Snakeden Branch at Lake Audubon Stream Restoration: A Tale of Constraints, Creativity, and Collaboration

Megan McCollough, PE, CFM, Senior Engineer/Section Manager, Stantec

Meghan Fellows, CERP, Project Manager II/Restoration Ecologist, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

Dylan Constable, Project Manager, Environmental Quality Resources, LLC

James N. Grafe, EIT, Engineer-in-Training, Stantec

Under a Stream Stabilization/Restoration, Environmental, Permitting & Ancillary Services Basic Ordering Agreement, Stantec was awarded a Task Order by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) to provide Stream Restoration Design and Construction Administration services for Snakeden Branch at Lake Audubon in Reston, Virginia.

Initial scoping of the site (approximately 800 linear feet) revealed a deeply-incised system, exposing multiple sanitary sewer laterals in addition to mainline crossings. Multiple other utilities including gas, electric, and fiber optic wires were scattered about the site, which was located in the bottom of a narrow, steep valley. Homes surrounded the site on both the left and right banks of the stream. A roadway bounded the upstream end of the project, while the downstream limit of the project was adjacent to the FEMA floodplain mapped on Lake Audubon.

While restoration of the site was deemed necessary for environmental benefits, infrastructure protection, and safety, the constraints observed on-site presented a host of challenges to successful design and completion. Through proactive collaboration amongst DPWES, Stantec, Environmental Quality Resources, L.L.C. (EQR), Reston Association, and several other stakeholders, many innovative solutions were explored and implemented to achieve a feasible design which satisfied key project objectives. Some of these solutions even “broke the mold” for more traditional approaches on these types of projects.

In this presentation, we will discuss project challenges, use of alternative materials and methods for design and construction, and lessons learned from the project.

Author Bio

Meghan has 20+ years experience in design/implementation of restoration projects including riparian buffer, reforestation and rare/endangered species recovery projects. She is working to increase ecological function in urban ecosystems, convince colleagues as to the benefits of black locust as a nursery species and whether smokestack is a better color than persimmon for colored concrete.
Dylan began working at EQR as a project foreman in 2014. Seven years, ~18,000 linear feet of restored stream channel, thousands of feet of living shorelines, and ~9 acres of BMPs later, he treasures the opportunities to improve our environment.
Before joining Stantec, James completed coursework for a Master’s of Science degree at Mississippi State in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He gained experience in Total Suspended Solids sampling and macroinvertebrate collection. During his time at Stantec, James has worked on projects involving stream restoration, BMP design, and construction oversight.