TTF

Thank You, MLK Day of Service Volunteers, for Helping Philly Rivers

While MLK Day doesn't have the same environmental focus as say, Earth Day, the fact is, a lot of the work being done in King's honor during today's Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service—an event being touted as the biggest MLK Day volunteer effort in the nation—will help Philly's rivers and creeks.

Some events, like MLK Day cleanups planned for Bartram's Garden, the Schuylkill River Trail in Manayunk and along the Pennypack and Tacony creeks in Northeast Philly, are directly targeting our watersheds:

But even cleanup events in neighborhoods where you don't see a river or creek can help protect local aquatic wildlife. 

How?

Cliveden Park Celebrates 5 Years of Green City, Clean Waters!

The terraced rain gardens of Cliveden Park in fall (top) and spring. The structures provide beautiful landscaping while managing stormwater from nearby streets and protecting local streams. Credit: Philadelphia Water
The terraced rain gardens of Cliveden Park in fall (top) and spring. The structures provide beautiful landscaping while managing stormwater from nearby streets and protecting local streams. Philadelphia Water

Join Philadelphia Water next Saturday, May 14, at Cliveden Park, located at Chew Ave. and E. Johnson Street in Mt. Airy, from 9 a.m. to noon for a special Love Your Park Week event with the Friends of Cliveden and Fairmount Water Works educators.

We will be cleaning up this gorgeous public space and showing off Cliveden’s amazing green stormwater infrastructure with a tour exploring how water flows through the park’s unique terraced rain gardens, nourishing the native plants and soaking naturally into the ground instead of overwhelming Mt. Airy’s sewers.

The event is part of our ongoing 5 Down celebrations highlighting the thousands of new green stormwater tools added to Philadelphia neighborhoods through public and private investment during the first five years of the 25-year Green City, Clean Waters program. Working together, the green infrastructure tools now found at hundreds of sites across the city help to keep over 600 million gallons of polluted water out of our rivers and streams each year.

MLK Day of Service Will Help Philly Rivers. Here's How:

Dozens of bags of “floatable” trash pulled from the Delaware River during a 2015 volunteer cleanup. MLK Day of Service volunteers who participate in neighborhood trash removal will also be helping our rivers because cleaner streets = cleaner creeks and rivers. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Dozens of bags of “floatable” trash pulled from the Delaware River during a 2015 volunteer cleanup. MLK Day of Service volunteers who participate in neighborhood trash removal will also be helping our rivers because cleaner streets = cleaner creeks and rivers. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

As far as resumes go, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s is pretty hard to top.

A 200,000-person march on Washington that was crucial in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act? Check.

A year-long bus boycott that eventually led to a Supreme Court ruling declaring segregated buses unconstitutional? Check.

The list of Dr. King’s accomplishments is long, but one thing you don’t hear too much about is King the environmentalist. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t connections between his activism and the green movement that helped to bring us transformational legislation like the Clean Water Act.

Despite the fact his 1968 assassination predated the first Earth Day by two years, many credit MLK’s work as laying the foundation for the environmental justice movement—a movement guided by the belief that all people, no matter their race or income level, have an equal right to things like safe, clean drinking water and health-promoting green space.

No matter how you think of Dr. King’s legacy, the fact is, much of the work that will be done in his honor during the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service—an event being touted as the biggest MLK Day volunteer effort in the nation—will help our rivers.

How?

Give Water Some Respect with Watershed Wit!

Head to the Guild Hall Brewing Co. on Oct. 20 and send some of your beer money to a local watershed! Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.
Head to the Guild Hall Brewing Co. on Oct. 20 and send some of your beer money to a local watershed! Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.

At the start of the month, we lamented in the Philadelphia Inquirer that water infrastructure, which is often underground and out of sight, just doesn’t seem to get the same attention or funding as things that we see daily, like roads and bridges.

In many ways, it’s the same with beer, too: hops, malt and yeast get all the glory among beer snobs. But, ask any brewer, and they’ll tell you the truth: great water is just as important, if not more so, as all the other stuff that goes into a quality brew.

It’s no surprise then that local breweries like Victory (Headwaters Pale), Saucony Creek (Stonefly IPA) and Sly Fox (SRT Ale) all have beers that pay tribute (and actual profits) to the health of our local waterways.

