The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust has preserved a nearly 6-acre parcel of forested land in Clifton that protects a segment of Popes Head Creek.
“This is a site that really speaks to the layered history of our region,” said Matt Gerhart of the trust. “We have a stream valley that hosts vestiges of some of the earliest rail systems through the region and a mature, healthy forest that has regenerated from the clearing of the past through the careful stewardship of the current landowners.”
This beautiful tract is home to common mammals such as deer, raccoons, foxes and opossums. Migratory birds, insects and native plants are also thriving on the property.
“We feel a kinship with every bird, insect and tree that calls our property home. It’s our job to protect them,” said landowner Margaret Fisher. “We do that by adding more native plants, controlling the invasives, shrinking the lawn and minimizing the use of chemicals.”
“When preparing for this easement, we cataloged seven species of mammals, five species of reptiles, 36 species of birds, eight species of amphibians, four species of spiders, 52 species of insects and 36 species of native plants growing wild. That doesn’t even take into account the many others that we didn’t happen to stumble across,” added landowner Jon Rosenthal.
Popes Head Creek, a tributary to Bull Run, is an important aquifer that feeds the Occoquan reservoir from which a majority of our region gets its clean water. The creek borders the property’s northern boundary and remains one of the least developed watersheds in Fairfax County.
A 200-foot forested and vegetated riparian buffer lies on both sides of an approximately 690-foot-long segment of the creek. This vegetative area serves as a buffer to pollutants entering the stream from runoff, controls erosion, and provides habitat and nutrients to the stream.
Since its founding in 1994, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust has protected more than 8,000 acres in urban and rural areas. For information, see the Website at www.nvct.org.