Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fixing Four Mile Run

As reported in the Sun-Gazette, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) recently made this federal funding announcement:

$700,000 for the Four Mile Run project, to enable the Army Corps of Engineers to complete its study of the options to replace the current cement channel with a more natural stream bed. Completion of the study would give Arlington and Alexandria a green light to implement the first phase of the master plan to transform Four Mile Run into a habitat more suitable for wildlife and recreation.
Congressman Moran has been a leading advocate of renovating lower Four Mile Run, following through on the project for years now.

You can see a little history of Four Mile Run's channelization at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission's website. It's worked perfectly from a flood-control standpoint, but much like the Army Corps of Engineers' well-intentioned flood-control efforts on the Mississippi, the channelization had a devastating environmental impact.

But the restoration efforts could lead to the best of both worlds -- flood control and an aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly river. Arlington County's website has some tantalizing images of what the restored channel could look like.

Right now, if you live on South Glebe near Four Mile Run, you're essentially living next to a big concrete drain pipe. But once the restoration is complete, you'll be living next to a natural stream. That can only lead to new development and higher property values, so this project isn't just the right environmental move, it's the right economic move.

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