There’s always more to learn: Thank you, GSI Partners!

Emilie Wetzel
Dec 6, 2018

TTF's Rain Garden at Vernon Park

Blog by Upstream Conservation Leader, Ryan Neuman

I recently attended the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Operation and Maintenance Course, offered by the Sustainable Business Network’s GSI Partners.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects are designed to capture and store stormwater and help it to infiltrate into the ground. This helps reduce the number one cause of pollution in our watershed: urban runoff. These projects take many different forms, and are becoming increasingly more prevalent within Philadelphia. They include rain gardens, tree trenches, curb bump outs and even green roofs!

Professionals from across the GSI industry attended this course, ranging from maintenance workers, to engineers, and everyone in between. The class spanned a total of three days. The discussions were involved, and the presentations were clear and covered an incredible amount of knowledge on GSI.

The first day discussed pre-project considerations for GSI projects, and thinking about how to maintain the projects after they are installed.

Day two focused on performing maintenance, discussing issues that may arise, and considerations to take into account. In the afternoon, the course discussed monitoring associated with these GSI projects, and what is being learned from this monitoring. The final day of the course focused on application. In the morning, we discussed aspects of soil, as well as planting GSI features, and plant maintenance.

The afternoon was a field component looking at two rain gardens on LaSalle University’s Campus, and discussing the importance of maintenance and creating a maintenance plan for GSI projects. This continuous maintenance is needed to ensure that projects are functioning to full capacity.

We should all be proud of the Philadelphia Water Department’s GSI leadership! The Green City Clean Waters initiative is increasing GSI projects within the city, as well as helping to grow the GSI sector. The green infrastructure industry in Philadelphia is vast, and it is exciting to see so many professionals involved in this critical work. Maintenance is important for GSI projects; a lot of work needs to be done to ensure that these projects are having the greatest impact that they can.

The impact that TTF is having across our watershed continues to grow. We now have 18 projects within our watershed, with several new projects on the horizon. We understand the importance of maintenance of these projects and welcome the help of volunteers as we continue to grow. The work of our wonderful volunteers magnifies our impact…and our volunteers learn valuable hands-on skills. 

Interested in helping to maintain our projects? Please contact Ryan Neuman at or complete a volunteer form here.

Curious about where our projects are located? Check out our interactive project map.

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