Resources worth saving

Look firstParkland for Plants, People and Wildlife

When: Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 pm
Where: Bull Run Unitarian Church, Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Church, 9350 Main Street, Manassas

Speaker: Charles Smith, Fairfax County Park Authority Natural Resource Specialist & PW Wildflower Society

The Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation has recognized the significance of the globally rare Upland Depression Swamp and Basic Oak-Hickory Forest at Silver Lake.

Given that this site is public land, protecting these resources would seem to be an easy task. But that’s not the case at Silver Lake, where globally rare natural areas were identified only after the fact  –  after the County accepted the property and, more importantly, after the County drew the borders of the middle school site in an area that includes both resources.

If these important resources had been identified in a timely manner, it would have been easy to locate the school site in an area that left globally rare natural areas on the parkland portion of Silver Lake, where they could have been protected.

The good news is that School Board members, working with the Park Authority, are making their best effort to protect these important natural areas. Although the outcome is still not certain, there are good opportunities for success.

At the same time, government is in process of updating the County’s environmental policies. The current draft, which is receiving significant opposition from developers, calls for expanded environmental information early in the development process as well as County efforts aimed as establishing baseline data for natural resources.

Knowing what natural resources a community possesses is a critical step towards protecting them. Silver Lake is a case in point.

The 230-acre Silver Lake Park opened October 1 for hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing. This new park includes an approximate 25-acre lake, 7-acre abandoned quarry, fields and forests.

The Upland Depression Swamp and Basic Oak-Hickory Forests were originally discovered by Charles Smith when he visited the site in early September to assess habitat areas at the request of the Park Authority. Since then, the VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Division has visited Silver Lake and verified Charles’ findings.

Please join us this evening, 7:30 p.m., when speaker Charles Smith will share information on the natural assets found at Silver Lake, land management options that enhance parkland for the benefit of people, plants and wildlife.


1 comment so far

  1. helbergsa on

    Will there be a followup meeting where the public is invited?

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