Schuylkill River

Start a New Tradition with the 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest

Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.
Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.

For many who enjoy the ancient pastime and sport of fishing, the passion comes from a place with deep roots in childhood: fishing with a dad or a grandmother, remembering just the right number of times to loop a line for that most steadfast of knots, remembering the little secrets they passed on for luring in the big one, remembering the frenzied excitement of that first catch, forever cherishing the picture snapped after.

On Saturday, September 8, Philly families will have the perfect opportunity to create those memories—even if no one in the family has a lick of fishing know-how.

Now in its 14th year, the catch-and-release Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks in Center City is an event that’s special because it goes out of its way to be open to all, inviting experienced anglers and newcomers alike to see first-hand just how much our scenic Schuylkill River has to offer.

All you have to do is register right here by Sept. 6: if you don’t have your own, bait and rods are loaned on a first-come, first served basis. As our partners, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission will even lift fishing license requirements for that section of the river during Philly Fun Fishing Fest.


  • Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Awards ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m.
  • Fishing takes place at Schuylkill Banks, 24th and Walnut Streets (see parking and transit info)
  • Rain date is September 22 


  • Free to the public
  • No fishing license required
  • Fishing gear available to borrow
  • Prizes awarded in various categories
  • Meet on Schuylkill Banks
  • Catch-and-release
  • Bring your own snacks & refreshments

Sign Up Deadline Is September 6: 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest Registration

Mural, Pocket Park Being Celebrated Earth Day Weekend

Last summer, we joined artist Paul Santoleri and Roxborough and residents for a community painting event that laid the foundation for Watershed, the mural that now overlooks the neighborhood’s newest community green space–Roxborough Pocket Park.

Just in time for Earth Day weekend, Santoleri’s work is finished and will be celebrated with a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 21st. Starting at noon, the “Art Is Life” event also marks the official opening of the park and will feature food trucks, live music, and local artisans.

As sponsors of the mural, we will join Roxborough Development Corporation (RDC) in welcoming Watershed, which draws attention to the green transformation of the once-vacant asphalt lot at 6170 Ridge Ave.

Working alongside Mural Arts Philadelphia and RDC, we commissioned Santoleri–a Roxborough native–to create a piece of art that captured the essence of the new pocket park and the community’s relationship with water. The result was a vibrant blend of history and nature that invites the community and visitors to take a closer look.

Water elements, like the waves and ripples woven into each section of the mural, are reminders of how closely water connects all forms of life. The ball-like mass of water rolling downhill acknowledges Roxborough’s location at the top of a hill. As the divide between the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek, Roxborough feeds into two of Philadelphia’s seven watersheds.

Watershed is located within the Schuylkill watershed. On the opposite side of Ridge Avenue, most of the land drains into the Wissahickon Creek. In addition to Roxborough’s relationship with water, Santoleri pays tribute to the neighborhood’s connection to its past.

The mural includes historic folklore like the Cave of Kelpius, a local cave by the Wissahickon Creek that served as Johannes Kelpuis’ and his followers 1694 escape to wait for the end of the world. The red fox is a nod to those who claim Roxborough got its name from Kelpius’ writings describing the area as “where the fox burrows in the rocks.”

Watershed is also a complement to another exciting feature of the park – its green stormwater infrastructure.

The pocket park contains rain gardens and water-absorbing pavement that capture and filter polluted stormwater runoff before it enters our sewers and waterways. All of the species in the mural – from the red Bee Balm flowers to the red fox – are native to the Schuylkill and Wissahickon watersheds. The red salamander, which stands out thanks to a mosaic of tiles, is featured on PWD’s Wissahickon storm drain markers.

Storm drain markers are a fun reminder that every drain leads to a creek or a river. Philadelphia residents can participate in marking storm drains around their community by ordering a free wildlife marker kit for their specific watershed. You can monitor which drains need marking, check off the drains that you’ve marked, and report damaged or missing markers by using PWD’s storm drain marking app.

We hope to see you on Ridge Avenue! 

CHOP Gets Recognition for Leading with River-Protecting Green Design

When leadership at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia decided to create a brand-new, centralized facility for pediatric care, their primary concern was easing the stress young patients and their families often face while undergoing treatment.

Today, that vision is recognized at the 12-story Buerger Center, a colorful University City building that opened in 2015 with a playful, flowing façade that makes it feel like a distinct, long-cherished landmark.

Impressive features include a lush and winding 16,000 square foot roof garden and a ground-level plaza garden covering more than two acres. These spaces not only serve the mission of reducing stress for kids in treatment—they also reduce pollution in Philadelphia’s waterways.

By limiting the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, where heavy storms can lead to overflows that harm local rivers like the Schuylkill, these green features are helping the City of Philadelphia in its drive to massively reduce this source of pollution in the coming years.

