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Beavercreek Dam Reservoir access officially closed

Loudoun Water officials on Thursday confirmed that Beaverdam Creek Reservoir will be closed to the public for at least the next four years as renovations on the 600-acre property are completed.

Several residents on Thursday had turned out to a Loudoun Water Board of Directors meeting to clarify what would happen.

They left with answers they did not want.

“The only fair way to do it is to close it so that we can get our work done,” said Johnny Rocca, chairman of the board.

Beavercreek Dam Reservoir has been a popular spot for water sports, such as fishing and canoeing, for years.

Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir, along with the Goose Creek Reservoir, Goose Creek Water Treatment Plant and the water transmission pipeline along the W&OD Trail to the Fairfax County line, in January as part of a $30 million deal with the City of Fairfax.

After the purchase, the full 11 million gallons per day produced by Goose Creek Treatment plant will go to Loudoun customers instead of Fairfax residents.
Rocca said it's estimated that it will take up to five years to complete renovations. Loudoun Water, he said, will spend $3 million on average a year to get it up to required standards.

“We will talk to people that want to use it, that have a legitimate reason to use it. They can come to us and apply and we'll consider it. But nothing is going to happen for the next few years until we get our work done out there,” he told the public in the meeting.

The access restriction is necessary, officials said, so engineers can upgrade the site to meet Virginia dam safety design and regulatory criteria, as well as address safety and land use management issues.

The goal is to create a plan that manages the reservoir as a drinking water resource while maintaining a level for public use once renovations are completed.
There have been several drownings in the reservoir over the years, the most recent in November 2011.

Anthony M. DiGiovanna, 49, of Ashburn, drowned after his boat capsized while he was canoeing with his son.

Despite what Loudoun Water officials said were safety concerns, residents said officials were taking away a source of enjoyment for the community – one that they took pride in by working each week to help keep it clean.

Scott Paisley, who is friends with the DiGiovanna family, said he knew despite the death, the family would want access to the reservoir to remain open.

“As a user of the reservoir, my family, among other families … we do a lot of kayaking and canoeing …,” Paisley said.

Dan Turlik, also a nearby resident, said he believed closing the reservoir would open it up to unwanted trespassers.

The community, Turlik said, has about 40 people that are dedicated to keeping the reservoir nice.

“I definitely appreciate the needs for upgrades. The reservoir has been stagnant for decades … I would love to see us work together along the land to upgrade the reservoir and maintain access so that families can enjoy it. I think the last thing people want is the kids staying home playing video games and getting into all sorts of trouble ...”


I would be interested to see the improvement plans and schedule.  I have a hard time believing they will be working on the entire reservoir at once.

I wish I had known about the meeting; I would like to have expressed my opinion and asked some pointed questions.

</i>Think of the needs for the Whole County over your personal recreation wants.<i>

Your premise is that the two are mutually exclusive, FredSanford. And that’s not a premise I accept—-that the only way Loudoun Water can get their work done is to close all 600 acres for “at least” four years. (And we all know what “at least” means when it comes to government contracting.)

I don’t get the crew team exemption either. It seems like the crew team puts a lot more pressure on the property with their structures, parking and gas motors for the chase boats, than the handful of private recreational users combined.

If it’s a matter of liability, then I’m with LocoResident. Draw up your liabilty waiver, grant me a permit, and I’ll sign away too.

Well there goes my after work fishing spot for the next 4 years. looks like im going to have to scout out more ponds to get my fix in during the week. What’s sad is out of all the water holes around here the only place i felt it was safe enough to eat the fish i caught was from the reservoir.

I highly doubt the whole resorvoir needs closed, if it will take 4 years. They could easily close off sections and do the work. Loudoun water officials could do a better job of planning with the public.

I understand the liability issue.  It seems to be less about keeping the public safe and more about avoiding the possibility of a lawsuit.  You say closed to the public for safety reasons, but continue to give an exception the the rowing club.  What is the truth?  If it is safe enough for the rowing club to continue using the reservoir it is safe enough for me to kayak there.  Have your lawyers draw up a waiver and I will sign it.

@FredSandford If Sony or Microsoft shut down your gaming access for a few years so that they can make improvements would you be okay with someone telling you to “suck it up”? Have you been to the reservoir? Have you seen how large it is? It is entirely possible to shut down only a portion of it while keeping the other open for recreation. Recreation, by the way, that does not involve working out the thumbs as comments like yours suggest is perfect time-passing recreation for us enthusiasts of kayaking and canoeing.

Do you read, by the way? Because when Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir and the treatment facility on Belmont Ridge Rd. they specifically stated that they would NOT close the reservoir to public access. Understand why we are angry.

Sorry to interrupt your GTA time.

Close it. Fix it. Open it.  People need to get a grip if they can’t canoe for a few years. Think of the needs for the Whole County over your personal recreation wants.

“The only fair way to do it is to close it so that we can get our work done,” said Johnny Rocca, chairman of the board.

So keeping the reservoir open would be unfair? Unfair to whom? I don’t get it. I understand that certain areas might need to be closed off due to construction hazards. But closing the whole thing for 4+ years sounds excessive and an easy way out.

The whole “safety concerns” in light of recent deaths also sounds like a red herring. It’s a body of water, which by its nature poses certain known hazards to all who use and enjoy it. There have been a lot more deaths at Great Falls, but I don’t know of anybody who advocates closing that beautiful recreation spot.

Finally, as full disclosure, I am a member of Mt. Hope Baptist Church, whose property abets that of the reservoir. I will miss taking my Sunday School class to the water’s edge on beautiful summer days for “outside class.”

There has got to be a better way.

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