Conklin Tributary to Jenkintown Creek: Then & Now

Jamilee Hoffman
Jul 15, 2022

Conklin 3

We want to introduce you to a small unnamed tributary to the Jenkintown Creek that flows through the Charles D. Conklin Pool Property. In 2019, we started to restore this creek to a more natural setting and improve water quality through funding from the Montgomery County Planning Commission, William Penn Foundation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The project removed 225 linear feet of a concrete-lined channel that flowed through the park, directing the creek into a meandering constructed wetland.

In 2020 volunteers planted over 150 native trees and shrubs were planted on-site as well as over 500 native perennials. Tree and shrub species planted include Alleghany serviceberry, river birch, buttonbush, eastern redbud, silky dogwood, sweet pepperbush and arrowwood. Perennial species include cutleaf coneflower, marsh marigold, swamp milkweed, blue vervain and soft rush.

A total of 7,500 square feet of turf grass was converted to a meadow. This project manages 42 acres of stormwater which flow into this creek, and make a significant impact on improving the health of this important headwater creek.

This project has improved the physical condition of the restoration site and habitat for a whole host of species both in and around the creek. The original condition of the concrete lined channel did not provide habitat for creek life, and little habitat for species found within the riparian corridor. Almost immediately after construction, we noticed a more consistent creek baseflow. In the spring of 2021, we began to notice breeding black nose dace in the creek, and have since seen macro invertebrates and frogs within the creek. The transformation has been dramatic, as wildlife has begun to thrive in this area.

The plants have flourished, and a variety of birds benefit from the new habitat, including this palm warbler on a newly planted tree. The site has become a place to connect with and explore nature, an opportunity to see blooming flowers and beautiful butterflies during the summer, hear birds singing, and even catch a frog or two! View the wildlife that people have documented…and add your own observations on our iNaturalist project Conklin page.

This project not only provides habitat and recreational opportunities, it also slows down the rush of stormwater into our creeks. Previously, water rapidly flowed through the concrete lined channel and rushed into the Jenkintown and then the Tookany Creeks. The stormwater now flows through the meandering creek and spreads out on the adjacent meadow and floodplain. The volume and velocity of water is mitigated downstream, while also enabling pollutants and materials such as trash to settle out.

These wonderful creek and and habitat changes have led us to consider additional ways to foster even more community connection to this beautiful resource. This summer, we are working with local artist Rebecca Schultz to provide community engagement opportunities for the process of naming this small section of creek! A name connects the community to the creek; we believe that this stretch of creek deserves attention and love. The section of creek that we hope to name is highlighted in yellow on the map below.

How does the creek naming process work?

The process requires community input. What do you think? Think about what the creek may be called locally and historically. Does the area or creek have specific significance? We are committed to working with residents, Commissioners, Township staff, and the Cheltenham Historical Commission to determine a name that fits best. The Township can then submit an application to the US Board of Geographic Names for approval. We hope to coordinate this process with the CHC for other creeks. This is an exciting community educational and engagement opportunity to connect people of all ages and cultures to history and nature!                                            

We will be at the Conklin Pool on July 19 and August 6 to host interactive activities and ask people what they would like the creek to be named. We hope to see you there! You can also submit name ideas to

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