Now, beer and watershed lovers in Northeast Philly and lower Montco have a beer of their own to hoist while drinking to health of their local stream. Watershed Wit is a new brew from a new, Jenkintown-based brewhouse, Guild Hall Brewing Company.

Located a short walk from the headwaters of the Tookany Creek, they draw tons of water from the local watershed every time they fire up the brew kettle. Good water quality isn’t an abstract concept for this business; they’re intimately aware of the need to protect our rivers and creeks.

In recognition of this basic fact, they’ve pledged a whopping 10 percent of Watershed Wit proceeds to support Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Creek Watershed Partnership's mission to improve the health and vitality of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek. An incredibly dedicated group, TTF is constantly raising awareness about the need to protect and improve their watershed, and Philadelphia Water works closely with them on issues like education, water quality, and stream restoration.

To celebrate the release of this new, refreshing wheat beer (think Hoegaarden or Blue Moon), TTF and Guild Hall are throwing a tapping party dubbed “Creek to Craft” on Tuesday Oct. 20 at the brewery’s restaurant. Click here to learn more and get tickets.


Even if you can’t make the party, remember – grabbing a pint or growler still goes to the great cause of protecting one of Philly’s seven watersheds! Can we say cheers?

Pew Center Gives $300K to Shine Light on Secret River Heroes

Families check out how freshwater mussels filter water at temporary exhibit by the PDE. Soon, the Water Works will have a 530-square-foot mussel hatchery.
Families check out how freshwater mussels filter water at temporary exhibit by the PDE. Soon, the Water Works will have a 530-square-foot mussel hatchery. Photo Credit: PDE.

Some of the most intriguing animals in our rivers also happen to be some of the most inconspicuous creatures out there. In fact, these little guys can be nearly invisible if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

But the reality is that freshwater mussels live extraordinary lives burrowed into the beds of our local creeks and rivers.

Now, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is bringing their secret lives to the surface with a $300,000 grant that will fund the creation of a mussel hatchery right at the Fairmount Water Works.

Celebrating their 10th year of grant making in Philadelphia, the Center announced its 2015 recipients on June 16. We at Philadelphia Water are thrilled to see the Water Works counted among our region’s exemplary artists and cultural institutions and  look forward to the expanded environmental education efforts made possible through this grant.

 The Rivers Restoration Project: A Freshwater Mussel Hatchery will be an interpretive, multi-media installation that will combine science, history, and design in the creation of a site-specific, 530-square-foot living freshwater mussel enclave that will inspire visitors to discover and connect with the Schuylkill River’s rich habitat while developing an appreciation for the importance of environmental protection.

 The two-year grant process is expected to allow the Water Works to open the hatchery in late 2016.

If you’re wondering why the Center and the Water Works are investing in a mussel hatchery, read on.

To the untrained eye, these little shellfish—ranked among the most imperiled animals in the United States—may look just like a leaf lying on the sandy bottom of the Schuylkill or Delaware. But tucked inside that shell is an organism that can live for a century, providing our waterways with decades of invaluable filtration and stream/riverbed stabilization that makes water healthier for both wildlife and humans.

The lifespan and habitat of our native mussels varies depending on the species, but they can live by the millions in vast colonies along riverbeds. With each one filtering up to 20 gallons of water every day, these organisms collectively form nature’s equivalent of water treatment plants, removing pollution and harmful pathogens.

Sadly, these amazing little workhorses have suffered in a big way due to a number of human factors, including unmitigated stormwater runoff and dams, which block their reproductive cycle. This widespread habitat degradation has left many stretches of local waterways without mussel beds, which can lead to destabilized banks and streambeds and water that takes much longer to clear up after disturbance from storms and other heavy sediment events.

In recent years, Philadelphia Water has partnered with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) to survey our local waters for mussel populations. With additional help from groups like the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, PDE even began “reseeding” some Philly creeks with mussels, bringing them back to those areas for the first time in decades.  

The Water Works hatchery is the first project of its kind in the region, and could help fuel interest in a much larger commercial hatchery that would work to filter our water (reducing the workload at treatment plants) while providing young mussels for future regional reseeding efforts, said PDE's Danielle Kreeger.  

