Main Stem 15 Engineering Proving Ground

July 31, 2012 – Walked upstream along the portion of Accotink Creek that runs through the Engineer Proving Grounds (Fort Belvoir North).

Accotink Creek here flows mostly over boulders and bedrock, in a series of riffles, small rapids, and deep pools, between steep banks that seem to deserve the description of “gorge” in places. There is good forest buffer in most places, although much of the forest has been sacrificed to recent development, including the extension of the Fairfax County Parkway and construction of the National Geospatial Agency headquarters. Little of the bank erosion seen along most parts of Accotink Creek was visible here.

There seemed to be fewer fish than expected along much of this portion of the creek, although fish large and small were fairly abundant upstream of the Barta Road bridge.

Trash was moderate, perhaps because few storm drains enter the creek as it passes through the Engineer Proving Ground.

Invasive alien plant species are a problem here, especially in more open areas. Chinese wisteria vines form extensive nearly impenetrable thickets and cover trees. Chinese lespedeza is well established in the recently cleared areas. Japanese stilt grass and mile-a-minute vine are also prevalent.

Photos at

Share your own observations/comments on the Engineering Proving Ground 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