Master Plan
Lake Accotink Park

Master Plan Meeting February 13, 2018, at Lake Braddock Secondary
Supervisors Jeff McKay and John Cook co-hosted this meeting and together fielded questions. Community engagement with the future of Lake Accotink was evident with a crowd of about 200 in attendance. Opinions generally ran in favor of retaining the lake for a variety of motivations running from emotional attachment to environmental to financial. Options seem to be narrowing down to two:
  • Dredging of the lake combined with a new sediment-capture forebay (Option C)
  • Breaching the dam to reconnect the stream while sculpting a smaller lake (Option F)
  • A variation of Option C that would move the forebay to near Braddock Road was also given consideration
The Supervisors emphasized the financial hurdle to Option C (at about $43 million). This would require a county-wide vote on a bond issue which would need a substanial show of community support before the Board of Supervisors would submit the proposal to voters. Supervisor Cook pointed out that swift action would be needed to get the bond issue on the 2019 ballot, the 2020 ballot already being crowded with other bond issues, and later years perhaps being too late for the lake.

Nonetheless, both supervisors expressed determination to make the funding happen if community support is there. Supervisor McKay made his commitment clear by stating, "If we decide to save this lake, I will kill myself to get the money."

One speaker brought up the issue of the current Accotink Creek TMDL, which may mandate that the sediment-capture function of the lake must be retained.

The meeting received media attention in the Annandale Blog and on WJLA Channel 7

Submit your written comments by e-mail at and complete the Park Authority lake options survey HERE by May 28, 2018.

Read FACC's comments to the Park Authority and Supervisors HERE

★ Neighbors are swiftly building momentum in favor of preserving the lake. ★
★ And have generated a petition HERE
★ Find them at and on Facebook

At the Fairfax County Park Authority Master Plan webpage for Lake Accotink Park, you may read background information, review documents, and sign up for email notifications.

Submit your written comments by e-mail at .

Lake Accotink Park's website

Master Plan Meeting January 22, 2018, at North Springfield Elementary

It was a full house for a meeting to inform the public about options for the future of the lake. A slide lecture, display stations, and Q&A laid out the financial and sedimentation issues that make maintaining the lake a challenge. A secondary topic was the concept of connecting the upper and lower parking areas, either for the public or for emergency vehicles only. Supervisors Bulova and Cook were present.

The continued filling in of the lake with sediment requires periodic dredging at significant county expense. The dam itself requires ongoing maintenance expense for continued function and safety.

Despite the significant sediment capture, the county cannot obtain MS4 points (for stormwater discharge permits) for Lake Accotink because it does not meet certain technical requirements.

None of the options is ideal. Retaining the lake is a substantial financial cost to taxpayers and leaves a barrier to wildlife movement. Breaching the dam would reconnect the stream for wildlife movement, but would sacrifice the wetlands at the head of the lake and probably cause the extinction of the last population of freshwater mussels in Accotink Creek - in addition to losing the community value of the lake.

The same options for the lake's future laid out at the May 16, 2016, meeting were still on the table tonight, minus one. The option for artificial "beaver dams" had been dropped from consideration. Otherwise the options were:

  • Do nothing and watch the lake fill with sediment.
  • Continue periodic full-lake dredging
  • Install a sediment forebay at the head of the lake, with annual dredging
  • Breach the dam and reconnect the stream channel
  • Breach the dam, reconnect the stream channel, and sculpt a smaller lake on the north shore
An additional outside-the-box option suggested by a member of the public was to install a forebay far upstream, under the power lines at Braddock Road. This is an option worth exploring and offers these possibilities:
  • Avoid the issue of neighborhood truck traffic during dredging
  • Avoid a new truck road through forested areas
  • Reduce sediment buildup in the lake
  • Avoid wetland destruction
  • Might be eligible for MS4 points
  • Could take the place of stormwater ponds proposed for the Braddock Road widening project
  • Graphic Concept of This Proposal
Options for methods to breach the dam were also outlined. All options would open a gap in the spillway while leaving in place a portion of the concrete and all of the earthen part of the dam. Disappointingly, there seems to be no possibility of using explosives. ☹

Attendees were asked to vote by paper ballots on their preferred options for the lake and connectivity.

Review the Park Authority meeting summary & presentation.
Review the Lake Sustainabilty Study.
Informative comments in Supervisor Cook's Newsletter

Submit your written comments by e-mail at .

Master Plan meeting April 24, 2017 at Cardinal Forest Elementary:

The Park Authority scheduled this public meeting at our request, on the topic of natural resources, and combined it with the request of Friends of Lake Accotink Park for a meeting on the topic of historic resources. Both Friends of Accotink Creek and Friends of Lake Accotink Park had tables at the meeting.

The format combined separate staff presentations on natural resources and historic resources with display tables covering each aspect of resource conservation. Public attendance was only in the neighborhood of 25 persons, roughly equal to the number of staff persons there from different agencies. Supervisor John Cook spoke of the park as a place we all want to preserve, describing it as one of our last places "where you can step off the road and not know you're in Fairfax County".

We learned that staff has been conducting biological surveys and that resource protection zones will be defined. These zones will direct development away from sensitive areas and form the basis for future enhhancement and restoration. A natural vegetation community classification has identified 15 habitat types in the park. Earlier studies of habitat areas and species lists are available in the 1992 General Management Plan.

The draft Master Plan is expected to be ready for public review in late 2017.

The May 16, 2016 public meeting focused on lake sustainability and the chronic siltation issue:
On March 14, 2016, the long-delayed Master Plan for Lake Accotink Park began with a well-attended initial public meeting. Read our brief notes HERE.
Read the Annandale Blog report HERE.
The Master Plan for Lake Accotink Park is in development now.
Lend your voice in defense of habitat and watersheds!

The Board of Conservators of Friends of Accotink Creek has submitted comments on the focus of the Master Plan. Please find them HERE and use as a model for your own comments, either in person or in writing. Modify or personalize as appropriate

The fundamental principle is to defend natural resources over development and "improvements". The demand for active recreational and sports use of parks is infinite, but our remaining natural areas are finite. Destruction of irreplaceable habitat to satisfy demands for active recreation is an unwise course. Likewise, encouraging types of recreation in natural areas that degrade those areas is also destined to be regretted.

The Freshwater Mussel Survey commissioned by Friends of Accotink Creek and Friends of Lake Accotink Park describes an imperiled resource whose protection the Master Plan should enhance.

We can expect the Master Plan to be complete by 2018, after which any funding would come from the 2020 bond issue. In the meantime, the 2016 park bond issue includes $1.5 million for Lake Accotink Park. If approved by voters, these expenditures may begin while the Master Plan is incomplete. This creates some possibility of ad hoc projects incompatible with the long-term goals of the master plan.

At the Fairfax County Park Authority Master Plan webpage for Lake Accotink Park, you may read background information, review documents, and sign up for email notifications.

Submit your written comments by e-mail at .

Lake Accotink Park's website