We’re all about connecting our watershed residents and communities to their creeks! Through hands-on education, stewardship, restoration, and advocacy, we empower our constituents to take care of and improve the impaired waterways across our 30 square miles.
We recognize that we serve a diverse watershed that is home to many disinvested communities that face environmental injustice on a daily basis. We are committed to continuing and expanding our diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work.
From the headwaters in Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield in Montgomery County – to neighborhoods in North, Northeast, and Northwest Philadelphia – we educate neighbors and stakeholders about clean water issues and how we can all make a difference at our homes and businesses, on our trails, and in our parks and communities. All of our work is based on partnership.
We use lots of tools – from Creekforce 1, our van…to our Creekmobile, our mobile education cart, and even our trails and your phone…to share our love for water and nature with people of all ages, and to show how we can all make a difference, especially together. Our volunteer Streamkeepers keep a special eye on the Tookany Creek and its tributaries.
Did you know that the biggest source of water pollution is stormwater runoff? In Philadelphia, this runoff results in regular Combined Sewage Overflows into Tacony/Frankford Creek, which is a serious environmental justice problem.
We educate people about how green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) uses plants and soil to soak up and clean rainwater where it falls, before it enters our creeks. We have installed lots of GSI projects with municipal partners and stakeholders. Our project list is growing everyday, but so far we've planted thousands of native trees, shrubs, and flowers along creeks and installed rain gardens at over 25 schools, parks, places of worship, and even backyards in order to make our creeks healthier!
We’re proud to be part of critical local and regional efforts. A Philadelphia Water Department partner, we support the Green City, Clean Waters plan to improve water quality through GSI. And we’re part of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia cluster of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative as well as the Alliance for Watershed Education created by the William Penn Foundation.
In Philadelphia, working with the Parks & Recreation and Water departments, we focus on Tacony Creek Park, collaborating with neighbors to discover this historic urban watershed park, trail, and creek through creative engagement efforts, such as mural, oral history, photography, and music projects; improvement programs such as plantings and cleanups, and activities including regular health, nature, and history walks, and block parties. We sponsor the park friends group, TCP Keepers.
We are supported by our municipal partners, foundations and government agencies, individuals, and businesses through our Partner Alliance.
The creeks in our watershed experience many problems caused by human development including impaired water quality from polluted runoff and combined sewage overflows, degraded aquatic and riparian habitat, steeply eroded streambanks, channelization, dumping, and litter.
When it rains, motor oil, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid from cars, and salt and sand from roads wash into storm drains that lead to streams and rivers, damaging our waterways. Polluted water from our streets floods our creeks, eroding stream banks, washing away natural stream habitats and fouling ecosystems. In Philadelphia’s combined sewage outfall areas, including Tacony Creek Park, rainwater overloads sanitary sewer pipes, causing them to discharge raw sewage into our streams.
Our creeks, parks, and trails should serve as places for relaxation, recreation, inspiration, and community connection. The compromised state of the creek’s health and aesthetics deters residents from enjoying it as a community asset. When people see this kind of neglect, they are unlikely to take a walk with their children in our parks.
In many of our natural areas, we see a lot of trash. This litter comes from upstream and local runoff – many people don’t realize that storm drains lead directly to our creeks – as well as people just dropping their trash as they walk along a trail. Chip bags, candy wrappers, and cigarette butts discarded on sidewalks or out of car windows make their way from the street through the storm drain system and into the creek. Sometimes, our green spaces are used for illegal activities, such as dumping. This is not only unhealthy for the natural stream habitat, but makes our parks unattractive and unhealthy for people who want to enjoy them. All-terrain vehicle use keeps people away, destroys trails and habitat, and damages streambanks. Finally, the graffiti we often see on trees is damaging.
2023 Annual Report
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Healthy watersheds make healthy communities. We need your help! There are so many ways to get involved.