The first phase of the Dewey's Creek stream restoration project is underway near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Wayside Drive near Dumfries. The aim of the project is to reduce bank erosion, enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitat, foster the protection of nearby residential and commercial properties, and prevent flooding of Possum Point Road.
The restored stream will also provide educational opportunities for elementary school through high school students to learn about stream ecology by studying the aquatic life in the creek and terrestrial life around it.
The project will also provide infrastructure protection as the creek has exposed a Prince William County Service Authority sewer main pipe, as well as other features meant to prevent flooding. "We have our own stormwater facility here that's under threat of collapsing because of the erratic nature of the stream," said Tom Dombrowski, an environmental engineer with the county's Department of Public Works. "Once we create a balance for the stream itself, it will stay within its channel and the storm flow will go out to the flood plain and recede, which means it's not going to make a flooding situation."
The project will include creek bank reinforcement with stones and matting along the creek edges made of coconut fibers that will keep soil out of the creek until vegetation becomes established.
Restoring streams with riffles, which flow over shallow rock emplacements, and pools that collect at the bottom of the riffles in the bends of the creek, will attract wildlife as a bonus. "That also will provide habitat for all sorts for fish and fun critters that will be here," Dombrowski said.
While local governments are required to pay for stream restoration projects, federal grants are available, and the county's Department of Public Works has been able to take advantage of the funding in many of its projects.
The county recently received a $1 million Stormwater Local Assistance Fund matching grant to help pay for the first phase of restoration along Dewey's Creek, about 1,000 linear feet, according to Dombrowski. The first phase is a part of a larger project that will stretch more than a mile between U.S. 1 and Possum Point Road when it is completed by the winter of 2018.
Dewey's Creek is a tributary of Quantico Creek, a fresh-water tidal estuary of the Potomac River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.