Giving Tuesday

Conserve PWPrince William Conservation Alliance

Community Report
January 5, 2016
Newsletter archive


Thank you!

Nokesville Christmas Bird Count

Dam! What's Going on at Silver Lake?

It's Parks v. Schools... Healthy Communities Have Both!

Five Reasons Parks are Important

Bird Walk at Merrimac Farm WMA

Virginia Tiger Moth CaterpillarAnd now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Merrimac Farm Bird Walk
Sunday, January 31... on the last Sunday of every month, beginning at 8:00 am. Meet at the Stone House at Merrimac Farm, 15020 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville

Everyone is welcome. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars and cameras.

RSVP to PWCA at 703.499.4954 or alliance@
Phoebe by Julia Flanagan

Parks, trails, and open space are smart investments that increase property values, create stable neighborhoods and produce economic opportunities.

Five Reasons Why Parks are Important

1. Close-to-home access to parks helps people become active and stay that way.

2. Proximity to parkland improves property values. Parks are economic engines that improve our quality of life. They create communities that are desirable for businesses and homeowners.

3. Parks provide vital green space in fast-developing landscapes, and reduce the effects of sprawl.

4. Parks preserve critical wildlife habitat.

5. Parks encourage social interactions and are critical to maintaining community cohesion and pride.

PWCA Nature Calendar
Find out what's happening in PWC!
Contact us at alliance@ to learn how to share your organizations activities.

Prince William Wildflower Society Annual Winter Slide Show
Monday, January 18, 7:30pm at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8712 Plantation Lane, Manassas

Join PWWS members and friends for this casual gathering to view photos from all over and to enjoy refreshments and doorprizes.

Thank you for Your Support!

Paper WaspPWCA is thrilled to announce that we exceeded our year end fundraising goal of $10,000 which will be matched by our Board of Directors.

Thank you to our members old and new whose generous contributions are giving us a great start to the new year. We couldn't do our work without your commitment to protect our natural resources, promote conservation-friendly public policies, and create community stewardship opportunities.

Please save the date for our annual member party on Saturday, January 30, 7:30pm, and help us celebrate a year of success! Not a member yet? It's not too late to share your support! Click here for member benefits and mail-in form or here to join online. We're looking forward to seeing you soon.

It's Parks v. Schools... Healthy Communities Have Both!

Silver-spotted Skipper CaterpillarPW County Schools (PWCS) Community Meeting
Thursday, January 7 at 7:00pm at Gar-Field HS

MidCounty Civic Association Meeting
Thursday, January 21, at McCoart Government Center

PW County Schools (PWCS) current proposal for a new school site in east Prince William follows their long-standing practice of ignoring our natural and cultural resources.

This time PWCS is proposing to build their new school on one of the few forested parks in east Prince William. The location is Chinn Park, where approximately one-third of this 77 acre forested park would be converted into a school, resulting in the loss of beautiful forest, streams, and wetlands, as well as a walking trail and significantly altering the existing topography.

Chinn Park is a great example of an effective community park. In addition to protecting our green infrastructure, this park boasts a hike/bike path that connects surrounding neighborhoods to each other and to the library and fitness center.

PWCS plans would eliminate a major portion of the trail, disconnect area residents from park facilities and degrade the quality of any remaining streams and forest.

Parkland is an important community amenity and is in short supply in east Prince William. In the Occoquan District, there are less than 5 acres of parkland per 1,000 people, not even close to the PWC standard of 15 acres per 1,000 people.

Chinn Park is a well loved community resource and a breath of fresh air in an increasingly congested area. The surrounding area is already jam packed with a huge retirement home, fast food, veterinarian clinic, and six-lane parkway. Vehicle access to this area is limited as it was never intended to support a school.

Parkland is a poor choice for new school sites, especially when other opportunities are available. Adaptive re-use is one option, such as Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Fairfax County, which was formerly an office building.

Fast and easy is also available... Co-locating a school at the Garfield High School site is a very good option. There is enough room to add a new elementary school, PWCS already owns the land, and bus traffic would not overlap commuter rush hours.

Parks are important for too many reasons to include here. But consider just the benefits to economic development (said to be a Board of County Supervisors priority).

According to the VA Outdoor Plan, small company owners say recreation, parks and open space are the highest priority in choosing a new location for their business.

We need new schools AND we need all the parkland we can get. Why would we sacrifice an irreplaceable asset when better options for a new school are available? Attend the community meetings to learn more and share your views.

Citizen Science is for the Birds - Nokesville Christmas Bird Count

Bird FoodThanks to 50 people who volunteered their time and expertise, the Nokesville Christmas Bird Count was a huge success again this year. We saw a good variety of birds, a total of 89 species and 19,302 individuals.

We added three species to the Nokesville list: a Common Yellowthroat at the Cedar Run Wetland Bank in Fauquier, a Palm Warbler, and a Canvasback seen at MCB Quantico.

Other highlights include two Barn Owls in Nokesville, four Barred Owls at Quantico, and a screech owl at the Cedar Run Wetland Bank in Nokesville.

A Pine Warbler was spotted in Fauquier County and two Snow Goose were in Nokesville. Both species have been seen only once before since the count began in 2008. Check for more information and the video in our next edition of our ezine,

Dam! What's Going on at Silver Lake?

Giving TuesdayIf you have visited Silver Lake Regional Park in Haymarket recently, you will have seen the dam rehabilitation project. Like all construction projects, it is aesthetically – well, to be blunt, it’s ugly right now.

Although PWC has been known at times to bulldoze first and check for natural resources after the fact or not at all, in this case the reshaping of the landscape is essential.

The 29-foot high earthen dam at Silver Lake is classified as having High Hazard Potential and must be reconstructed to conform to Virginia's Dam Safety Regulations, so a heavy storm will not cause the dam to break and flood homes downstream.

With a price tag of $2.5 million, work on the Silver Lake dam is expected to be completed in June 2016.

Currently, the lake has been temporarily lowered in order to construct needed control structures and provide additional storage to prevent flooding. While there are concerns about impacts to aquatic life, the lowering of the water level during the winter months is intended to help minimize those impacts. Check the next issue of our ezine,, to learn more.