents about the project.

Although the Beaver Pond will be largely unaffected by the I-66 widening, a VDOT-owned stormwater retention pond across the street will be impacted. Construction is planned for the facility, but details about the exact nature of the work were not immediately available.

More photos after the jump.

  • JosephRicks

    mmm, beaver.

  • Hikin’ the Pike

    It took exactly 12 minutes for the joke to be made.

  • John

    It’s a floating trash pond… tons of litter

  • charlie

    VDOT makes it clear that it is safe from “current” spot improvements. How ’bout next round?

  • GK

    The pond is fed by a stream running under Washington Blvd. from the park that resides behind the hospice on 16th St. The stream flows from out of a storm sewer fed from local neighborhoods. That’s where all the trash comes from. The pond eventually dumps into a storm sewer that runs under ground from the 66 ramps all the way to ffx drive near Abingdon street and on to Lubber Run park. The county would do well to leave well enough alone. Let nature handle itself. The trash… only way to stop that is to get it before it gets in the water flow.

    • charlie

      this IS Lubber Run. It runs from Four Mile Run, under Route 50, thru Lubber Run Park, behind houses on Abingdon Street, under Wilson Blvd., and then daylight at I-66, it goes back underground until 13th Street and comes up in the park behind Hospice for a bit, then back underground to its origin somewhere in Halls Hill, oddly enuf where the house that burned down is located.
      Maybe that trash is from Ovechkins yard?

      • cj

        So the stream runs uphill from Four Mile Run to its source? Plainly a natural phenomenon worthy of protection! Even if it runs the usual way, from source toward sea, it’s a fine remaining partly-natural feature in urban Arlington. And the beaver pond is an unplanned delight.

  • Jim

    Yeah – its a shame about the trash. I live in the neighborhood and would guess that most of the trash comes into the storm drains via the gutters along 16th Street North and Edison. I see plenty of litter scattered mainly from cars and often from pedistrians(lots of plastic bags, beer cans and fast food containers). Our civic association does an annual clean up of the open streambed behind the Hospice. One year we found a dozen pieces of car parts in that stream. Any way – don’t blame the neighbors – we’re doing are part.

  • charlie

    Only when the tide is coming in. Otherwise you are correct about direction of flow.
    And Wayne is right. I forget our Senate comp.

  • Use to live on 13th St and walk around that pond on regular dog walks. It’s a beautiful place.

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