Waterways Restoration Team

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:

Cobbs Cleanup Gets an Assist from Sixers and Philly School Students

Over 100 volunteers from the Philadelphia 76ers, Tilden Middle School and Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery joined Philadelphia Water and Untied By Blue for a Sept. 16 cleanup targeting Cobbs Creek and the surrounding woods. The cleanup was the latest in a series of volunteer events that kicked off this spring and have seen hundreds and hundreds of residents taking on trash in and along local waterways.

Mount Moriah Clean Up Sept 2016 (2)

The day started off with our Waterways Restoration Team (WRT) removing a giant granite orb that had rolled from the cemetery into the Cobbs. This epic feat, achieved with the use of a small bulldozer, had Friends of Mount Moriah President Paulette Rhone very excited—she said the eyesore had been sitting in creek for as long as she could remember:

Philadelphia Water, On the Water: Boats a Powerful Tool in Fight Against Litter

Left to Right: Lance Butler, Dimitri Forte, Declan Patterson, and Richard Anthes. Philadelphia Water’s Watersheds Field Services Group deploys a fleet of three small boats to reach trash in waterways that others can’t. Credit: Brian Rademaekers.
Left to Right: Lance Butler, Dimitri Forte, Declan Patterson, and Richard Anthes. Philadelphia Water’s Watersheds Field Services Group deploys a fleet of three small boats to reach trash in waterways that others can’t. Credit: Brian Rademaekers.   

During a typical litter-hunting trip in early June, Philadelphia Water’s Lance Butler was operating the department’s new 20-foot workboat along the banks of the Schuylkill River just below the Fairmount Water Works. Edging the bow of the craft just close enough to the rocky embankment, Butler made it possible for his three crew members to scoop up the otherwise unreachable trash that peppered the water and shoreline.

This was the workboat’s maiden voyage, and it was already proving to be an invaluable tool in the department’s fight against floating litter.

The activity attracted the attention of a young man sitting on a nearby bench. Within a few minutes, he approached the boat and asked Butler a question—could he have a trash bag?

“What for?” Butler asked.

“To pick up trash,” the man replied. “It’s such a beautiful park.”

An hour later, Butler and his crew—referred to within department as the “Watersheds Field Services Group,” and, less formally, as “the skimming guys”—were on the opposite side of the river, their boat growing ever-more crowded with bags containing the typical flotsam of plastic bottles and bags, Styrofoam cups and other debris that had washed into the breathtaking waters below Fairmount Dam.

On the other side of the river, the spontaneous volunteer was still at it, his bag of litter now bulging to the point of overflowing.

“That guy,” Butler said, “is amazing.”

Community Meeting: Gorgas Run Restoration

Our Waterways Restoration team is holding an important meeting on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. about efforts to improve Gorgas Run in Roxborough-Manayunk this weekend. Please find the community meeting invite and a fact sheet about the project below (click each for a larger image). We'll be posting more about this big project here in the future, so stay tuned.

 

Restoration Team to Be Toasted at 'Watershed Milestones'

A car rests in a stream in the city's Northeast. Credit: Waterways Restoration Team,
A car rests in a stream in the city's Northeast. Credit: Waterways Restoration Team,

Ever see some serious trash—we’re talking tires, shopping carts, and yes, even cars—in a stream and wonder who on earth will ever have the muscle to get it out? That would be Philadelphia Water’s Waterways Restoration Team (WRT), a hard working branch of the department that takes on the aforementioned litter and does things like restore creek banks that have been degraded by erosion. 

It’s important work that doesn’t just restore the beauty of our waterways, but helps to preserve the quality of the water we drink. The Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTFWP), an important group in our watershed stewardship efforts, is honoring the Waterways Restoration Team with their “Municipal Leader Award” at an event marking their 10th anniversary tonight.

Dubbed “Watershed Milestones,” the celebration will feature Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug and pays tribute to the various groups and people who have worked to improve and preserve the quality of the watershed’s 30 square miles beginning in Montgomery County and ending at the base of the Betsy Ross Bridge on the Delaware. In addition to regular volunteer cleanups that complement WRT work, TTFWP has helped Philadelphia Water to conduct litter studies, done important work to document and seed freshwater mussels in the creek, and organizes Tacony Creek Park nature walks, to name just a few of their activities.

Those who wish to support the group can get tickets for the event, to be held at the Globe Dye Works building in the Frankford neighborhood starting at 5:30 p.m., by clicking here. Proceeds will go toward outreach, education, and restoration efforts. Those who get tickets online can save $10 off the door charge.

Congratulations to TTF Watershed for 10 years of amazing work! 

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