The past Summer and Fall, PEC staff convened a series of planning workshops to help prepare an implementation plan as part of a new regional watershed initiative headed by the William Penn Foundation. As part of this process, the foundation undertook an analysis to determine focus areas or clusters where conservation or restoration activities could be concentrated in order to achieve specific, measurable outcomes with an overarching goal of protecting and restoring places of ecological significance.
The eight targeted sub-watershed clusters were carefully selected with the assistance of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (ASN) and the Open Space Institute (OSI) to leverage existing organizational capacity and landscape identity and address specific water quality stressors prioritized by the Foundation (loss of forests in headwaters, agricultural runoff, stormwater, and aquifer depletion). The eight (8) sub-watershed clusters for this work included the following:
Poconos and Kittatinny, Upper Lehigh, New Jersey Highlands, Middle Schuylkill, Schuylkill Highlands, Upstream Suburban Philadelphia, Brandywine and Christina, and Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer.
PEC was asked to convene and facilitate preparation of an implementation plan for the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia sub-watershed. This cluster includes areas within the Cobbs, Pennypack, Poquessing, Tookany and Wissahickon Creek Watersheds in the communities just upstream from the City. During the summer and early fall, 5 meetings were held with the planning committee, watershed stakeholders and with individual sub-watershed groups. In total, over 50 individuals, representing over 30 different organizations attended these meetings. The implementation plan, prepared by the Temple University Center for Sustainable Communities with input from the broader stakeholder group listed both on-the-ground projects (stormwater control measures) and above the ground strategies (monitoring, modeling, and education and outreach).
The implementation plan was submitted in August and reviewed by the foundation staff along with local technical advisors. Cluster groups were then invited to apply for operational funds in November and for capital funding in December.
• Intensive land development
• High levels of impervious surface
• Fragmented political structure
• Widespread pollution and TMDLs
• Five hydrologically separated watersheds
• Many previous plans and studies
- Cluster-wide “above-the-ground” strategies
– Technical support and research
– Public education, municipal engagement, and landowner assistance
- Cluster-wide “on-the-ground” project oversight
– Quality assurance
– Pre & post monitoring
- Subwatershed “on-the-ground” restoration