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Quick Update

According to our friends at Loudoun Water, construction is on schedule with a tentative completion date of late 2018. A cofferdam has been constructed (late Spring) and the water level has reached it’s intermediate point until construction is finished.

Beaverdam Open House 12/14/16



Slide Show Presentation from the Meeting from Loudoun Water

Loudoun Water and Nova Parks held the second Beaverdam Open House Wednesday December 14th. There was a good crowd though not as big as the first session. The purpose of this meeting was to show the plan that was developed based on our input. I have attached an audio recording of the session above.

The highlight of phase 1 (of 3 planned) is a large 200 car parking area, eco-learning features, and facilities for the rowing team. Welcome news is the plan to develop a mixed use trail all the way around the reservoir for a total length of 8 miles. The car top launch sites (Mt. Hope and Reservoir Rd) will remain as they are now with no planned improvements for Phase 1. While the walk from the parking area to water looks pretty far, this will be an option if parking at Mt. Hope is completely filled.

This is a nice step towards making the area a destination beyond simple paddle sports. There does seem to be a strong emphasis on rowing in Phase 1, but the takeaway is this is going to be a facility for all to enjoy and part of a larger network of parks and water access in Loudoun.

Closure Update from Loudoun Water

The reservoir will be closing as planned on November 1. The good news is trail access is not. Below is the notice from our friends at Loudoun Water:

Beaverdam Reservoir Renovation Project Update

Loudoun Water will begin the Beaverdam Reservoir Renovation project on November 1, 2016. This project is designed to improve safety and reliability by bringing the dam into compliance with Virginia dam safety regulations for high hazard dams.

The project includes phased excavation, diversion of water, construction of a new concrete spillway, embankment improvements, control tower modifications, a new transfer pump station and electrical building, improved drainage systems, instrumentation and controls improvements, and a permanent stream crossing.

With construction starting, there will be new rules for public access. Beginning November 1, 2016, Beaverdam Reservoir’s marked trails will be open for public access from dawn to dusk. During the renovation project, water access will be prohibited. No fishing, boating, paddling or other water activities permitted starting November 1. The park access gate will be closed promptly at dusk. For more information on the renovation project, please visit Loudoun Water’s Current Projects web page.

Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks are planning to hold another community input session to share an update on the future vision of Beaverdam Reservoir. Information gathered from last year’s community meeting can be found on

Look for an upcoming notice on the next meeting that will be held before the end of the year!

Is Loudoun Water limiting flow to Goose Creek?

Great article from Loudoun Times, I haven’t seen this much detail in their reporting yet. Below is a tiny snippet from the larger article.

Rich Coffman spent over four decades of his life fishing, swimming and eventually living along Goose Creek.

In the mid-90s he moved to a secluded home next to the creek and now watches over the designated State Scenic River every day.

But last year, Coffman says he began to see some changes to the creek shortly after Loudoun Water acquired Goose Creek from the City of Fairfax.

“Beaverdam Reservoir upstream from here has always been used to keep Goose full during the low flow periods in the late summer,” Coffman said. “Up until 2014 they always did. They [City of Fairfax] would drain Beaverdam down to augment the flow for Goose. When Loudoun Water bought … the facility from Fairfax City, they stopped that.”

Last September, Coffman noticed the company had shortened its water intake cycle from 24-hours to 12-hours, which he says caused more water to be taken without any supplementation.

“What the consequence was, was that when the river got below 25 cfs [cubic feet per second.] No water goes over the dam down there at Goose Creek. None,” Coffman said. “So, from the dam … three or four miles downstream to the Potomac, there was no water flow for a period of time whenever there would be intaking.”

Coffman immediately alerted the Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Committee, then Loudoun Water and its board as well the Board of Supervisors about the issue, but was unable to get any written responses.

“They [Loudoun Water] eventually hauled me up to the facility…and had six or seven people surround a table including Mark Peterson to tell me that everything is fine, they are perfectly within their rights to do that to the river, to cut off the flow of water to the river,” Coffman said.

