Friday, January 11, 2019

Starting 2019 strong at Four Mile Run

2019 has started off strong at Four Mile Run with two winter cleanups.

The January 6th cleanup of the Sunnyside stream saw 717 pounds of litter collected by 2 dozen volunteers. Another impromptu Furlough Friday special cleanup on January 11th during the government shut-down collected another 564 pounds of litter with the help of 20 more participants. Altogether, over of half a ton removed from our local environment in just the first week and a half of the new year.

Sunset over a newly cleaned Sunnyside Stream

The January 6th cleanup focused on the Sunnyside Branch, an urbanized stream that collects storm-water from a portion of the Four Mile Run watershed that runs through the Northridge and Sunnyside neighborhoods. The stream outfalls from underground pipes just east of Mt Vernon Avenue at Four Mile Road and feeds into Four Mile Run just west of the restored wetlands. Floodgates trap litter that has collected into storm sewers from the roadways and sidewalks upstream.

The Furlough Friday cleanup volunteers spread out and put their efforts toward the Four Mile Wetland trail and streambank along the Four Mile Run Park trail just east of the Hume Spring stream, where the removal of invasive vines and plants enabled easier access to litter there.

Winter Cleanups along Four Mile Run and in Four Mile Run Park have proven to be very effective at removing litter and mitigated the impact of pollution in our local environment. Our land-based clean-ups focus on some areas that are more accessible when the vegetation is dormant, and on locations where we can get to larger items, such as shopping carts, at low tide. 

Mallard find their way to the stream after the litter was removed.

Please consider joining us at the following upcoming events (RSVP at the links):

Winter Wetland Walk 10am this Sunday, January 13

Winter Volunteer Appreciation Bonfire and S'mores event, 6pm Friday, February 1

Low tide clean-up (tires, shopping carts Noon-2:30pm Saturday, February 2

Four Mile Run Valentine's Cleanup 2:00-4:30pm Saturday, February 9

Also, join in and enjoy the Morning Stretch @4MRMarket throughout January (and potentially beyond) with instructor Julia Valentine for Sunday morning gentle yoga - ideal for beginners - and help raise funds for park improvements. (Bring your own mat & water bottle). Suggested donation $10.

See more about the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation on our website.


The Four Mile Run Wetlands was recognized for its recent restoration work at the American Planning Association Virginia Chapter 2017 Annual Conference:

"The Four Mile Run Wetlands Restoration, completed in May 2016, restored the historic 2-acre tidal wetland along Four Mile Run. This wetland plays a prominent role in regional efforts to protect the Potomac River and the endangered Chesapeake Bay by restoring the diverse habitat and natural cycles that support life in and along these waterways. The wetlands restoration project integrates flood protection, environmental restoration, community aesthetics, community access and connectivity, recreation, and education. This project is an amenity for visitors to Four Mile Run Park, including new pedestrian access and provides a connection between aquatic and terrestrial habitats that is important to fish and aquatic organisms as well as many birds and terrestrial animals."

See more about the nomination that won led to this award at the conference website:

The 2019 Winter Cleanups at Four Mile Run are “4MR Clean Stream Extreme” events made possible through grant funding from Dominion Energy. The cleanups are also a community initiative in PARKnership with the City of Alexandria's Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation was established with funding by the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market and supported by funds raised by Action Alexandria’s Spring2ACTion and Facebook’s Giving Tuesday.

The 2019 Winter Cleanups at Four Mile Run continue the work started some years ago by a group of community volunteers in the Arlandria neighborhood in an effort to complement the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan and the Four Mile Run Park Improvement Plan. Their projects include: the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market, the Four Mile Run Park Expansion, Commonwealth Park (the rehabilitation of a former electrical substation at 3550 Commonwealth Avenue) as well as tree plantings, park/stream clean-ups, and invasive species removals. All of these activities have been documented in the community blog: The Arlandrian (