Fort Belvoir Base Realignment and Closure

Fairfax County, Virginia
Owner:
U.S. Department of the Army

The U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Belvoir was appointed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to relocate certain Department of Defense (DOD) agencies to an approximately 628-acre portion of the 807-acre Engineer Proving Ground (EPG).  The authorized construction activities resulted in permanent and temporary impacts to 1.34 acres of wetlands, including 2,905 linear feet of streams.  Wetland and stream impact compensation was provided through purchase of credits at WSSI's North Fork Wetlands and Stream Bank and WSSI’s Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank.

Environmental Services and Permitting

Based on previous WSSI Endangered and Threatened Species (ETS) work on a portion of the EPG site proposed for the Fairfax County Parkway (where WSSI found the first small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) in Fairfax County), WSSI was contracted in June 2006 to perform a search for the small whorled pogonia for the entire EPG project area.  Subsequently, WSSI delineated and surveyed all Waters of the U.S., including wetlands, on the parcel; the delineation was completed in February 2007.  WSSI also delineated the Fairfax County Resource Protection Areas (RPA) and Environmental Quality Corridor (EQC) for the site.

WSSI then procured the necessary Federal and State wetland and waterway permits for the impacts associated with the project.  WSSI initiated pre-application coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) in February 2007 in order to bring them into the planning process for the permit, and it was subsequently determined that, in addition to the EPG site property, the wetland permit needed to incorporate all required off-site improvements as well, such as road, utility, and construction access requirements.  WSSI completed the full delineation and survey in July 2007 and then prepared the newly-revised jurisdictional determination forms, as required by the Rapanos decision guidance, to facilitate the COE’s review and issuance of a jurisdictional determination for the entire project, including the off-site areas.

WSSI prepared and submitted the original Joint Permit Application (JPA) in May 2007.  All required individual permits were issued by November 2007, less than one year from the initiation of the wetland delineation and just over six months from the submittal of the permit application. WSSI coordinated and prepared a total of nine permit modifications that ultimately reduced the project's overall impacts by more than 1 acre of wetlands and 3,000 linear feet of stream compared to the original permits.

Archeology

WSSI's Thunderbird Archeology division conducted Phase II archeological evaluations of two sites (44FX1808 and 44FX1904) in support of the BRAC operation.  The diversity of environmental settings and micro-habitats within the vicinity of Fort Belvoir were attractive to Native populations throughout most of the known prehistoric past. 

The Phase II evaluation of 44FX1808 identified the site as a small seasonal camp, which may have been utilized during several prehistoric time periods.  (Although the single diagnostic prehistoric artifact recovered dated to the Early/Middle Woodland time period, the site may have initially been visited during the Archaic period, possibly the Late Archaic.) 

Site 44FX1904’s location on a terrace adjacent to a small interior creek, the relatively small numbers of artifacts recovered from the site, and the lack of diversity in artifact types suggested that it too was a temporary seasonal camp.  The recovered diagnostics included two Accokeek Cord Marked sherds dating from the Early Woodland time period (1,000-500 B.C.), and a Fox Creek/Selby Bay Lanceolate type projectile point dating from the Middle Woodland time period (300 A.D.-600 A.D.). 

No intact prehistoric cultural features or diagnostic artifacts were found during Phase II evaluations, and the evidence of past plowing on both sites indicated that any prehistoric features have likely been destroyed.  This evidence, along with the small size of the artifact assemblages recovered, indicated that Sites 44FX1808 and 44FX1904 were not likely to yield significant research information beyond what was already known.  The sites were not considered to be potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D, and no further work was recommended. 

Stream Restoration

WSSI designed approximately 1,260 linear feet of stream restoration of a reach of an unnamed perennial tributary to Accotink Bay to offset encroachments into the Resource Protection Area and Environmental Quality Corridor.  Secondary improvements associated with the project included the stabilization of the lower portion of an eroding intermittent tributary and a wildlife crossing that serves as a culvert for flood flows above bankfull.

The specific improvements to the unnamed channel include the stabilization of an energy dissipation structure at a culvert, raising the channel to reconnect it with a floodplain, stabilization using boulder grade control structures, habitat improvements using log structures, expansion of wetland areas by creating linkages to adjacent seep zones, and selective seeding.  WSSI developed the design using Natural Channel Design techniques aimed at mimicking the stable dimension, plan, and profile of a reference condition. 

WSSI coordinated the work with Fort Belvoir staff, as well as staff from the COE's Baltimore District.  The design plans were then subjected to reviews and approvals by all relevant agencies, including the Fort Belvoir Department of Public Works, the COE, and the DEQ.