Is the Fairfax City Council Bored with Fighting Climate Change, Protect Streams, and Cleaner Air?

More environmental groups voice opposition to Northfax West’s destruction of creek and forest

For Immediate Release – July 7, 2020

For more information, contact [email protected], or 240-899-9019, or Renee Grebe, [email protected], 703-261-4668; or [email protected], or 301-523-5394

FAIRFAX, VA – Environmental groups throughout the region are joining forces with the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and dozens of residents who have spoken out against the destruction of a portion of the Accotink Creek and forest in a proposed development in Fairfax City.

The Fairfax City Council is to decide at a hearing on July 14 if it will move forward with the Northfax West development plan, which calls for removing nearly five acres of protected riparian habitat, while permanently burying the North Fork of the Accotink Creek, home to fish, salamanders, and frogs. The plot of land and stream might seem small, but it represents a precious natural space that needs to be protected to enhance human health and well-being, provided by the existence of wildlife.

The Audubon Naturalist Society has made a key ask of the mayor and council: Deny or postponed a decision on this application to ensure alternatives are sought which preserve the healthier, “A1” section of the stream. Doing so better matches the city’s Northfax Small Area Plan vision to help the city reach its land use and environmental goals.

In June, ANS submitted an 18-page letter in opposition to the plan which would bury the creek and destroy the forest. It testified at two nights of public hearings related to that plan and is submitting a new three-page letter to the Fairfax City Council this week outlining strong opposition to a significant waiver of stream protections put in place in 1990. If granted, that waiver would set a terrible precedent that could imperil streams and their forested buffers throughout the state. Sixteen environmental groups have signed on.

“Once a building burns, you can never get back the original or its contents. And once we bury streams and destroy forests, it’s nearly impossible to get them back, to get back all the wildlife they supported, to get back the cleaner, breathable air that they provide,” said ANS Northern Virginia Advocate Renee Grebe. “A decision by the Fairfax City Council in favor of this project as proposed would set a terrible precedent for protecting streams and forested buffers. In the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change and the need to preserve natural spaces for our own mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Is the Council saying to the people of this region that it doesn’t care?”

Renee Grebe, Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate
Audubon Naturalist Society
Audubon Naturalist Society Society of Northern Virginia
Chesapeake Legal Alliance
Clean Fairfax
Clean Water Action
Climate Reality Project, NOVA Chapter
Earth Rise Indivisible
EcoAction Arlington
EcoLogics Design and Consulting, LLC
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Friends of Accotink Creek
Green Muslims
Natural Resources Defense Council
Potomac Riverkeeper Network
The Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection
Waterkeepers Chesapeake


Follow ANS at: Naturalist SocietyNaturalistSociety, 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region’s iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS‘s nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.