The Occoquan Watershed Coalition (OWC) is in its seventeenth year of continuous service protecting and conserving the Down-zoned Occoquan Watershed, an area of some 41,000 acres that was down-zoned by Fairfax County in 1982. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, restricted development to no more than one residence per five acres and recognized the importance of a series of well-maintained Parks contiguous to the Occoquan Reservoir. This conservation of the Down-zoned Occoquan Watershed ensures minimum pollution of the reservoir and protects the drinking water supply for over one million residents who live in the greater Northern Virginia region.
“The Occoquan Watershed” begins as far west as the Shenandoah and ends at the mouth of the Potomac River. It is a 600 square mile Watershed area that includes parts of Prince William, Fauquier, and Loudon Counties. Nearly a third of Fairfax County is in this Watershed. “The Down-zoned Occoquan Watershed “, established on July 26, 1982, consists of 41,000 acres (63%) of the land comprising the Occoquan Basin portion of Fairfax County and is a very small part of the larger “Occoquan Watershed”.
The down-zoning of The Occoquan Watershed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors occurred on July 26, 1982. On March 18, 2002 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors designated 2002 as “The Occoquan Watershed Year”, celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The OWC represents over 16,000 residents who live in the Down-zoned Occoquan Watershed that includes some 119 homeowners associations and individual residents who are not part of an established association. The Down-zoned Occoquan Watershed encompasses the area enclosed by Braddock Road on the north, Union Mill Road on the west, Route 123 on the east and south to the Fairfax-Prince William County Line and the Occoquan Reservoir.
The By-Laws which govern the OWC are explicit and provide checks and balances. These include the Executive Committee, comprised of the President, Vice President, and the Secretary/Treasurer, and a broad based Board of Directors. To increase the scope, experience and advice to the elected Board of Directors, the OWC currently has several Directors-at-Large. These Directors-at-Large, like the elected Directors, participate as active, contributing members of our committees. We have two established Committees — Transportation and Environmental and Land Use.
It is the intent of the OWC to be a vigilant protector of this unique ecosystem. The down-zoned area has withstood over 40 legal challenges and there continues to be attempts for development in the down-zoned area that are not compatible with the needs of protecting our drinking water supply. The OWC will continue to monitor activity in this unique ecosystem and we will represent the best interests of our residents and Fairfax County.