Spring has been quite the busy season for PEC as we continue work with our watershed partners in the Southeast portion of the state.
We facilitate the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster, one of eight regional clusters within the broader Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) of the William Penn Foundation. Our main focus is to support our watershed partners in their municipal stormwater management education and permit compliance efforts with an overall goal of improving water quality in our streams.
Urban runoff continues to be a major source of water pollution in this region, and all of the watersheds that enter into the City of Philadelphia have impairments related to sediment and/or nutrients, making them unable to support key aquatic life. The DRWI provides targeted and strategic funding to identify and implement stormwater control measures within priority streams in the Cobbs, Pennypack, Poquessing, Tookany, and Wissahickon Creeks.
In addition, we convene quarterly meetings to provide a forum for exchanging ideas and learning about ongoing work and new initiatives. Our most recent meeting was held on April 27 at the offices of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA). Our meeting included a summary of the 13 stormwater management project applications submitted to the National Fish and Wildlife Federation (NFWF) for the 2015 funding cycle. This was followed by discussion on the ways in which project development/implementation integrates with municipal outreach. I presented an overview of stormwater management education and best outreach practices and we heard a briefing from Mike Helbing, Staff Attorney from PennFuture, on post-settlement opportunities for involvement in the MS4 and TMDL process. Following our meeting, WVWA Executive Director Dennis Miranda led a streamside walk along the Wissahickon.
This week marks some important and exciting events for our partners. The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary and hosting its fourth annual Watershed Milestones Award Ceremony & Reception on May 13. This event celebrates TTF’s accomplishments and the achievements of leaders from across the 30 square mile watershed. PEC is a member of the TTF Advisory Board and was instrumental in launching the TTF as a non-profit organization in 2005.
Simultaneously, the WVWA and the Friends of the Wissahickon are hosting, “A Creek in Crisis: Time for Action” on the same day. Moderated by Patrick Starr, PEC Executive Vice President for Programs Statewide, the event will be a region-wide discussion about how to protect and restore the Wissahickon Creek and features a panel of regional experts who will give an overview of what’s at stake and how citizens can get involved.