Collaborative clean water projects in Alverthorpe Park will improve Jenkintown Creek!

Jamilee Hoffman
Feb 13, 2022

Engineering Students from a senior design studio class at Temple University majoring came to Alverthorpe Park to plant native perennials in a new stormwater feature that TTF had just installed. This was a great opportunity for students in the class to experience real-world application of their studies as well as to lend a helping hand. The planting took place in November 2021.
TTF is extremely grateful for our partnership with Temple through from Delaware River Watershed Initiative monitoring to  cleanups in Tacony Creek Park.

Students planted about 150 native plants that will to fill in the rain garden and bloom in the spring, including species such as bee balm (Monarda fistulosum), golden ragwort (Packera aurea), foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), and garden phlox (Phlox panniculata). These are just a few of the native perennials that were planted that will provide wonderful habitat for other native species.

Forrest Ave rain garden after planting: This rain garden is in a prominent spot with lots of foot traffic on the adjacent trail. It will beautify the park with colorful bloom throughout the year. During planting, many parkgoers stopped to ask questions about the project. We hope to install an interpretive sign on-site to with information about our watershed and the how residents can learn from project about clean water steps to take at their homes.

This feature includes a rain garden and small swale that manage stormwater flowing overland from parts of the park to Forrest Avenue. A rain garden is a garden that oftentimes involves removing harder clay soils and replacing them with a mixture of sand and compost to allow water to flow through more easily. The garden is then planted with a selection of native plants.

The purpose of the garden is to help slow the flow of polluted stormwater runoff into our creeks and allow some of that water to infiltrate into the ground. In the pictures below, you can see existing conditions before the feature was installed. Before the rain garden was installed, water flowed overland across the park and towards Forrest Avenue.

This project now slows the rush of runoff towards the Jenkintown Creek. This project was funded through a grant from Bonneville Environmental Foundation through the Business for Water Stewardship campaign. It is part of a series of stormwater pollution projects within the park through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative in partnership work with property owner Abington Township.

In the fall of 2019, a bioswale was installed along the main parking lot to the park to manage runoff flowing off of the parking lot and adjacent baseball field.

This year another feature was simultaneously installed with this rain garden. That feature included a bioswale and two rain gardens to help manage over 9 acres of drainage that flows down towards the baseball field at the corner of the park near the intersection of Fox Chase Road and Forrest Avenue.

Rain garden at end of the baseball field
View of swale after construction

Still to come is a large project that will be installed under the park maintenance lot; this project will utilize a series of stackable containers buried under the lot, which will provide storage for 17 acres of stormwater.

Learn more about these projects in this video by the Township of Abington.

Project aggregation — combining clean water projects like this at one site and along one creek — can make a significant difference in improving the health of our creeks and educating our watershed community.

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