Preserving Nature

Bull Run
Bull Run
(named after cattle, presumably - but 400 years ago, it would have been called something else)

Questions to Explore This Week
- what is "natural" vs. "artificial"
- what is required to conserve a "special place"
- do we need to intervene in nature to protect it (i.e., manage deer populations through hunting?)
- why are "RPA's" important in some Northern Virginia jurisdictions, but not in Loudoun, Fauquier, Manassas, or Manassas Park?
- what natural areas would you protect from alteration, assuming Northern Virginia's population will continue to grow?
- how do we prevent nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment from getting into the Bay... and do you really want to save it?

John Smith marked the limit of we-really-saw-it interior explorations with Maltese crosses on his map
John Smith marked the limit of we-really-saw-it interior explorations with Maltese crosses on his map

1) What Makes a Place "Natural"?
- Deer Management in Fairfax County
- Report: Fairfax deer population exploding
- Dark Sky Map
- Light Pollution Map of Northern Virginia
- Japanese Honeysuckle: Lonicera japonica

Laurel Hill Park
Laurel Hill Park, site of the old 3,000 acre Lorton prison complex
(majority is to be used for park and active recreation uses and public facilities, and
Occoquan Workhouse will be reused as an arts center)
Source: Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan - Lower Potomac Planning District

2) Conserving Mason Neck
A Seaport is Proposed for Fairfax (The Washington Post, June 10, 1965) (you will need to sign in with your standard GMU username and password)
- Big Development Planned For Historic Mason's Neck
- Mason Neck Fauna Have Protectors
- Mason Neck Zoning Bid Tabled Pending Survey
- 3 Upper Potomac Dams, Vast River Park Asked
- Virginia Plans Large Park at Mason Neck
- U.S. Pledges Funds For Park to Protect Mason Neck Wilds
- Huge Park System Asked for Potomac
- $1.5 Million for Mason Neck Park Will Buy Half of Desired Acreage
- Mason Neck Town Seen Doomed, but Board Delays Vote
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Fairfax RPA map
Resource Protection Area (RPA) map in Fairfax County showing how RPA designation stops where stream is not classified "perennial"
(on USGS quad maps, where solid blue lines become dotted lines... but Fairfax has a more-accurate stream classification protocol)
Source: Fairfax County Digital Map Viewer

3) Resource Protection Areas (RPA's)
- Virginia's Bay Act Program
- Ches Bay regs for designating Resource Protection Areas
- Perennial Stream Mapping Project
- More Protection for County Streams (In Northern Virginia, only Fairfax County has mapped all of the perennial streams, so everyone knows in advance where buffers must be protected. In other jurisdictions, streams are classified only as development proposals are submitted. Contractors working for developers provide the maps, but county officials may double-check the classifications.)
- Resource Protection Area Presentation (part of a county outreach effort to explain why homeowners could not clear vegetation and build sheds withing 100 feet of perennial streams)
- Chesapeake Bay Regulations/Resource Protection Areas (RPA's) (one organization's perspective on protecting RPA's in Prince William County)

state's map of conserved lands in Northern Virginia
state's map of conserved lands in Northern Virginia
( after seeing the impact of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions on Fort Belvoir,
do you agree that Quantico Marine Corps Base is protected?)
Source: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

4) Protected Areas in Northern Virginia
- explore the Virginia Conservation Lands Database

Dyke Marsh
Dyke Marsh
(in the middle of urbanized NOVA, just downstream from Alexandria...)
Source: National Park Service

5) Dyke Marsh (a lesser-known natural area that is worth a visit...)
- Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
- A Sanctuary Amid the Sprawl
- When Public Needs Collide

Upcoming events that might interest you (NOTE: April 22 is Earth Day):
- April 19: Eagle Festival at Mason Neck
- April 19-27: Historic Garden Week, including Alexandria, Fauquier-Loudoun, and Fairfax
- May 10: Astronomy Day At Sky Meadows State Park

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
not-yet-finished Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
(where would you locate it in Northern Virginia?)
Source: National Park Service

Geography of Northern Virginia
Virginia Places