My name is Carter Kunz, and I am a Life Scout in Troop 111 in Arlington, VA. For my Eagle and Distinguished Conservation Service Award projects, I decided to do a ravine restoration project in Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of the project was to slow the erosion in the ravine in order to reduce runoff into the nearby creek and to protect the large hardwood trees bordering the ravine as well as the hiking trail at the bottom of the ravine.
For my project, scouts from my troop and community members placed 22 weirs/water dams in the ravine using lumber and logs. We then placed gravel on either side of the weirs. These weirs, along with the gravel, will slow the flow of water through the ravine, causing better water absorption into the ground, and reducing erosion that is now making the ravine bigger and endangering the trees alongside it. Over time, dirt will build up behind each weir (on the uphill side), which will further slow the flow of water down the ravine and reduce erosion. Also, leaves and small sticks will also build up on the uphill side of the weirs, trapping more soil and aiding in water percolation. The slowed flow of the water will also help maintain the stability trail below the ravine, compared to if the water came shooting out of the ravine. Finally, we covered the weirs with branches to ensure park visitors do not try to hike in the ravine and to help slow the flow of water and catch leaves and debris which will help fill in the ravine over time.
My project is designed to address soil and water conservation. The water rushing down the ravine causes the soil to erode and become unstable, which leads to exposed roots of trees and trees falling over. There are a number of large, beautiful trees along the ravine that are worth trying to save. The soil also washes into a stream that goes straight to the Potomac River. The sediment being washed into the river can impact the health of aquatic organisms such as fish and turtles by destroying spawning grounds and can smother aquatic plants used as food sources and habitats.