Watershed Projects

The Watershed Specialist at Montgomery County Conservation District works to prioritize and implement projects to protect and improve water quality in the county.  Here are some examples of completed projects.  Click here for a map of all project locations.

 

Stream Restoration

Hunsberger Woods
In 2014, Montgomery County Conservation District, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Ursinus College, and Collegeville Borough, stabilized a 250-foot section of stream bank in the borough’s preserved natural area, Hunsberger Woods.  This work was part of a larger watershed stewardship and education project in Hunsberger Woods, which also saw the installation of a 2-acre meadow, 4 rain gardens, and 400 trees with grant funding through the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund and the TreeVitalize Watersheds program.

The stream bank stabilization work occurred on a sharp bend of a tributary to Perkiomen Creek to address severe bank erosion threatening water quality.  Root wads, mud sills, and a log vane deflector were installed following PA Fish and Boat Commission designs.  Then, a gravel and sediment bar was removed from along the opposite bank, and the banks were both re-graded and seeded with a native riparian mix.  Approximately 43 tons of rock, 27 pounds of seed and 10 root wads and logs were used to complete the project, which has stabilized nicely and continues to protect the Perkiomen Creek from further sediment pollution.

Bank Stabilization-2

Natural bank stabilization and fish habitat structures right after being installed at Hunsberger Woods.

For more information about stream restoration practices and fish habitat improvement from the PA Fish and Boat Commission, click here.

Norristown Farm Park

In 2006, MCCD stabilized a section of streambank next to the High Arch bridge abutment along Kepner Creek.  Pre-seeded compost socks were used to form a living wall, and 200 dogwood live stakes were planted to stabilize the bank.  This project was funded through a Schuylkill Watershed Initiative Grant.

Stormwater Management

Perkiomen Stormwater Demonstration Project

MCCD worked with Perkiomen Township in 2016 to create a stormwater treatment train on Township property 800 feet from the Perkiomen Creek.  The BMPs in series include a retrofitted basin, a 3000-square-foot rain garden, and two vegetated swales.  The project decreased runoff by 25%, and provides longer treatment time for improved water quality.  With a 1-inch storm, the rain garden alone handles more than 8000 gallons of water!

The project was constructed by the Township Roads Crew, led by the District Watershed Specialist and Engineer.  MCCD worked with students from Perkiomen Valley High School to create the landscaping plan for the garden and to install all the plantings.  The students have received a Schuylkill Scholastic Drinking Water Award and a Perkiomen Watershed- Kids Making a Difference Award for their efforts.  Various tours of the project have been held, and the site will continue to be used to educate residents about effective stormwater management.

Financial and other support for this project was provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The rain garden was also awarded a grant through the PECO Green Region Open Space Program.  The project was also funded by Exelon Corp. through the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund and the Delaware River Basin Commission.

Jenkintown Creek Watershed Improvements

MCCD received a 2011 Growing Greener grant from DEP to improve stormwater and manure management on the Sisters of St. Basil the Great property in Jenkintown.  In 2013, a 1-acre woodland was restored with ground cover and 85 understory trees, a 2500-gal cistern was installed, and roof gutters were attached to the horse barn to divert water away from the heavy use area.  In 2015, a stormwater basin and two infiltration trenches were constructed, along with two stormwater swales and a broad based dip in a gravel road.  MCCD created a written manure management plan for the horse operation, a vegetated filter area was established downslope from the heavy use area, and permanent, electric fencing was installed around all pasture BMPs to prevent animal access.

Plymouth Metroplex

In 2007, MCCD naturalized an 8-acre stormwater basin along Plymouth Creek.  With funding from TreeVitalize Watersheds, 400 trees and shrubs were planted.  In 2010, two sediment forebays were installed, and the stream banks were further stabilized with live stakes; this work was funded through Growing Greener.

Mary, Mother of the Redeemer

In 2008, MCCD utilized Growing Greener funding to retrofit and naturalize a stormwater basin, eliminating a concrete low-flow channel.  TreeVitalize funding was also used to remove invasive plants and restore the riparian buffer along both banks of a 500-foot stretch of Little Neshaminy Creek headwaters.  Some trees were also planted in a wetland area to increase biodiversity.  The buffer and wetland enhancements included 203 trees, 342 shrubs, and 150 live stakes.  Funding from Rohm and Haas was used to purchase monitoring equipment for the students and parishioners to study water quality in the creek and wetlands, and to monitor flow in and out of the basin.

Schuylkill Action Students

The Schuylkill Action Students initiative of the Schuylkill Action Network, coordinated by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, fosters partnerships with schools to implement innovative stormwater management practices.  Since schools own a lot of streamside property, by improving their facilities, we can have a great impact on the watershed while educating students through participation in the project.

Pottsgrove High School

MCCD provided technical assistance to the school 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.

Christopher Dock

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.  The rain garden will filter polluted runoff, recharge local groundwater, and improve the quality of water entering a headwater tributary to Skippack Creek, which is impaired for sediment and phosphorus.  The project was funded through a grant from the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund and is part of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary’s Schuylkill Action Students initiative to partner with schools to implement   Dock senior, Aaron Guttenplan, completed his Eagle Scout project installing the rain garden, and volunteers from his school community and scout troop planted over 150 native trees, shrubs and perennials selected to aid rain garden function and attract wildlife.

East Norriton Middle School

In 2011, an acre of turf grass was converted to meadow, and 200 riparian buffer trees were planted along Stony Creek with TreeVitalize funding.  In 2013, a streambank stabilization, bioswale, basin naturalization, and rain garden were completed with funding from the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund.

 

For more information, contact the Watershed Specialist, Krista Scheirer, at x15 or kscheirer@montgomeryconservation.org.

Mission Statement
To protect and improve the quality of life of the residents of Montgomery County and surrounding communities by providing, in cooperation with others, timely and efficient service, education, and technical guidance, for the wise use of our soil, water, and related resources.