PHILADELPHIA, PA — On February 11, 2019, The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) hosted a meeting of its Municipal and Stakeholders Task Force, a group of watershed municipalities and stakeholders that meets bi-annually to share information and provide updates on watershed-related projects. The meeting brought together environmental leaders and state and local officials and yielded important insights about maintenance strategies to ensure the effectiveness of previously implemented and potential clean water projects, vital to making sure that communities continue to thrive by having access to clean water.
TTF Executive Director Julie Slavet said, “TTF is very interested in how it can assist with project maintenance. Our goal is to gather as much information as possible to see how we can assist our municipalities and institutional stakeholders by putting together a program for the coming year to train municipal employees, facilities managers and community members to maintain green stormwater infrastructure and restoration projects.”
The meeting brought out a strong show of support from local, county and state representatives. State Representative Steve McCarter’s office, State Senator Art Haywood’s office and State Representative Ben Sanchez’s office sent staff members, demonstrating their commitment to getting the word out and helping identify resources.
There was also significant municipal representation. Both Jenkintown Borough and Cheltenham Township added a council member and commissioner to the task force.
Sue Myerov, AICP, program director-watersheds, Pennsylvania Environmental Council said, “Making sure that we are in contact with our municipalities and updating them on projects helps support our work. Ultimately we’re all here to make sure our creeks are clean. Municipalities are a huge part of that. I think these meetings are really critical because they allow us to have frank discussions about what’s happening and share ideas and updates.”
Feedback from participants was positive. Jon Lesher, Principal Planner, Montgomery County Planning Commission is excited to be involved. “TTF is a wonderful organization and we’re very supportive of the work that they do in the watershed. We’re always happy to work with organizations like TTF as they work with their municipal partners. So we’re here to support them in any way we can.”
Amy Riddle Montgomery, P.E., director of engineering and code, Abington Township Engineer added, “The meeting was very productive. It’s always good to talk to other stakeholders in this watershed to find out what’s going on. It’s really important to hear what the watershed has planned, take that back to the Township and coordinate our efforts.”
The importance of community collaboration to protect water quality was underscored by Deborra Sines-Pancoe, Jenkintown Borough Councilwoman who said, “We all need to work on this together because water knows no boundaries. So our water is coming into Cheltenham, is going down to Philadelphia and coming from Abington; so we have to all be together on this.”
Bryan T. Havir, Cheltenham Township Manager acknowledged the utility of the task force and stated, “This meeting was good for networking and learning about what each of the municipalities is doing in the upper reach of the watershed.”
Having all the stakeholders at the table is what Pat Edouard, district representative, Senate of Pennsylvania, Office of Senator Art Haywood-4th Senate District lauded as a vital component of the task force.
Slavet described the meeting as very positive, pointing to the benefits of sharing information. She believes that the information and insights gathered from the meeting will be the foundation for effective future planning efforts and initiatives and will preserve work that has been started, ultimately protecting and improving the watershed.
TTF is dedicated to improving the health and vitality of our watershed by collaborating with our municipalities and leading our communities in education, stewardship, restoration, and advocacy. From the headwaters in the upstream communities of Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield in Montgomery County – to downstream neighborhoods in North, Northeast, and Northwest Philadelphia – TTF implements programs that educate neighbors and stakeholders about clean water issues and how we can all make a difference in our own backyards, parks, and communities. For more information, go to https://ttfwatershed.org/.