William Penn Foundation Commits $35 Million to Protect Drinking Water

Watershed Alliance organizations are key participants in the recently launched Delaware River Restoration & Conservation Initiative of the William Penn Foundation.  As part of one of eight designated clusters,  Alliance Partners  received resources for targeted outreach and education, water quality monitoring and on-the-ground stormwater management projects.

Specifically,  the “Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster” includes alliance partners from the Cobbs, Pennypack, Poquessing, Tookany and Wissahickon Creek Watersheds.

In all, more than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and conservation organizations will share $35 million from the William Penn Foundation. The  Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)  was selected to lead the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster with representation from  the Lower Merion Conservancy, Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, and The Friends of the Poquessing Creek.  Temple University Center for Sustainable Communities and Villanova University are providing technical support for watershed modeling and monitoring activities.

The initial work aims to achieve water quality and quantity restoration goals. These goals are designed to help reduce stormwater volume and velocity; reduce sediment and pollutant input, and support greater diversity and higher populations of native aquatic and terrestrial species in the five watersheds.

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.  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.

For more information, see the William Penn Foundation site.

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