As 2022 comes to a close, so will the multi-year Stream Smart Program funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and coordinated by our partner, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. This collaborative effort began in the spring of 2019 across suburban Philadelphia to engage residents with their watershed and tackle stormwater runoff from the largest land use in our watersheds — residential properties. Suburban runoff is the number one source of pollution in our watershed. This runoff carries trash and pollutants into our streams, as well as causing dangerous flashy conditions which lead to significant erosion.
Stream Smart offered technical support to homeowners through audits of residential properties to improve on-site stormwater management. Audits included site visits plus a follow-up report including recommendations. In some cases, we provided financial support to install green stormwater infrastructure projects on certain qualifying properties. These included riparian buffers (creekside plantings of native trees and shrubs), rain gardens, bioswales, sub-surface storage and stabilization of eroding areas.
In 2022, TTF provided audits for 5 Abington and Cheltenham property owners. Additionally, 3 properties — 1 in Cheltenham and 2 in Abington — benefited from stormwater features we installed on their property. The first of these projects included a small (about 200 square feet) rain garden and swale along a property at Fairview Road property in Cheltenham. This rain garden manages runoff from multiple downspouts off of the roof as well as overland flows. This rain garden was planted with a mixture of native flowers such as Black-Eyed Susan and Bee Balm.
We completed the second fall project on a property adjacent to Alverthorpe Park; it included a .08 acre riparian buffer, with over 40 different native trees and shrubs. Species included River Birch (Betula nigra), Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and others.
Additionally, this project included a sub-surface stone trench in the backyard, which directs flows from multiple downspouts and redirects them through the ground, recharging groundwater and reducing overland runoff into the Jenkintown Creek. The last project, located along Crosswicks Road in Abington, includes a 250 square foot swale and rain garden which manages overland flows and reduces erosion. This feature was seeded with a native shade-tolerant seed mix
Over the course of the Stream Smart program, TTF preformed 33 audits, and installed green stormwater infrastructure projects at 15 sites including 14 residential properties and one institutional project that manages stormwater from about 20 different residential properties. Projects included 4 riparian buffers, 5 swales, 10 rain gardens, streambank stabilization at two sites, and live staking at two sites. TTF mailed information to hundreds of neighborhood residents about the issue of runoff and ways to manage stormwater at home.
TTF is committed to improving the health and vitality of the watershed. Interested in an assessment of your property for potential stormwater improvements? Want to learn more about how to bring this project to your neighborhood or community? Reach out to Ryan@ttfwatershed.org
Photos of some of these restoration projects can be viewed here.
You can learn more about the Stream Smart program here.