That attention to water quality protection and green design are what earned CHOP and the team behind the Buerger Center the 2017 Stormwater Pioneer award. Granted by the Philadelphia Water Department, the award recognizes forward-thinking stormwater management projects in the private sector.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will gather on the blooming 6th-floor roof garden with CHOP officials and the development team this Wednesday, July 26.

While the Buerger Center’s gardens are highly visible, much of the actual stormwater management takes place behind the scenes at the facility, which was designed to be LEED-Silver certified.

With help from Residents, Point Breeze Vacant Lot Is Becoming a River-Protecting Green Space

Point Breeze Cleanup & Block Party - June 2017

After two hot hours of picking up trash, weed-whacking, and sweeping at a vacant lot in Point Breeze, PowerCorps PHL’s Desmon Richardson, on hand with fellow crew members to bring some added muscle to the effort, suggested lining the small, triangular space with unused rocks from a pile sitting in the middle of the site.

Neighbors who’d been helping agreed: the natural-looking border was the perfect finishing touch for the renewed lot, concluding a sticky Saturday morning spent cleaning up the local eyesore.

Members of the Philadelphia Water Department’s Public Engagement team joined the local non-profit Diversified Community Services and area block captains on June 10 to clean the publicly-owned lot at Point Breeze Avenue and Mifflin Street—the future home of a rain garden that will soak up stormwater and bring regular maintenance to the site through Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program.

Similar efforts in other neighborhoods have led to dramatic improvements at formerly nuisance-plagued lots, something locals are hoping to repeat here.

Schuylkill River Volunteers Haul Tons of Litter from Bartram’s Garden

A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD
A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD

Our first volunteer cleanup of 2017 with United By Blue had a great turnout—and even got an honorary "Best Field Trip Ever"  designation from one of the dozens of students who attended:

Photos and More: Big Celebration Welcomes New Rain Garden, Mural at Vacant Lot Site

We want to send out a big thank you to all who came out to celebrate the new rain gardens and mural in Hestonville yesterday! Below you’ll find photos from the event and coverage from local TV stations:

Come See How Green City, Clean Waters Helped Transform a Vacant Lot into a Community Gem

This is close-up image showing an American shad on the mural at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural features raised and textured elements that make it pop off the wall.
This detail shows shad depicted in the new West Phila. mural created by Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali. Credit: Philadelphia Water

What happens when the nation’s boldest green infrastructure program meets the nation’s boldest mural arts program in a vacant West Philly lot?

The public is invited see for themselves at the Heston Rain Garden Mural Dedication & Ribbon Cutting event, to be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 3:30 p.m. at 55th and Hunter streets in the Hestonville neighborhood.

Join Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Mural Arts Program, Councilman Curtis Jones, the Hestonville Civic Association and community members in celebrating the first Green City, Clean Waters vacant land transformation, a project that turned an empty lot into a green space that manages stormwater, protects local waterways, and features a vibrant water-themed mural from Philly artists Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali.

Two Philly Free Streets Activity Stops Inspire Wonder About Philly’s Waterways

The Philadelphia Water Dept. will have two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore obscure but fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.
The Philadelphia Water Dept. will host two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.

Have you heard about Philly Free Streets? On Saturday, Sept. 24, the City of Philadelphia will close down 10 miles of streets to cars from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that residents can enjoy those spaces for walking, biking, running and just plain fun.

The idea was inspired by the joy many experienced when the Papal visit from Pope Francis closed streets to car traffic, leaving them open for people.
Making this exercise-encouraging day even more fun, City departments will join a number of organizations in offering activity stops along the route where Philly Free Street-ers can learn more about their communities and engage in exciting activities.

Here’s what the Philadelphia Water Department will be offering along the Philly Free Streets route:

Photos and Prizes: 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest One of Best Yet

Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Thank you to all who came out to the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, Sept. 10!

Our partners at Parks and Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission made it possible to have one of the best days on the river yet, with 195 participants and 297 fish caught (and released).

Schuylkill River Restoration Fund: Eight New Investments in River’s Health Announced

David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.
David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.

The Philadelphia Water Department works hard to protect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers here in Philly, but an essential fact about water is that it’s a shared resource. Our watersheds don’t just provide drinking water for the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia—many millions more depend on these same waters at their kitchen taps, for agriculture, tourism and recreation, and more.

And what happens in the watersheds above Philadelphia matters for the huge number of people living downstream.

For perspective, consider that less than two percent of the watershed providing our source water falls within Philadelphia. When you look at our rivers that way, it becomes clear why a strong partnership approach is such a critical part of the effort to ensure top-quality drinking water.

That’s why we work with organizations like the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, which advocates for the health of one of our main drinking water sources and manages important programs like the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF).

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, PWD joined fellow partners in announcing nearly $279,000 in SRRF grants that will help protect the Schuylkill through eight investments in places ranging from the rural headwaters to the North Light Community Center in urban Manayunk. (Full list of SRRF contributors here).

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