Gerald Peters, Environmental Scientist Endorsed by Fairfax Democrats

I am Gerald Peters, candidate for Director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.  I have lived most of my life in Fairfax and Prince William Counties.  I understand northern Virginia’s natural resources scientifically and enjoy them personally.  

I ask for your vote on November 5, 2019 to continue advocating for our natural resources.

I am the only incumbent running in 2019

I have served the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District since 2009.  I began as an Associate Director until appointment as a Director in March 2015.  I was then elected to the position in November 2015 with endorsement of Fairfax County Democratic Party. I have regularly attended Board meetings since 2009, and I participate in regional and state meetings of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. I volunteer for many District projects such as our annual Seedling Sale and lobbying state legislators on behalf of the District and our state association.  

I have represented the District on the Fairfax County Tree Commission since 2012.  I was part of a team that drafted the 2018 Tree Action Plan (currently under review by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors), and I drafted updates to the Commission’s charter.  I have brought an ecological perspective to my role on the Tree Commission – I do see the forest for the trees.

My Agenda:  Public and Private Stewardship of All Natural Resources

During 2020 the District will be reviewing and updating our “Strategic Plan:  July 2016 – June 2020”.  I was active in crafting the 2016 Strategic Plan and expect to do so again in 2020.  Please review the Plan on the District’s web site at:

One of my recommendations incorporated in the 2016 Plan was enlarging the scope of our vision to cover all natural resources, adding plants, animals, and ecosystems to the existing vision that itemized land, water and air.  

I heartily backed increased emphasis in the 2016 Plan on the role of stewardship by all citizens and will continue to promote stewardship of private and public lands.  I am a strong advocate for conservation landscaping, especially turf replacement, and healthy forests.

It is my experience that many potential adopters of effective and practical methods are discouraged quickly if useful information on construction and maintenance costs is not available early in their quest to meet conservation objectives.  As proponents of innovative methods, we should use our project experience to forecast what costs would be if a method were to be widely adopted.  Furthermore, when we recommend to the public that some method be used, we owe it to our long-term credibility that it be cost-effective compared to other methods that accomplish equivalent purposes.  

There is emphasis throughout the 2016 Strategic Plan on the District’s partnerships.  Past Boards and Executive Directors have succeeded in recruiting and serving our partners.  I want to encourage more County agencies to turn to NVSWCD as their natural resource consultants of first choice.

Lastly, as your elected representative on the District’s Board, I invite you to discuss with me your ideas about what the District should be doing for our citizens and for our natural resources.  Contact me at  

Decades of Experience Show that I Care

I bring to the District over five decades of professional and volunteer experience with environmental analysis and natural resource management.  I continue to contribute because I love learning about natural resources (there is always more to learn) and I care about the resources that we share and rely on. 

I retired in 2004 after 30 years as a consulting environmental scientist.  During those decades I managed and prepared multidisciplinary environmental studies, helping numerous Federal and private clients both locally and nationally achieve their goals while protecting natural resources.  I wrote numerous Environmental Impact Statements for U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency-funded wastewater facilities including impacts of nutrient releases to lakes and streams and non-point source controls.  I also made significant contributions in hazardous waste management, pollution prevention, hazardous waste site remediation and program guidance.  My major clients included Headquarters of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and 5 of its 10 Regions plus all components of the Department of Defense. 

I have significant experience in environmental and natural resource management right here in northern Virginia: 

• I worked for three years as a Public Health Sanitarian with the Prince William County Health Department where I learned firsthand about the soils, geology, and water resources of our region. I also gained experience working daily with business owners and landowners whose economic objectives depended in part on advice I gave and decisions I made. 

• I was the first full time employee of the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Lab in 1972. I assisted in establishing water quality sampling sites within the Occoquan Reservoir and in streams feeding the reservoir, installing the original laboratory, and collecting and analyzing water samples.  

• As a graduate student at Virginia Tech I prepared my Master’s thesis on phosphorus release from sediments in the Occoquan Reservoir.  

• As a consulting environmental scientist, I prepared an Environmental Assessment of the expansion of the Four Mile Run Wastewater Treatment Facility in Alexandria, VA and addressed water quality and fisheries impacts as elements of an Environmental Assessment of the Washington Aqueduct intake expansion on the Potomac River in Montgomery County, MD.

• In 2009, I was employed by the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services to trap emerald ash borers.  I set out, maintained, and inspected over 200 traps in northern Fairfax County and parts of Alexandria and Arlington and Loudoun Counties.  I filmed and produced a DVD about field identification of emerald ash borers in order to reduce the learning curve for future trappers.  

Since retiring in 2004, I have continued my efforts to improve northern Virginia’s natural resources with a variety of volunteer jobs: 

• In 2007, I contributed to establishment of Fairfax Master Naturalists by serving on its Training Committee for the inaugural training cycle and have served on the Committee since. I was the first Chairman of the Advanced Training Committee in 2007.  I continue to present a three-hour lecture on Fairfax County Biography, Land Use, and Urban Ecosystems to new Master Naturalists in their Basic Training. And I developed a lecture on landowners’ duty of care for their own natural resources, “Personal Stewardship for the Land”. 

• I assisted Fairfax County’s Forest Pest Division with its public outreach efforts regarding emerald ash borers. 

• I participated in the Fairfax County Deer Management Work Group from 2010 through 2012 for which I developed a bibliography of the most useful technical publications on deer management and a history of Fairfax County’s Deer Management Program.  I chaired a subcommittee that prepared recommendations to the County Wildlife Biologist for managing the damages that deer cause to forest ecology, and was a member of the Lyme disease subcommittee.  

• For several years I volunteered with the County Wildlife Biologist performing administrative tasks, responding to public inquiries about animal conflicts, recovering and field dressing deer during County Deer Management Program sharp shooting events on Fairfax County Park Authority and NOVA Parks, and improving the selection process and assignment of archers and archer groups to parks.  As a representative of the Tree Commission, I was instrumental in the formation of an informal, interagency committee that advised the County Wildlife Biologist on stakeholders’ interests in deer management. 

• Motivated by what I learned working on deer management programs with the Wildlife Biologist and by the damages that over-abundant deer were causing on my own property and throughout my community, I incorporated Green Fire, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to improving forest health and wildlife habitat.  Recognizing that, second to people, deer are the most harmful animals to Fairfax’s forests, I encourage and enable private landowners to participate in landscape-scale deer management.  My understanding of forest health, deer over-abundance, and proposed solutions are documented in my non-profit’s web site,

My Environmental Science Education

I earned a Masters in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a concentration on freshwater biology and chemistry, and water and wastewater engineering.  I was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi national graduate school scholastic honor society based on my academic achievements at Virginia Tech. 

I earned a Bachelors degree with a major in Biology from the University of Virginia in 1967. 

In addition to these Virginia degrees, I have earned an additional 26 credit hours of university courses in field biology, engineering administration, environmental education, videography and geographic information systems. 


As an incumbent running again as a Director on the Board of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, I will continue to promote public and private stewardship of all of our natural resources.  

Please vote on November 5 for me and my fellow candidates endorsed by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee