Wakefield Park Section
Main Stem 3
Little River Turnpike to Braddock Rd.

Wakefield Run tributary

May 23, 2013 - Walked upstream along the Wakefield Run tributary in anticipation of the upcoming stream restoration project.

Stream restoration story

Wakefield Run photos at Shutterfly.com

July 7, 2010

This section covers approximately two miles of Accotink creek watershed from the underpass of Little River Turnpike downstream to Braddock Rd. One can expect to encounter a mix of frequently used foot and bike trails, public land, power & gas line cuts, gravel maintenance roads, and private property.

A Large ball field marks the northernmost point of this section, just before Little River Turnpike.
The creek meanders on south westerly through a small residential zone for 0.2 miles and then through
parkland for 1.8 miles.

The creek is often in proximity to hotspots of recreation and industry throughout this two-mile section. Heavy trail use seems to be encouraged in this area and the impact on the surrounding area is easily noticed. That being said, efforts have been made during the planning of some trails to minimize erosion in the area. Old chunks of sidewalk have been appropriated to fortify stretches of bike trail, for example, curbing some of the erosion caused by recreation hotspots as well as giving the bikers an interesting surface to ride on.

A power easement parallels the creek for the entire two miles. The clear-cutting underneath the power lines undoubtedly takes away from the protective function of the buffer zone. On the plus side, most maintenance roads near the creek and easement are not impervious surface such as asphalt or cement, but rather gravel, thus retaining some ability to absorb water during a storm surge.

A Friends of Accotink Creek Invasive Management Area (IMA) site is along the creek in the residential zone just downstream from Little River Turnpike. Volunteers are working to control winged burning bush, privet and other non-native shrubs below a moderately dense canopy. Multiflora rose, mile-a-minute, and Japanese stilt grass also being targeted.

Wakefield Park is home to a large RECenter as well as widespread system of fields and maintained trails. The grounds are maintained fairly well considering the multiple land uses taking place in such a condensed area. Trash debris was often sparse walking up the creek but never too hard to spot.

The considerable degree of erosion that is common in other sections of the Accotink creek watershed is also present here. There are steeply eroded creek walls throughout. Overhanging bank material has slumped into the creek in many areas. Tributaries line the main stem in a dendritic fashion, carved deeply in areas by storm surges.

The Cross Country Trail (CCT) follows the creek from start to finish in this section. The CCT is part of a larger network that runs north 40 miles from the Occoquan River to the Potomac River. The soil and vegetative growth between the main stem and established trails in this section was often ample enough to afford the creek protection from foot & bike traffic. Other areas of heavily used trail run through tributaries, eroding away the walls and leaving the buffer scarce of vegetative growth.

Overall, this section of watershed is significantly eroded. In addition, native plants battle with invasive species and trail networks for growing space. Efforts to restore and sustain watershed health in this section will have to tackle how to make a more robust buffer zone given the heavy use the area currently receives.

December 2012

Exploration of the unnamed tributary which joins Accotink Creek in Americana Park. Walking upstream from the mouth of the tributary, power transmission lines are above, so all tree cover is removed, leaving grass and small shrubs. The banks are deeply incised through soft sediments. These sediments appear to have been deposited here during the original construction of the Beltway. The tributary passes through large box culverts under Americana Drive and the Beltway, with a short gap between the two. Upstream from the Beltway, the tributary flows through private property, the common areas of two condominium associations, Fairfax Heritage and Heritage Woods. Wooded buffer is mostly good along this stretch, although one spot is mowed to the bank. Erosion is severe, with undercut banks and the streambed eroded down to bedrock in places. The bank is reinforced with gabion at one point and occasional patches of rip-rap. Trash is prevalent here, including a number of shopping carts and bicycles. Invasive alien plant species are abundant, including English ivy, wintercreeper, and wineberry. Fish are present in limited numbers up to Heritage Drive.

Above Heritage Drive the tributary flows through a concrete channel. Forest buffer is still fairly good, although much English ivy is present. The area belongs to Wedgewood Manor Apts and several office buildings. The furthest upstream stretch of the tributary above the concrete channel is narrow and deeply incised below where it emerges from a storm drain near Wedgewood Drive.

Photos at shutterfly.com

Share your own observations/comments on Wakefield Park 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