Northfax West - The End for
the North Fork of Accotink Creek!


July 14, 2020, a date that shall live in infamy - when Fairfax City Council voted unanimously to approve the Northfax West project and thereby condemn the ancient North Fork of Accotink Creek to be entombed.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact:
Friends of Accotink Creek or Nature Forward

May 7, 2023:
- “She came, she loved, and then she went away” -
The North Fork of Accotink Creek has come to its end, diverted into a desolate stone plain leading to the underworld of the new Northfax West culvert. That’s some 2/3 of a mile the creek must now travel in darkness. R.I.P. fish! R.I.P. salamanders!

Trash items found downstream foretell the fate of the North Fork of Accotink Creek

Brutality and abuse seem to be the sad fate of the North Fork of Accotink Creek,
lately the victim of a series of truly unfortunate events:

  • Riprapping just west of Chain Bridge Road, leaving a 100-yard stretch unfit for life,
  • Covering another 100-yard section just west of Eaton Place in a culvert,
  • I-66 widening, even now entombing the headwaters of a tributary in culverts,
  • Plans for 1.2 miles of the paved George Snyder Trail in the forested riparian buffer,
  • And now, Northfax West, a private projct, will bury 1000+ feet of perennial fish-filled stream in the perpetual darkness of a concrete culvert. The horror!

Is this a 'Kick ‘em when they’re down' philosophy? Is it a 'Shoot the wounded' policy?

The vision the Northfax Small Area Plan is inspiring. Yet, how jarring it is that the first step toward creating a greater "Environmentally Focused Area" is burying it's heart, a stream full of fish, as part of the individual Northfax West project.

It is an abdication of the obligations of our generation to bury 1000+ feet of perennial stream, bounded by Resource Protection Areas, and filled with fish, in a concrete culvert to accommodate a private development. This is not a transportation project that must follow a certain course. This is not the accommodation that property owners in Resource Protection Areas are due. Green space for Greenbacks is the straightforward exchange being made.

The 'destroy the North Fork in order to save it' reasoning offered by the developer (and accepted by the permitting agencies and City Council) seems to be double-talk masking total surrender of responsibility for stream protection. By extension of this illogic putting all of Accotink Creek in a pipe would eliminate all erosion - problem solved!

The North Fork of Accotink Creek is being sent into the darkness
to be buried in an unmarked grave.
The brook was thrown
Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone
In fetid darkness still to live and run—
And all for nothing it had ever done

- Robert Frost -

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

- Dylan Thomas -

Be the voice of Accotink Creek!
Let the City decision-makers know how you feel about preservation vs. pavement at:
(With respect and civility always)
(And do remind them of this decision when the next election cycle comes 'round.)

Audubon Naturalist Society's Northfax West webpage slideshow press release 1 press release 2
Comments of the Friends of Accotink Creek May 10, 2020 May 14, 2020 June 17, 2020 July 9, 2020
Comments of the Audubon Naturalist Society May 11, 2020 June 17, 2020 July 8, 2020 July 10, 2020
Technical Analysis Provded by an Informed Expert July 10, 2020
Comments of the Fairfax Citizens for Smarter Growth (Good analysis, but wrong conclusion on protecting the North Fork)
Comments of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Comments of the Potomac Riverkeepers
The Water Quality Impact Assessment, an exercise in justifying the unjustifiable
City of Fairfax Northfax West webpage
Northfax West Discussion Board
Fairfax City Environmental Forum
Fairfax Connection article

Songbird chorus in the woods on the banks of the condemned North Fork

Poking among the gravel of the streambed reveals
abundant tadpoles of the Northern Two-lined Salamander

Dance of the Doomed
Schools of fish, mostly Eastern Blacknose Dace abound in the North Fork.

What were the possible futures of the North Fork of Accotink Creek?

The proposal to redevelop the adjacent property to the south, Brown’s Mazda , proposes to replace pavement with pavement. It would take advantage of the Northfax West removal of the floodplain.

This begs the general question of whether Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements, where a project’s post-development nutrient loading cannot exceed its pre-development nutrient loading, need to be rethought. Pre-development should not mean ‘I can leave the site in whatever condition I found it, just not worse’. It should mean truly pre-development, i.e. forested condition.