Southeast Watershed Partnerships: Green Infrastructure Projects, Education, Outreach, and Monitoring

Stormwater is the No. 1 impairment for suburban Philadelphia watersheds and causes combined sewer overflows into Philadelphia rivers. PEC’s work is designed to soak up stormwater where it falls.


PEC works with stakeholders and partners in collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and as part of the William Penn Foundation’s Strategic Delaware Watershed Initiative. Collectively, we develop and deliver stormwater management programs. This programming includes green infrastructure projects, education and outreach, and monitoring crafted to restore water quality and watershed health.

Project Implementation

The primary goal of the Watershed Partnership effort is to soak up stormwater where it falls.  As such, educational programming has focused on how to implement green infrastructure (e.g. basin naturalization, rain gardens, mowing to meadow programs).  PEC, municipalities, and other stakeholders have also sought project design and implementation grants, and promoted stormwater financing options such as municipal stormwater fee programs.

A major goal of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster is to promote watershed restoration and stormwater control measure projects that result in water quality improvements (demonstrated via the monitoring programs).  Cluster partners recently received project funding through a William Penn Foundation sponsored National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. Cluster partners also are seeking additional project funding, and are promoting municipal self financing programs to complement grant and loan funding streams.

Education and Outreach

The Watershed Partnership effort has included extensive education and outreach programming.  Much of this has focused on how to design and manage stormwater control measure projects   Educational programming has also focused on Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit compliance (e.g. good house keeping for municipal staff).

The Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster effort also includes a robust stormwater education and outreach program. Target audiences include municipalities and elected officials, large landowners and managers, small businesses, homeowners, and environmental /community advocates. The educational events focus on projects and practices that reduce stormwater runoff and related non-point source pollution.

Monitoring

The Philadelphia Water Department conducts extensive monitoring in the Partnership Watersheds surrounding the city. Data has been summarized in Comprehensive Characterization Reports, and used to support watershed planning. See http://www.phillywatersheds.org/your_watershed click on the individual watershed links, and then click on key documents/maps links.

A primary goal of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster is to show that water quality improvements can be achieved through watershed restoration projects. To measure stormwater impacts and improvements, a three-tiered monitoring program is being put in place. Citizen visual stream monitoring programs are being launched or strengthened in each watershed. Watershed organization staffs are collecting water quality samples in upstream municipal reaches. Villanova and Temple Universities are monitoring and modeling stormwater control measures to determine their effectiveness at the project and reach level.

November 18, 2015

Sue Myerov Updates PEC’s Efforts in Water Resource Protection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Lz_jBpC20

Pennsylvania is home to 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, the second most stream miles of of any state in America. Yet, 19 percent of those miles do not support healthy aquatic life, while some are not fishable, swimmable, or drinkable.

That’s where PEC comes in.

PEC works with stakeholders to tackle water quality issues on both the legislative and municipal levels, while promoting the use of green stormwater infrastructure.

Sue Myerov, PEC Program Director for Watersheds, updates the status of PEC’s watershed protection efforts on all levels across the state.

“Our work is critically important, because water is the basis of life, and we should do our best to protect our water resources here in the state and around the world,” Myerov said. “We do this not just for ourselves, but for our future generations.”

October 20, 2015

PEC and Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership Co-Host Successful Municipal Stormwater Workshop

As a statewide leader in watershed protection, PEC is often asked to help plan and participate in educational workshops and training events for municipal officials, landowners, and watershed groups on water resource management issues.

PEC Watershed Program Director Sue Myerov and Program Manager Paul Racette helped workshop coordinator and Villanova University civil engineering professor Dr. Andrea Welker plan the Oct. 13 Municipal Stormwater Workshop at the University’s campus in suburban Philadelphia. This event, co-hosted by the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP), precedes Villanova’s Biennial Stormwater Symposium and features topics targeted to municipal audiences and their issues. Also providing key planning assistance for the event was Jan Bowers, Executive Director of the Chester County Water Resources Authority. Feel free to contact PEC for a complete list of attendees.

We were gratified that over 125 municipal officials, county and state agency representatives, local and regional watershed partners, students and faculty, and consultants chose to spend their Tuesday with us. Myerov moderated one of the two panels, and share stories and exchange ideas with existing and new partners. You can view the full agenda here.

The workshop included a mix of presentations and panel discussions focused on collaborative and financial strategies for meeting water quality requirements. From an introduction to the Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center (MOST) to hearing directly from municipal officials on their experiences establishing stormwater fees, the workshop covered many current issues of concern to our communities and more specifically those with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s).

With over 900 MS4s in Pennsylvania, PEC is working hard to develop training and education programs and highlight successful efforts to help communities reach their water quality goals.

Stormwater conference photo 2

Attendees gather at the Municipal Stormwater Workshop at Villanova University on Oct. 13.

Jenifer Fields, Clean Water Program Manager for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Southeast Region delivered an inspiring, engaging, and humorous presentation on the benefits of achieving stormwater compliance through collaboration.

Erick Eckl, Founder of Water Words that Work LLC, summarized specific ways to promote stormwater fees to the public based on research conducted by his firm in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed communities. Water Words that Work LLC, is a marketing and public relations firm for nature protection and pollution control organizations.

The formal programming was followed by an optional tour of Villanova’s many stormwater controls installed around its campus, including a new green roof.

For more information on PEC’s upcoming stormwater and watershed programs, please contact Sue Myerov at smyerov@pecpa.org. If you are interested in PEC’s work around the state, please continue to browse our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PECPA), and consider joining as a member. You can do that here.

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