Stormwater is rainwater that picks up pollutants from impervious (or hard surfaces), such as parking lots, roads, buildings, and sidewalks, and transports them to local waterways - many times through storm drains. Stormwater is a major concern throughout the entire Schuylkill River Watershed, especially concentrated in highly developed areas.
The Stormwater Workgroup works to improve stormwater management by implementing best management practices (BMPs), such as naturalized basins, rain gardens, bioswales, rain barrels, and more. The workgroup partners with municipalities, government agencies, water suppliers, and other watershed organizations to implement these BMPs.
Schuylkill Headwaters Association partnered with Blue Mountain Middle School to retrofit existing stormwater features into rain gardens.
Montgomery County Conservation District worked with Christopher Dock High School in Towamencin Township to install a 1000 square-foot rain garden on the school’s campus to process stormwater from a parking lot and athletic fields.
Conrad Weiser Middle School worked with Berks County Master Watershed Stewards and other volunteers to retrofit a grassey area with native plants. The students helped with researching what native plants and pollinators to use.
Wissahickon Sustainability Council partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and Community Design Collaborative to develop a green master plan for the school.
Click here for more information about the master plan.
In 2011, an acre of turf grass was converted to meadow, and 200 riparian buffer trees were planted along Stony Creek with TreeVitalize funding. The project restored a primary headwater stream, Stony Creek, before it flows into the Schuylkill River, by stabilizing eroding streambank, installing energy dissipaters upstream of the eroded areas, converting 1.4 acres of turf grass into deep-rooted meadow, and planting over one acre of riparian buffer.
Germantown Academy completed a master plan in 2011, with the goal of reconnecting the school with the natural environment. Environmental features include restored wetlands, ponds, wet meadows, woodlands, and walking trails. The school planted a rain garden and also has a green roof.
In 2012, Germantown Academy earned the Montgomery Award for environmentally sensitive site planning, sustainable building design, and restoration of natural features. For more information, click here.
The Green Lane Reservoir supplies drinking water to the town of East Greenville, but increased upstream development intensified stormwater runoff, and threatened to increase water quality impairment. A reforestation project took place to slow the destructive force and filter pollutants from the runoff.
Albert M. Greenfield School in Philadelphia greened its campus by removing an asphalt yard and transforming it into a stormwater management system.
Students and educators at Hereford Elementary School planted a 9,000 sq. ft. rain garden which treats runoff from the front parking lot and the roof on the front side of the school.
Berks Nature partnered with Kutztown Middle School to convert existing mowed turf area into an unmowed area, planted with 230 native trees and 100 native shrubs.
Along the perimeter of the school, 40 large trees were planted. A section of the parking lot was also planted with 9 trees. These native trees and shrubs help to protect the Saucony Creek, a subewtershed in the Maiden Creek Watershed.
Destination Schuylkill River partnered with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to install a rain garden at the Lankenau School in Philadelphia.
The Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) worked with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, students, teachers, and FedEx school employees to install a rain garden at Lingelbach Elementary School, which will treat stormwater before it enters Monoshone Creek.
Working on two school campuses bordering a full mile of the Stony Creek,The NASD improved stormwater management by restoring a riparian buffer and retrofitting two retaining basins.
An eroding stream bank was stabilized and replanted using erosion-control tubes filled with a composted growing medium. Despite being under water several times, the fully vegetated berm is holding strong and continues to protect the Stony Creek from erosion at this site.
Green Valleys Watershed Association designed and installed a bioswale vegetated channel in front of the Phoenixville Area Middle School’s cafeteria windows, with hands-on help from middle school students.
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Montgomery County Conservation District partnered to retrofit a failing rain garden into an improved bioretention area, filled with native shrubs. School district maintenance staff completed construction under the direction of the District Watershed Specialist. Then, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary teamed up with a science teacher to lead students in planting the garden. Funding was provided through a grant from 3M, awarded to the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
A pervious parking lot and bio-infiltration areas were installed to slow and filter stormwater runoff to Saw Mill Run, a direct tributary to the Schuylkill River.
Berks Nature worked with Robeson Elementary Center to eliminate mowing from a 2.6 acre area of the campus. The area was reseeded with native seeds and planted with native trees and shrubs. Addtionally, blacktop was removed from a 1,200 square foot area of the parking lot and graded to collect stormwaterrunoff. An 800 square foot pollinator garden was also added to the site. These projects absorb and infiltrate stormwater running off into an unnamed tributary of the Hay Creek.
At Sandy Run Middle School in Dresher, more than 700 students were involved in a project to rip out invasive knotweed in Sandy Run and replace it with native trees and shrubs that will help restore the waterway.
One acre in size, a traditional detention basin on the school campus drained 65 acres of parking lots and playing fields. Retrofitting the large basin slowed stormwater runoff volume and pollution to the Mingo Creek.
Students transformed a paved traffic circle into a working rain garden, calming trqaffic problems and preventing heated parking lot runoff pollution from entering the Wissahickon Creek. Other rain gardens and student-created sculptural installations addressed runoff from the school roofs.
The Montessori School in Dresher, PA has installed a rain garden, rain barrels, downspout planters, and developed a green master plan.