Coffman says Loudoun Water admitted no wrongdoing.

When he realized he would not be able to get the issue resolved by dealing directly with Loudoun Water, Coffman says he went to the Virginia Department of Environmental Equality and to various environmental watchdog organizations to tell about what he had seen.

What happened last year?

Data provided by Loudoun Water analyzed by the Times-Mirror shows that last September, for over a week, the utility company pumped over 50 percent of the water in the creek.

The average flow in the creek is about 234 million gallons per day, but during the period in question, the daily flow in the creek was below 12 million gallons.

Loudoun Now – Beaverdam to be Reborn

An article rather light on the details, but here it is anyway:

Beaverdam Reservoir to be Reborn

Loudoun’s largest lake is a quiet place, disturbed only by singing insects, birds on the wing, wind in the trees, and paddles lapping up the water. It’s also artificial, and it’s getting drained in November.

The county’s largest water utility, Loudoun Water, will partially drain Beaverdam Reservoir to repair the spillway that created the lake, work regulated by Virginia dam safety rules. The reservoir is expected to be closed for about two years, but when it reopens in 2019, Loudoun Water and the Northern Virginian Regional Park Authority hope it will be bigger and better for visitors.

“If you’ve ever driven up and down Belmont Ridge Road on a Saturday, you’ll inevitably pass people with kayaks and canoes on top of their cars,” said NOVA Parks Director of Park Operations Chris Paulie.

His organization manages public access to the reservoir’s waters, and he estimates thousands of people use the lake, including the high school crew teams that practice on the body of water. And more people try the lake all the time.
“It’s really been kind of a little oasis that people are just now discovering,” Paulie said. “It’s been kind of a best kept secret for a long time.”

Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir from the City of Fairfax in 2014 and initially closed it to public assess, citing liability concerns. It reopened the property in May 2015 by partnering with NOVA Parks, but Paulie said it was only ever meant to be a temporary solution. On sunny Saturday mornings, he said, the small parking lot on Mt. Hope Road can be a little tight. That was expected.

“Historically, the Beaverdam Reservoir property has not been planned and designed for public access,” said Loudoun Water Executive Director of Stakeholder Relations Mark Peterson. “There isn’t sufficient parking. The assets around there, the way people can enter the water, is not set up ideally for that, so that’s part of what this process is going to be.”

“There’s a real strong interest in reopening this reservoir with more uses for recreation than what we have right now,” said Loudoun Water’s newly installed Deputy General Manager Tom Frederick, “yet at the same time keeping it within the theme of uses that surround a lake that’s used for drinking water.”

That will limit the possibilities for the lake somewhat, since Loudoun Water doesn’t want to allow contamination for one of its major water sources.

“It’s a drinking water resource first, so whatever we do has to meet those standards, so anything that we think about, or envision, or want to plan, would have to always be done under those guidelines,” Paulie said.

That means no swimming, and except for safety launches, no gasoline engines on the water. But paddling, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, fishing, electric motors, bike trails, and classroom visits are all in.

“We don’t have details as to what that means right now,” Frederick said. “It’s really still at a vision level, and we’re going to interact with the public to actually help provide some of the ideas.”

The process has already begun with a meeting at the NOVA Parks offices last October. According to a report from that meeting, about 200 people showed up to hear Loudoun Water’s plans and offer their input. They produced a long list of ideas, ranging from marked and separated trails for hiking and biking to buoys and extended hours for fishing.“It’s basically going to be a great passive recreation park, with some real amenities and a message for how the resource is being protected,” Paulie said.

“When we do close it for a little while, I think there will be a little bit of disappointment, but I think people will be excited by what the reservoir will be,” said Loudoun Water Manager of Outreach and Education Sue Crosby.

And before then, if you have a canoe, a paddle, and a few hours free, you have until November to take in the quiet at Beaverdam Reservoir.