Ballston’s ‘Beaver Pond’ is Getting a Makeover

A $5 million wetland restoration project is in the works.

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You may never have noticed the 6-acre, trash-laden stretch of marshy land where Fairfax Drive meets I-66 in Ballston, but it’s about to get a major face-lift. Plans are being finalized to revitalize the parcel—known as Ballston Pond or (more colloquially) the “Beaver Pond”—and turn it into the county’s largest wetland. Estimated at $5 million, the project will play an important role in Arlington’s stormwater runoff management program, which seeks to reduce levels of pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment flowing into the Chesapeake Bay by 10 to 15 percent. “We will be taking out a lot of the invasive [plants] and putting in native wetland plants,” says Arlington County Watershed Outreach program manager Aileen Winquist. “It will be a massive improvement.”

Constructed in 1980, Ballston Pond was always designed to collect stormwater runoff and is a drainage basin for Lubber Run. But over the years, sediment, litter, landscape changes and an industrious family of beavers rendered it ineffective and unsightly.

With the restoration effort, set to happen in 2020, debris catchers such as trash racks and net-and-buoy systems will be installed to solve the litter problem, while a boardwalk will offer wildlife views. Planners anticipate the return of turtles, foxes, salamanders and lots of birds. And the beavers? They will be relocated, Winquist says, since their building vision doesn’t quite mesh with the larger objective.

 


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