Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster

Participants engage in a Cobbs Creek Watershed stakeholder’s meeting

PEC coordinates efforts of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia “cluster”; one of eight regions prioritized for restoration, education, and monitoring activities as part of a basin-wide water quality initiative.


PEC leads a cluster of Philadelphia suburban  watershed groups in a multi-year initiative to protect and restore critical sources of drinking water in the Delaware River watershed.

In all, more than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and conservation organizations will share $35 million in grant funding from the William Penn Foundation. We are one of eight urban watershed cluster leaders selected to administer this project and will spend three years collaborating with other groups to restore water flows and water quality in order to support greater diversity and populations of aquatic and terrestrial species throughout the watershed.

The PEC team includes: Lower Merion Conservancy, Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed PartnershipWissahickon Valley Watershed AssociationFriends of the Poquessing CreekTemple University Center for Sustainable Communitiesand Villanova University.

The Delaware River watershed is a strategic focus for the William Penn Foundation because it covers more than 13,500-square miles spanning New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware and provides drinking water for 15 million people. In addition, the watershed supports a broad spectrum of water-related economic enterprises valued at $25 billion per year, as well as a number of significant habitats. Deforestation from commercial, residential, and energy development along with chemical runoff from farms and stormwater runoff in cities severely threaten the health of the watershed.

The focus of the Philly Upstream initiative will be the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure “on the ground” and municipal policies to regulate and manage stormwater run-off in heavily populated suburban communities outside of Philadelphia. Covering just 135 square miles, these small watersheds are home to nearly 400,000 Pennsylvanians. We will lead the development and execution of an Outreach and Education strategy to be coordinated with each of the watershed partners. In the Poquessing Creek watershed, PEC works directly with the Friends of Poquessing to develop effective programs and build the capacity and reach of this small group.

Among some of the other organizations participating in this program are the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Open Space Institute.

Across the entire Delaware River watershed, the goal of this project is to permanently protect more than 30,000 acres, implement more than 40 restoration projects, pilot new incentives for landowners and businesses, provide replicable models for other locations in the watershed, and develop long-term water quality data for the watershed at an unprecedented scale.

February 5, 2016

Accomplishments Through Year Two of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative

PEC gathered information from its Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster partners to design a poster highlighting the Cluster’s accomplishments during the first two years of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The poster was displayed along with the other seven cluster groups at the Delaware River Watershed Initiative Partner Retreat held in Whitemarsh Township from Jan. 11-12, 2016.

A few highlights:
  • 140 citizen stream monitors trained
  • 4,282 hours of citizen volunteer monitoring
  • 41 water quality sampling locations
  • 2 weather stations installed, third on the way
  • 2,082 citizens at clean-ups, planting, and education events: 3,624 volunteer hours
  • $2.5 million in GSI projects, including $1.2 million in NFWF/$1.3 million leveraged

August 11, 2015

Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster Partners Host Watershed Tour

On Aug. 6, 2015, PEC and the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster partners organized a watersheds tour for William Penn Foundation staff focusing on the Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). The tour demonstrated the challenges and opportunities associated with DRWI restoration programs ongoing in the five watersheds surrounding the city of Philadelphia. Tour participants visited stormwater management and watershed restoration project sites, and heard from municipal, non-profit, university, and watershed resident stakeholders regarding issues related to improving and restoring these urbanized streams.

The tour guide book and the related handouts provided by presenters during the tour are post below. Please feel free to download and review. You can contact Susan Myerov, PEC’s Program Director for Watersheds, or Paul Racette, Program Manager for Watersheds, with questions or comments at (215) 545-4570, or via email at smyerov@pecpa.org, pracette@pecpa.org.

Summaries of Each Document:
  • Philadelphia Tour Brochure: Examples of watershed restoration projects including those visited during the tour and others ongoing or proposed.
  • Village Circle Basin Retrofit Design: Design for stormwater basin retrofit scheduled for fall 2015 construction in Whitpain Township, Wissahickon Watershed.
  • Abington TMDL Projects Key: List and location map for projects included by Abington Township in their Total Maximum Daily Load plan for reducing sediment loading to Sandy Run, Wissahickon Watershed.
  • Aug. 6 Villanova Handout: Summary of Villanova’s monitoring and modeling program in the headwaters of Jenkintown Creek, TTF Watershed.
  • TTF Temple Handout: Summary of Temple University monitoring in the TTF Watershed
  • AFS Pollutant Removal Map: Summary of Temple University estimates of sediment and phosphorus pollutant reduction efficiency for restoration projects at Abington Friends School, TTF Watershed.

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