TTF’s mission is to connect our communities to their creeks and work with them to improve creek health. One of our engagement strategies is to continually connect our communities to ongoing creek restoration efforts. My favorite tool is hosting tours to showcase our restoration sites. The change you can see at one site, from when it was first planted to the next few seasons can be staggering!
This fall, we hosted a pair of tours of our restoration sites in Montgomery County. The first was our annual Jenkintown Creek Restoration Tour. We welcomed a small group of community members to visit a variety of restoration sites. This tour offered an opportunity to see what restoration looks like up close, ask questions, and learn a little bit about how this work actually gets done.
The tour began at the Conklin Pool in Cheltenham, a project that began in the summer of 2019, which removed 225 feet of concrete-lined channel, and recreated a natural stream meander with a restored wetland. You can learn more about this restoration project here.
From there, the tour made its way over to Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Abington, where attendees learned about a sub-surface storage feature that manages stormwater runoff from the roof of the building, in a very developed suburban area where space is a challenge. You can read more about this innovative project here.
Next, we went to Manor College and the Sisters of St. Basil, where we viewed a restored wetland and daylit section of a small spring-fed tributary to Jenkintown Creek. This project was motivated by the need to repair a broken pipe affecting the Grotto located on the property. Once the repair was completed, the wetland was planted with a mixture of native trees, shrubs, and perennials to filter and reduce water temperature. You can read more about this project here.
The tour finished up at Alverthorpe Park, where we looked at a number of rain gardens and bioswales within the park, and discussed another project in planning to manage over 15 acres of stormwater through a sub-surface feature; this feature is similar to one already completed at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel.
We finished with lunch and a wrap-up discussion about the importance of green stormwater infrastructure. Photos from this tour can be seen here.
This fall we also collaborated with partners to offer a tour of suburban Philadelphia restoration sites as part of a field trip for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed’s 10th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum. This forum brings together professionals from all across the Delaware Basin working to improve the health of the entire watershed. This tour welcomed over 20 professionals and funders, and was hosted with partners the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Wissahickon Trails. We were proud to showcase work at Congregation Keneseth Israel.
This time we quickly looked at the sub-surface feature, and then moved to the other side of the property to view the start of another stormwater project. Construction was just beginning on a parking lot retrofit that involves the installation of a number of rain gardens, swales and parking islands. These features will reduce the temperature of the parking lot and the stormwater running off of it. The congregation’s Executive Director shared his perspective about the project. Attendees also learned about the project’s funding and design, as well as some of the challenges of implementing stormwater projects.
We love showing people the importance and impact of restoration work! If you want to learn more about one of our restoration projects, reach out! We typically host at least one tour of our restoration sites per year and would love to include you. Contact our Upstream Conservation Leader, Ryan Neuman at email@example.com for more information.