County Begins Construction on Woodbrook Lagoon Project

The Woodbrook Lagoon project has been in the planning stage for almost four years. Construction began last week.

Water Resources Manager Greg Harper has spent the last six years working on water management projects for Albemarle County. A portion of his time for the last four of those years has been dedicated to the Woodbrook Lagoon project. The project’s construction phase began last week. On Thursday I interviewed Mr. Harper about the project.

“Our goal all along was to essentially capture some of the storm water that flows down through that area,” said Harper. The project also plans to remove pollutants and attenuate the water flows to protect the stream downstream. “[We want] to ecologically enhance the area,” he added.

Listen to our full-length interview with Water Resources Manager, Greg Harper (37m)

As Woodbrook’s long-term residents know, the Lagoon has been a bit of a sore point with the community. In the 1970s it was used for the dumping of raw or partially treated sewage. According to Harper, that wasn’t completely rectified until the 1980s. “I’m sure the neighborhood was happy to see it go,” said Harper referring to a 1984 clean up of the Lagoon.

In the past, others have worked on the Lagoon, not always to its improvement. “This channel now follows this path that was probably excavated by a big machine into the Arden Place side of the Lagoon,” said Harper. Harper points out that a healthy stream likes to meander rather than follow an artificially made straight path.

Greg Harper (Photo courtesy Charlottesville Tomorrow)

“We are looking at the vegetation on the site, and the streams, and we are going to remove invasive trees and shrubs and grasses to the extent we can and plant back a lot of native species,” said Harper. “What we have is a really nice ecology on that property that is going to serve wild life and be an attractive place to walk through,” he said.

The County plans to make a minimal impact on the area. “We are not going to be moving a lot of soil out there,” said Harper. “We are not going to be taking out a lot of big trees, and we will be planting a lot of trees back.”

Equipment and vehicles will enter the site via the existing road stub at the corner of Brookmere Road and Idlewood Drive. Dump trucks and track backhoes will be used for the majority of the construction. “We want to keep our construction footprint as small as possible,” Harper said.

With regard to noise during construction Harper said he does not expect this to be a problem. Weekend work will require special permission from the County, and that permission will only be given in unusual circumstances. Harper expects work crews will begin working around 7:00 am, finishing up around 6:00 pm. It’s expected that the project will be largely completed by the end of July.

Access to the Lagoon will be pretty much as it is today. “This project doesn’t involve trail building,” said Harper. Woodbrook access will continue to be via Idlewood Drive. No special provisions are being made for access from the Arden Place side.

Woodbrook residents with questions or problems may contact the project manager, Gregor Patsch, at 434-872-4501 x 7914 or by email at

You can learn more about the Woodbrook Lagoon project here. Mr. Harper has kindly offered to answer questions posted in the comment area below.

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