With this extremely generous $300,000 Pew grant, the Water Works will begin working on the hatchery with PDE and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University next month, bringing visitors a unique exhibit that will enrich the already impressive mix of education opportunities.

“Our 2015 grantees exemplify the diverse and dynamic cultural life of our region,” said Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director. “As we reflect on the past 10 years of grantmaking in this vibrant community, we also look forward to the extraordinary cultural experiences this talented and ambitious group of artists and organizations will bring to Greater Philadelphia’s audiences.”

For more on educational opportunities at the Fairmount Water Works, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, check out their website.
You can see the full list of the amazing projects awarded 2015 grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage here.

Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Hawks, Oh My!

Did you miss out on going Birding in Tacony Creek Park last month? Well, here’s another chance!

As part of the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count, the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) will be holding another free walk to look for birds wintering in Philadelphia. Join TTF this Saturday, February 15 from 10am to 12pm at I St. & Ramona Ave. gateway to Tacony Creek Park.

RSVP by e-mailing Alex Cooper or call 215-744-1853.

Dress warmly and prepare to spot some of Philadelphia’s finest birds!

Birding in Tacony Creek Park!

Have you ever been bird watching?! Well now’s your chance to partake in the exciting experience for free! Don’t miss your chance to see a variety of Philadelphia’s birds, including woodpeckers, chickadees and hawks!

There will be two bird watching events that will take place in Tacony Creek Park (I street and Tacony Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19124) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The first event will be this Saturday, December 7, a “warm up” for the annual international bird census conducted by the Audubon Society!

The second event will take place Saturday, January 11 as a part of the Philadelphia mid-winter Bird Census!

Remember to dress warmly!

Binoculars and delicious treats (donuts and hot chocolate) will be provided.

Marking Storm Drains With TTF and Hackley School!

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc. (TTF) is dedicated to enhancing the health and vitality of the TTF Watershed, including neighborhoods Philadelphia and Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield in Montgomery County. They work with residents, schools, community organizations, environmental advisory councils, businesses and policy makers to build watershed awareness.



On Thursday October 3rd, TTF teamed up with 7th graders from Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY to mark 150 stormwater drains with stickers that say “No Dumping, Drains to River” to help raise awareness in the surrounding neighborhood about where litter goes when it enters the drain. In addition to marking drains, students picked up litter and leftflyers for residents, informing them about watersheds and combined sewer systems.


Representatives from PWD also helped mark drains and brought an interactive model to demonstrate how combined sewers work. Students poured glittered water, representing waste water, into the model home and watched it travel down the pipe, get filtered and returned to the river. However, when they added rain to the streets at the same time as “using water” in the house, they learned that excess stormwater caused the system to overflow, sending diluted waste into the river. After all the fun, everyone wrapped up a day with pretzels and apple cider.

Last TTF Block Party TONIGHT

Tonight the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership will host their final block party! Free water ice and soft pretzels, as well as nature walks, hands-on activities and educational opportunities will be in abundance! The final party will located at the park gateway on Rorer Street and Roosevelt Boulevard from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Be sure to keep an eye for a PWD educator so you can learn first-hand about stormwater runoff! Check out some photos from this month’s past block parties here.

TTF Summer Block Party Series

Our friends at the Tookany-Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership are hosting fun, family-friendly block parties every Wednesday in July from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Join us at each of the new Philadelphia Parks and Recreation gateways in Tacony Creek Park to enjoy FREE soft pretzels, water ice, and giveaways. Explore the creek on a guided walk in the park, and learn about community resources! PWD and other area organizations will host hands-on learning experiences as well as provide information on different projects you can get involved in.

The TTF Watershed Partnership has worked closely with community partners including the Scattergood Foundation and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to design ‘gateways’ to Tacony Creek Park. These areas connect neighborhood residents to the previously underused trails of the park. These trails have been redesigned to allow for maximum interaction between the user and the heavily forested natural area.

See the block party dates and locations below, we hope to see you there!

July 10th - I Street and Ramona Avenue

July 17th - Fisher’s Lane and Ramona Avenue

July 24th - Whitaker Avenue and Loudon Street

July 31st - Rorer Street and Roosevelt Boulevard

For more information about the block parties, please contact Alix Howard of TTF Watershed Partnership at 215-744-1853.

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