EACs Around the Watershed: Springfield Township

Julie Slavet
Jan 7, 2014

TTF works closely with our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) partners. This month we’re starting this column to promote the activities of the EACs in Abington and Jenkintown. Watch for next month when we feature Cheltenham and Springfield.


    The Springfield Township EAC is pursuing a grant approval for a project to supplement plantings, including trees along the creek in Cisco Park above Mermaid pond where some work was done by the township, but needs fuller work. This is part of a longer term strategy here to also eventually expand the area being done and also to include an educational component.

Statement of problem

The Springfield Township Environmental Advisory Council proposes to plant 62 trees adjacent to Paper Mill Run, a tributary of the Wissahickon Creek, and Mermaid Pond for the purpose of stream bank revitalization. Grant funding is requested to purchase native trees, shrubs and live stakes for the reestablishment of a riparian buffer that will complement restoration efforts already set in motion by the Township.

Paper Mill Run is an unnamed tributary of the Wissahickon Creek located in Northwest Philadelphia and Montgomery County. The stream segment relevant to this project runs through Cisco Park, which is a 13-acre public space. Large runoff volumes amassed over the stream’s 2.5-square-mile watershed have caused significant stream bank erosion along this segment. The stream’s water quality has also been impaired by sediment washed from the banks into the stream during storm events. The banks of _____ Lake, which lies within the 7-acre Mermaid Park, have also undergone erosion and degradation in water quality. Due to an increasing number of storm events, the lake now contains elevated levels of sediment that, in addition to possibly contaminating the water, pose a hindrance to aquatic life.

Proposed solution

The Springfield Township Environmental Advisory Council has proposed a riparian buffer planting project that would complement the Township’s restoration efforts to date. The EAC will work closely with _____, an experienced nursery, and the Montgomery County Conservation District to choose appropriate native palustrine plants that are best suited for survival and aesthetics. A series of educational signs will be posted along the restoration corridor, adjacent to the park’s walking path. These signs will describe the work undertaken at the site and enumerate the many benefits associated with stream bank naturalization.


     The proposed stream bank revitalization project will reinforce Springfield’s commitment to community, to education, and to the environment. Such comprehensive planting as this project would involve brings more complete bank stabilization and improved water quality. The vegetative barrier will:

          • Filter many contaminants that would otherwise enter the stream via runoff and make their way to the Wissahickon.
          • Increase storage and absorption of storm-waters, which will reduce flood damage, which is especially vital to Springfield residents, who have been strongly impacted by flooding during recent storm events—most notably Hurricane Irene.
          • Reduce bank erosion, which will lower the amount of sediment being washed into the stream.

      An integral part of communicating project benefits to the citizens and park-goers of Springfield will be the series of educational signs, which will be an effective education tool. In order to further engage the community and control project costs, the EAC will organize and advertise a ‘Restore Cisco Park’ planting event. This service project will provide opportunities for media attention and recognition of key stakeholders. Any federal or state funding granted will go towards increased awareness of and opportunities to create green jobs.

The EAC just approved working with Sarah Gabriel from the Home Grown Institute on her doing a feasibility study of composting in the township. Around that same line, they’re looking to do some more composting workshops in the spring, and will also be putting out a composting brochure in the beginning of the new year.


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