Crook Branch Walk

19 February 2008: Walked upstream from the mouth of Crook Branch in Woodburn Road Park to its last upstream outlet at Pickett Road in Fairfax City.

The mouth of Crook Branch empties into Accotink Creek just west of Woodburn Road. Here in the park, buffer is very broad. Moving upstream, buffer becomes quite narrow just below Morningside Dr. There are patches of invasive alien mile-a-minute, English ivy, and bamboo here. From this point upstream, there is no more park property along Crook Branch.

From Morningside Dr upstream to Prosperity Ave, buffer is generally good, but one house has mowed to the banks and there are gabion rock walls on both banks at Prosperity. In this neighborhood, house lots are large and wooded. There are swales instead of storm drains.

Above Prosperity Ave to Moss Brooke Ct, buffer is generally good to excellent in large backyards and a streamside strip of Ridgelea Community property.

SOUTHERN TRIBUTARY: A tributary joins from the south here and is bordered by a strip of Ridgelea Community property as far as Little River Turnpike. Buffer varies from good to nil here. Above Little River Turnpike, the tributary dwindles away in backyards. The last flowing water upstream is below Littleton St.

MAIN STEM: On the main stem above the tributary, the Ridgelea Community trail crosses Crook Branch below Moss Brook Ct, and is in danger of being undercut by erosion. There is a deteriorating cinder block wall on one bank here and a good deal of invasive English ivy and bamboo.

Above the trail bridge, several houses have mowed to the banks along Glenbrooke Ct, but buffer is otherwise good up to just below Prince William Dr, where one owner has mowed a field to the banks on both sides.

Above Prince William Drive, buffer narrows to merely tree-lined banks in backyards and the stream is confined underground for about 50 yards below Acosta Rd. For about another 50 yards above Acosta Rd, the channel is confined in concrete and rock walls.

From that point upstream to Pickett Road, Crook Branch is bordered on the south by apartments, on the north by single-family homes and a bit of Stockbridge Community property, and on the west by the industrial zone along Pickett. Buffer is better here, but trash is severe and there is dumping, though perhaps not recent. The stream cuts through a man-made ridge, possibly an old railroad bed. The last upstream outlet is below Pickett Road.

Invasive alien plant species are present all along Crook Branch, but generally moderate.

Erosion is moderate to severe along all of Crook Branch, as it is throughout the Accotink Creek watershed.

Trash is moderate along Crook Branch, except just below Pickett Rd, where it is substantial.

Photos at

Share your own observations/comments on this or other sections of the Accotink Creek watershed.

1 Northwestern Watershed
2 Daniels Run
3 Hunters Branch
4 Bear Branch
5 Long Branch North
6 Main Stem - Pickett Rd downstream to Prosperity Ave
7 Main Stem - Prosperity Ave to Little River Turnpike
8 Crook Branch
9 Coon Branch
10 Turkey Run
11 Long Branch Central
12 Wakefield Park (Main Stem - Little River Turnpike to Braddock Road)
13 Lake Accotink Park (Main Stem - Braddock Road to Old Keene Mill Road )
14 Main Stem - Old Keene Mill Road to Ft. Belvoir Engineering Proving Ground
15 Main Stem - Ft Belvoir Engineering Proving Ground
16 Main Stem - Ft Belvoir Engineering Proving Ground to Telegraph Road
17 Long Branch South
18 Main Stem - Telegraph Road to Potomac River
19 Flag Run
20 Calamo Branch
21 Field Lark Branch
22 Mason Run
23 Kernan Run
24 Hatmark Branch