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Reston, VA, Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank (NVSRB)

Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank

Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank (NVSRB)

Location: Reston, Virginia, United States

Project owner: Northern Virginia Stream Restoration, L.C. 

Project type: Inland waterways

Budget: Under $1 million

Project description: The NVSRB is a partnership among Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., The Peterson Companies, and the Reston (Virginia) Association to restore more than 14 miles of urban streams in Reston. Steep, actively eroding banks, caused by increased runoff from impervious surfaces, are prevalent throughout the stream valleys. The project utilizes natural channel design techniques to restore the degraded streams. A stream mitigation bank has been created, allowing public and private entities to purchase mitigation "credits" for impacts from development activities.

How it satisfies the "triple bottom line" approach (economic environmental, social), including innovative aspects:
Economic: The NVSRB provides an innovative funding mechanism for restoring urban streams and improving water quality locally and in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Stream restoration is often conducted to mitigate for stream impacts from development activities. The restoration activities are either conducted on-site, off-site, or through the purchase of credits from a mitigation bank. Creation of the NVSRB allows for restoration of several contiguous miles of degraded streams, funded through the sale of mitigation credits, as opposed to many smaller mitigation projects scattered throughout the watershed. From a construction standpoint, this is more economically feasible.
Environmental: The NVSRB provides environmental benefits through improved water quality, restored aquatic habitat, and riparian corridor enhancement. Because the NVSRB was the first stream mitigation bank in Virginia, several innovations were required to meet project goals. For example, because no methodology had been created for determining how to “credit” compensation for impacts to streams, WSSI developed the Virginia Stream Impact Assessment Method for use in the NVSRB. Additionally, the design process was enhanced by WSSI’s stream design automation software, StreamDesigner. This system allows for sizing and layout of basic channel components using Excel spreadsheets and then imports the information into AutoCAD Civil 3D® where channel grading is automatically performed. This level of automation allows for numerous design iterations with relative ease, resulting in an optimal restoration design in a timelier manner.
Social: The stream valleys within Reston are an integral part of the community and are heavily utilized by residents. The bank erosion occurring within these stream channels was threatening trails, property, mature trees, and infrastructure such as sanitary sewer lines. The NVSRB has restored these amenities, creating healthier, cleaner streams. The community now holds an annual Kids Fishing Day at the NVSRB and the restored reaches are utilized for local nature camp activities. Utilization of the mitigation banking approach may allow realization of stream-system improvement over multiple contiguous reaches in a more efficient way than could be attained by a reach-by-reach mitigation approach.

Categories of innovation: Land use and restoration, ecology and biodiversity, water resources and environment, resource management including waste

Additional resources for information:  Frank Graziano, P.E.
Vice President, Engineering Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.
5300 Wellington Branch Drive, Suite 100
Gainesville, Va. 20155
Main website:

For more about this project: Kelly McCutcheon
Senior Environmental Scientist, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.

Submitted by: Kelly McCutcheon

Date submitted: March 29, 2012

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