Dr. Livingstone, I am not, but a few days ago I decided to find the source of the Broad Branch stream behind Politics and Prose. And I found it. I waded through a marshy area to walk down the alley behind the homes on Nebraska Avenue, and I could actually hear the brook gurgling in the background. Then it seemed to disappear.
I should have brought a flag, but will leave the excitement of discovery to those who have the curiosity.
The source of my own curiosity was a walk led by the DC Department of the Environment’s Steve Saari on April 27th. Steve has written here about DDOE’s plans to “daylight” the stream, or return the piped portions to the surface. At the walk, he showed a group of riveted neighbors some preliminary plans (Warning: Clicking the link downloads a large PDF) and we listened to Steve explain how bioretention cells and step pools would be used to create a wetland areas on both sides of Linnean near the corner of Broad Branch Road. We tramped through muck, vines, and thorns with toddlers, children and a bicycle to learn about this project. Steve has sent us some preliminary drawings of the site (download large PDF files of the drawings by clicking here and here).
Although a contractor has not yet been chosen, Steve hopes that they can come close to this ideal time frame:
- June 2013 – select contractor for construction
- July or August 2013 – start construction
- November or December 2013 – complete construction
This is a very exciting project and Steve enjoyed stomping through the woods with us and answering our many questions. He is happy to respond to any other questions in our comment box below.
The extra bonus on this walk was Suzanne Wald, who is heading up another DDOE project dealing with storm water runoff in the Linnean Playground area. I finally found out where this area is, which used to be a meadow. We hiked through some more rough terrain as she described this project, which will have a very sophisticated evaluation of effectiveness in filtering stormwater runoff and controlled for flooding in the area.
Suzy has written a detailed description of the project and how it relates to the Broad Branch daylighting. You can read it by clicking here.
Click on an image below to view a slideshow of my self-guided tour of the Broad Branch source and stream bed. Hit the “esc” key to return to the article.