Great Blue Heron Hunting Along the Occoquan Reservoir Shoreline

Community Report, January 5, 2022

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Smart Growth Protects What We Have!

A discussion on Data Centers... from the Rural Crescent to the Occoquan Reservoir

Thursday, January 6, 7:00pm Webinar, Register HERE

More information, contact PWCA at, 703.490.5200

Please join us to learn more about the ongoing Digital Gateway proposal for new data centers. Significant from environmental, historic, and land use perspectives, this plan would cover more than 2,000 acres in the Rural Crescent, which currently protects farms, historic resources, streams and wetlands, and a beautiful countryside with 40 miles of Virginia Scenic Byways.

The proposed plan borders Conway Robinson State Forest and Manassas National Battlefield Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In his December 14 comments, the County Archeologist states that sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places should be preserved in place. He recommends that much of the land in the southern area remain as Rural Crescent.

This land also lies within the Occoquan Reservoir watershed, which supplies clean drinking water to over 40% of the region's 2M population. In their December 10 comments, County Environmental Services staff recognized that approval of this plan would allow a "dramatic change to the land use with associate far reaching impact to natural resources" and recommend that the Comprehensive Plan remain unchanged.

In addition to staff comments, the former superintendent of Manassas Battlefield has called this proposal "the single greatest threat to Manassas National Battlefield Park in nearly three decades." Increasingly, we are seeing that smart growth protects what we have and puts data centers where they belong.


Dr. Jack Kooyoomjian, ret. US EPA and LOCCA, shares information on storm water runoff and sedimentation, which historically is responsible for the loss of one billion gallons of water storage in the Occoquan Reservoir. Learn why retention of the Rural Crescent is a significant land-use strategy and key in protecting both our ground water and surface drinking water supplies.

Julie Bolthouse, Piedmont Environmental Council, discusses the land use changes being proposed, from data centers to warehouses. She explains how the proposal would impact the Rural Crescent, Manassas National Battlefield Park, and Conway Robinson State Forest, places that have irreplaceable scenic, historic, tourism, and economic value.

Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth, highlights the impact of a Bi-County Parkway as part of long-controversial Outer Beltway proposals, which would impact communities from Dumfries to eastern Loudoun. By protecting the Rural Crescent the county will avoid generating thousands of additional vehicle trips, and save hundreds of millions in tax dollars for roads and other infrastructure.

Sponsored by Prince William Conservation Alliance with the Piedmont Environmental Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club Great Falls Group

Quantico Creek at Prince Willialm Forest Park