The Environmental Division at Stafford County has been facilitating a stream restoration project at St. Clair Brooks Memorial Park to help prevent erosion. The stream restoration began major construction activities in March 2023. The efforts in the restoration will reduce the amount of sediment and pollutants by arresting the rate of erosion within the channel. The project aims to improve water quality; reestablish a connection between the stream and its natural floodplain; provide better aquatic habitat; and deliver an aesthetically pleasing recreational site for nearby park and disc golf visitors.
Sediment in stream and stormwater runoff carries Nitrogen and Phosphorus, creating turbid conditions, which are added stressors for fish and aquatic organisms. Excessive amounts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus contribute to algal growth, lowering dissolved oxygen in waterways that fish and other aquatic organisms need to breathe and survive. Over half of the 1,400-foot tributary to the Rappahannock River selected for the project has been restored, with 800 linear feet completed as of July 2023. The techniques used in the design imitate the site's natural characteristics and maintain the surrounding forested area's visual setting.
Impacts on Brooks Park during construction have been minimal, with only a few interruptions to the disc golf course, and the paved walking trails have not been affected. Disc golf holes 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17 are temporarily closed for construction. This fall from mid-October to mid-December, native vegetation will be planted around the stream to promote a permanent stable channel cross-section. This will inhibit erosion and slow down excessive runoff velocities during larger storm events. The vegetation will also promote excess pollutant removal and increase the habitat available for wildlife.
The restoration of the stream will enable the County to meet 100% of its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals for the Chesapeake Bay to reduce Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment by 2028. Funding for the project is partly supported by a 50/50 matching grant from the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) administered by the VA Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Stafford also received a $40,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), secured by Friends of the Rappahannock in partnership with Stafford County. The total project cost is slightly over $1 Million, which includes the total design and construction costs.
Stafford County thanks visitors to Brooks Park for their patience during construction. The major grading activities of the project are anticipated to be substantially completed in early September 2023. The entire project area should be reopened to the public in late spring 2024. For more information on the project and to stay updated on future progress please consult the dedicated St. Clair Brooks Park Stream Restoration webpage on Stafford County’s website.