By Mary Satterthwaite, former amazing intern and current Forestry Technician (Wilderness Ranger Trail Crew Lead) for the Salmon-Challis National Forest
TTF has been part of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Cluster of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative since 2014, with a focus on the Jenkintown Creek sub-watershed. Our cluster has been coordinated by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council with support from academic partners, Temple and Villanova universities. Susan Harris, owner of Cerulean, LLC has served as our Project Manager, working along with TTF staff to identify projects, engage property owners, develop funding, and manage both the projects and ongoing maintenance.
Visit our Jenkintown Creek page for more information.
The Jenkintown Creek Restoration project most recently completed is located at the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great. With Susan’s assistance, the Sisters applied for funding through a Growing Greener Grant to restore the historic grotto on the site. The grotto was used by Betsy Ross, who spent time in a house on the property!
The grotto’s original drainage system was 400 feet of pipe that flowed directly from the Jenkintown Creek. Over time, this pipe clogged and corroded, causing the water in the grotto to backup and overflow. The overflow formed a wallow in a nearby grassy area where geese would reside.
Working with contractors, this project redirected the flow of water to prevent the problematic backup. The 400 feet of pipe was replaced with 3 shorter pipes that will drain into the large field and floodplain behind the grotto. The water in the grotto is potable once more.
TTF has been busy working on installing stormwater management features in Alverthorpe Park in Abington. In 2018, TTF completed a bioretention feature along the front parking lot through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. A swale with a series of 5 domed risers and porous drainpipe now drains into an existing inlet by the tennis courts. This feature prevents flooding in the parking lot, erosion of soil from unmanaged runoff, and pooling of water in surrounding grass.
Over the next two years, TTF will create three more projects at Alverthorpe Park. The first will manage stormwater from the Penn State baseball fields, funded through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
This project will create a 525 foot bioswale and 2 rain gardens at the back of the outfield which will manage a 9 acre area to prevent flooding, and encourage the water to drain. The second project is a rain garden funded through a grant from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation through the Business for Water Stewardship campaign. This project will manage the water flowing onto Forrest Road. Work on both of these projects will begin soon.
The third project is supported by a 2017 Growing Greener Grant. This project has required a great deal of planning and collaboration, and will manage stormwater from 17 acres that drain into Jenkintown Creek along Indian Creek Road. This section of creek floods the property of residents along the creek when there’s a big storm.
The goal is to control street runoff by diverting it to stackable tanks placed in the facilities lot off of Jenkintown Road. The runoff will first be filtered through a sediment forebay, to clean it of any larger pollutants, and to slowly drain to the 5 acre pond in Alverthorpe Park. Installation will begin in 2022.
Susan is a critical member of TTF Watershed team and management of local stormwater projects. She also referred me to a cool resource at Model My Watershed, where you can discover watersheds anywhere in the world. This tool is very helpful to visualize how she manages each project.
Watch for news about a tour of these projects during the summer of 2021!