UPDATE: July 22, 2011: The Loudoun [County] Soil & Water Conservation District is investigating the Trump National Golf Course’s destruction of a mile-long riparian buffer along the Potomac River. A political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District’s investigation will determine the impact of the deforestation on erosion control and shoreline stability at the property.
Chris Simmons, the Conservation District’s Vice Chair, noted “trees and shrubs reduce topsoil erosion, prevent harmful pollutants from entering waterways, slow water run-off, and ensure groundwater supplies are continually recharged.” Additionally, decreased tree cover causes inversely proportional increases in the volume and speed of storm water run-off. This creates an immediate financial impact, as the loss of such a large riparian buffer likely increased the flow of unfiltered groundwater from the Golf Course by 18 million gallons a year. “The cost for Trump’s flow of sediment and pollutants is now borne by county residents, who pay neighboring Fairfax County to filter water at its Potomac River treatment plant,” said Simmons. NBC covers the action here.
Background: In summer 2010, Trump National Golf Course cut down more than 450 trees on the Virginia shoreline of the Potomac. Once protected, the now treeless land stands vulnerable to erosion and flooding. Unfortunately, unless the stumps are replaced with mature trees soon, the shoreline remains vulnerable to erosion. Please keep reading to learn more about this issue and ways to get involved.
Trump National Golf Club: Before and After
Potomac Conservancy submitted a letter to Trump National Golf Course’s General Manager in early fall, recommending immediate replanting of trees closest to the river to create a buffer for pesticides, fertilizers and stormwater runoff that can easily drain into the Potomac River. A mix of native trees and shrubs should also be planted to form a barrier between active golf course areas and the rest of the buffer to increase protection.
A number of conservancy members also responded to our action alerts, calling upon Trump's environmental manager, Ed Russo, to explain the shoreline devastation.
Shoreline damage after spring rain storms (Photos: John Mathwin, 3/20/11)
In late February, Potomac Conservancy and Trump National Golf Club staff and consultants met to find a solution to the tree removal. Scientific evidence supports the use of streamside trees to increase shoreline stability. However, Trump's Environmental Manager Ed Russo has vowed to merely plant grasses. The Conservancy recommends a revegetation plan that includes trees, spaced far enough apart to allow planting of grasses and other herbaceous vegetation. This planting scheme would also allow for more river views through the trees.
Trump National also offered to fund a study of the environmental problems facing the entire Potomac River basin. The Conservancy will not undertake a Trump National-funded study, which we believe would only serve as a smokescreen to obscure the environmental problems created by the golf club.
Potomac Conservancy immediately swung into action. We contacted other groups, reached out to county officials and alerted our membership.
To see this through to a successful outcome, we need your support.
Please donate today! .
Read about the loss of trees at Trump National Golf Club:
- Trump Golf Course Controversy Grows (NBC, 7/27/10)
- Donald Trump Says He’s an Environmentalist; Others Beg to Differ (Washington Post, 5/15/11)
- Group Calls Trump Clear-Cutting a Water Hazard (NBC Washington, 5/15/11)
- Loudoun Chainsaw Massacre (RiverScape Newsletter, Spring 2011)
- Trump golf club in Loudoun removes hundreds of trees near river (Washington Post, 8/13/10)
Contact Trump’s environmental manager, Ed Russo, with your thoughts on the decimation of the river shoreline; call on him to replant trees now.
See an aerial "before & after" image of Trump National Golf Course's shoreline (and see images below).