Lucky Run Stream Restoration

Page updated on Aug 5, 2021 at 2:47 PM

What's New?

The City of Alexandria has authorized its consultant to perform soil collection, sampling, and analysis tests for Taylor Run, Strawberry Run, and Lucky Run. The field work for all three steams took place the week of July 25, 2021. Additionally, a consultant will be inspecting the previous stream project completed on the downstream portion of Strawberry Run during the Taft Avenue development to document issues that have occurred.

On April 27, 2021 during a City Council legislative work session, City Council instructed staff to perform soil analysis tests on all three streams (Taylor Run, Strawberry Run, and Lucky Run) using the updated Expert Panel protocol. Council also instructed staff to pause the planned stream restoration projects at Taylor Run and Strawberry Run for further evaluation, but proceed with Lucky Run while the soil analysis occurs. Council also directed staff to evaluate alternatives to natural channel design in coordination with the Environmental Policy Commission (EPC). Finally, Council instructed staff to return as soon as possible with a planned schedule and summary of impacts.

In 2015, urban stream restoration was identified as a potential strategy for the City to achieve compliance with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL ("pollution reduction diet"). This pollution reduction diet is a regulatory requirement passed down from the federal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to Alexandria through the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. Lucky Run was identified as a top-ranking stream restoration project based on the Phase III Stream Assessment completed early 2019 by a contractor in consultation with the City’s Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (TES), Department of Project Implementation (DPI), and Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA). Phase III refers to the third assessment with the first assessment completed in 2004 and the second completed in 2008. In total, 2,786 linear feet of streams were assessed throughout the City. TES presented the results of this assessment to the Park and Recreation Commission September 20, 2018 (click here for the presentation) and also hosted a public meeting on December 5, 2018. More information on the stream assessment is available on the City’s Stream Restoration web page.

The Lucky Run stream restoration will help the City comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and is identified in the 2019 Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan. The Lucky Run stream restoration is identified as a mid-term action item in the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040, adopted by Council in 2018, which stemmed from the Eco City Alexandria initiative which launched with the Eco City Charter in 2008.

Click here to download the Lucky Run fact sheet.Lucky Run Pre-Restoration

Stream Restoration Details

Lucky Run is a tributary to Four Mile Run and part of the larger Potomac River watershed. The Lucky Run watershed consists of approximately 225 acres of densely developed urban land and as a result, the stream currently exhibits instability along with several unfavorable characteristics. The project section of the Lucky Run begins where the stream emerges from the culvert under West Braddock Road near I-395 and continues downstream to the wet pond near Ford Avenue and Park Center Drive. Natural channel design techniques will be applied to approximately 950 linear feet of stream to restore Lucky Run to a stable condition and improve stream function, water quality, and habitat.

The restored stream will be reconnected to the floodplain which will help filter pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment. In addition, banks will be stabilized using native vegetation and other natural sustainable techniques which will mitigate the bank erosion, preventing large amounts of sediment from washing downstream. Whenever possible, on-site materials will be used in the construction of the project.

The main goals of the project are to:

  • Restore the stream to a stable condition to improve water quality and help meet the  Chesapeake Bay cleanup mandate
  • Improve the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the stream
  • Enhance aesthetics and further establish the area as an amenity
  • Use native plants to provide habitat for riparian birds and animals 
  • Protect the walking trail and utilities including the sanitary sewer and storm drain outfalls

Community Outreach

The project is located on private property and City staff have made several presentations to the private homeowner associations. 

Public Community Meeting
April 11, 2019 at William Ramsay Elementary School (Library), 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. (Click here for the presentation.)


The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) awarded the City a $668,000 Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) grant for partial funding of this project. Currently, the total estimated project cost is $1.9 million.

Lucky Run Map