Eagles to Crayfish: Exploring Tacony Creek Park

Doryán De Angel
Oct 19, 2014

Oct 2014: Bald Eagle Spotting
American bald eagles above Tacony Creek Park? In Philadelphia? No way!

It’s true!  We kicked off our monthly nature walk with a sighting of two of these amazing birds, soaring high above the Parks and Recreation gateway at I St and Ramona Avenue. That’s where friends and neighbors met up with Judith Gratz, our environmental educator and guide, to learn about our watershed, how to protect our creek, and what kind of organisms live there.

Judith began by asking one simple question: What is a watershed? A watershed is the area of land that captures rainwater which drains towards one specific point. Did you know that we ALL live in a watershed? That’s right! When it rains around us, all that water travels towards the nearest creek or river, making its way toward its final destination: the ocean!

Oct 2014

We learned about issues affecting our creek, such as stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows. We also learned about the Philadelphia Water Department’s effort to improve our streams through the Green City, Clean Waters Program, and how we can do our part at home.

The grand finale of the walk was when we headed to the creek to look for critters! Hidden beneath rocks and debris in the water, we found seven aquatic organisms: leeches, flatworms, pouch snails, aquatic sowbugs, caddisfly larva, crayfish and blackfly larva. These macro-invertebrates live in the water and play an important role in helping us to know if our creek is healthy or not. How?

These organisms are separated into three categories:

1) Sensitive to pollution

2) Neutral

3) Tolerant of pollution.

If we find more “tolerant” and fewer “sensitives” in the creek, this indicates that the quality of the water isn’t good enough for the sensitives to survive, because the water contains pollutants. Of the seven species we found, only one (1) was “sensitive”.

Oct 2014: Searching for Macros

So what does this mean for us and our creek? We have work to do to! Each and every one of us can make changes that will help improve the health of our stream. Visit “Clean Your Water” at www.stormwaterpa.org/ttf to learn about what you can do for your watershed.

This nature walk was part of our monthly series, “Nature’s Hidden Surprises.” Join us to learn about a new subject on the first Wednesday of every month. Bring along a friend to our next walk on November 5 — you’ll be surprised about what we might find!

For more information, questions or program ideas, contact Doryán at 215.744.1853 or doryan@ttfwatershed.org.

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