Donaldson Run


Donaldson Run is located in north Arlington in a primarily residential neighborhood.

Drainage Area

Donaldson Run drains directly into the Potomac River. The drainage area is 1 square mile, and 11 percent of the watershed is impervious.

Donaldson Run Sampling Site Map(JPEG, 1MB)
Drainage area for the Donaldson Run monitoring site.

Rapid Stream Assessment Technique Scale: Fair

In 2011, we assessed all the streams in the County as part of the Stormwater Master Plan Update. The assessment used the Channel Evolution Model to evaluate which sections of the streams are actively eroding to prioritize them for stream restoration. During that assessment, Donaldson Run was evaluated to be a priority stream for stream restoration given that approximately half of the stream length assessed was found to be in an actively eroding state. In addition, less than 10 percent of the stream channel has been artificially stabilized.

About Donaldson Run

In August 2001, stream monitors discovered a fish kill at this site. An herbicide and pesticide, originating from the golf course upstream from Donaldson Run, had washed into Donaldson Run. The golf course was fined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and required to restore the banks of the Donaldson Run tributary located on the golf course.

In 2006, the County completed a stream restoration of Donaldson Run’s Tributary A. In 2011, a watershed retrofit study of Donaldson Run was completed. Donaldson Run’s Tributary B will also be restored. Visit the Tributary B Project page to learn more about the status of the project.

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Data

Donaldson Run Stream Monitors

The monitoring site is located within Zachary Taylor Park, within the restored reach, to document any changes resulting from the restoration. 

Macroinvertebrates commonly found are:

  • Aquatic worms
  • Black flies
  • Net-spinning caddisflies
  • Small minnow mayflies

In fall 2011 and spring 2012, we contracted a professional monitoring group to collect family/genus-level macroinvertebrate and fish data at each of our volunteer monitoring sites. The group sampled three sites on Donaldson Run, noted on the map.

Donaldson Run Macro-Graph.jpeg(JPEG, 200KB)
Click on the graph above for an enlarged version.

Bacteria Monitoring Data

There are two bacteria monitoring sites on Donaldson Run; one within the restored reach above Military Road and one below Military Road in an unrestored area. Learn more about bacteria monitoring data.