Loudoun Set to Establish Stream Protection Zone
Loudoun County’s effort to better protect its streams is nearing the finish line.
The key elements of the proposed ordinance, already used by 84 other Virginia localities, include:
- Creating protection zones along year-round streams; beneficial vegetation in those areas may not be removed
- Existing structures and yards are not affected. Voluntary planting along streams is encouraged
- Small projects (like playsets and sheds) are exempt
- Farmers receive extra flexibility when they use conservation practices
- Future growth is accommodated
- Homeowners on septic systems must service their systems every five years to prevent spills
Passage of this ordinance would mean improved water quality in Loudoun’s streams, cleaner drinking water supplies, and benefits to all waters downstream (including the Chesapeake Bay). Without these stream protection zones any landowner can remove trees and other vegetation from their stream bank, leading to unfiltered polluted runoff flowing into streams and rivers.
Show Your Support: Help Preserve Loudoun’s Waterways
Loudoun County residents have the power to carry this proposal across the finish line. We need your help to get the message across that we want more trees and forests, especially along waterways, in the Potomac River region. Without your help, these new protections may not be enacted.
If you are a Loudoun County resident, your representative on the Board of Supervisors needs to hear— from you—that you are in favor of the new stream protection zones.
Communicate your support:
- Send an email message by Saturday, April 2 to your supervisor expressing your opinion
- Read your email at one of the public input sessions scheduled through May
To contact your district Supervisor, select from the email addresses below (bolded names are those who have supported the ordinance so far). Click here to see a map and confirm your district. All residents should send a copy of their email to the Chairman At-large, Scott York, at Scott.York@loudoun.gov .
Blue Ridge: Jim Burton, Jim.Burton@loudoun.gov
Broad Run: Lori Waters, Lori.Waters@loudoun.gov
Catoctin: Sally Kurtz, Sally.Kurtz@loudoun.gov
Dulles: Stevens Miller, Stevens.Miller@loudoun.gov
Leesburg: Kelly Burk, Supervisor.Kelly.Burk@loudoun.gov
Potomac: Andrea McGimsey, Andrea.McGimsey@loudoun.gov
Sugarland Run: Susan Klimek Buckley, Susan.Buckley@loudoun.gov
Feel free to use the sample below to help craft your letter:
Dear Supervisor [ _ ];
As a resident of [ _ ] District, I urge you to vote to pass the stream protection ordinance under consideration. Numerous scientific studies have clearly shown the declining stream quality in Loudoun; and it is time we took strong steps to halt that decline. Streamside vegetation has consistently been proven to filter pollution and reduce flooding.
Requiring protective ‘buffer’ zones along perennial streams is a crucial and cost-effective way to stop pollution before it enters our waterways. We must protect our remaining stream buffers, or face the high costs of repairing the damage after the fact.
If Loudoun County acts now, we can protect our waterways for future generations. Please vote without delay to put this stream protection program into practice.
Other topics to mention in your note:
- A short description of a personal experience or of your particular interest in water quality.
- The buffer zones must be wide enough to be effective.
- It is reasonable to expect landowners next to streams to avoid actively harming that resource.
Sending your note is a great help, but showing up to speak at a public input session has an even bigger impact. In your two minutes allotted to speak, you can either read [a portion of] your letter, or simply express your support for stream protection.
You can call ahead a few days prior to sign-up to speak early by calling (703) 777-0200. We would appreciate a call as well, at 301-608-1188, when you have selected a date to speak.