For Immediate Release
Phillip D. Lownes, Director of Capital Programs, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 804-367-1253
NOTE: This news release was distributed on 12/16/2011. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.
Burke Lake Park Spillway Renovations Underway
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) announce work is underway to perform engineering analyses and design modifications to the dam area at Burke Lake Park in Fairfax County. The project will ensure the dam meets spillway capacity and other dam safety standards. The lake is owned by VDGIF. The public may notice drilling machines working in the dam area to assess the subsurface soil conditions, and stakes related to surveying. Activity is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks.
"We need to expand the emergency spillway capacity to accommodate potential record flooding events in the future," said VDGIF’s Infrastructure Division Larry Hart. "While we have not experienced a flood event that would cause water to overtop the dam in the lake’s 46-year history, that does not mean we may not have larger flooding events in the future."
The Fairfax County Park Authority maintains and operates Burke Lake Park and golf course on properties adjoining the lake. "The Park Authority has a vested interest in maintaining Burke Lake Park as a recreational resource," said Judy Pedersen, Public Information Officer with the Fairfax County Park Authority. FCPA is working cooperatively with VDGIF, ensuring access to the FCPA property for investigative purposes.
VDGIF staff has no reason to think the dam is not safe in its current condition. The dam is well maintained and has functioned as designed. Conditions have changed around the lake that could lead to more runoff and residences have been constructed downstream that could be impacted. If the evaluation reveals a need to utilize any of the Authority’s land to complete the spillway renovations, those uses would have to be in concert with the mission of the Authority.
The evaluations and designs should be completed by July 2012. Construction activities would take place later, depending on the amount of funds that may be needed. "It could take a few years to save enough money for this large project," said Hart. The Department currently budgets about $1 million of its special funds each year to dam safety activities. The special funds used for work on dams come from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, a small portion of the state sales tax on hunting, fishing, and wildlife related purchases, and matching grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
It is the mission of the VDGIF to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.