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Protect Our Creek

The Wissahickon Creek is the gem of our community; an important natural resource and a space for recreation in our suburban landscape.  It is, for many, a place to commune with nature and revel in the landscapes that once covered our region.

As a community who cherishes and enjoys the Wissahickon Creek, we always wonder if there is more we could be doing to protect it. The health and vitality of every stream is inherently tied to the surrounding land, and how we use our land directly impacts the Wissahickon Creek. Luckily, there are many ways we can reduce our human impact on the Creek and, over time, return it to its former glory. Here are some simple tips for protecting the Wissahickon that you can start doing today!

Use Fewer Pesticides and Fertilizers: Pesticides and fertilizers can impact the stream in a profoundly negative way, such as harming insects important for the stream eco-system and encouraging large algal blooms that choke the Creek. Reducing or eliminating these chemicals altogether ensures they’ll stay out of the Wissahickon! Read more about Native Plants which have adapted to local conditions and don't require chemicals.

Don’t Dump Leaves or Yard Waste: Never dump leaves and yard clippings in the stream, or even into the street where they can wash into storm drains. Yard waste contributes loads of nutrients to the water, which can encourage algae growth. Consider bagging your leaves for pick up or composting instead, recycling nutrients back through your garden.

Incorporate Stormwater Management Practices: Install a rain barrel or rain garden at your home to be part of the stormwater solution. Rain gardens and barrels help to filter, evaporate or re-use stormwater to prevent flash flooding in urban and suburban areas with high impervious cover. Keep your stormwater out of the storm drain and use it on your land instead.  Read more about Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels.

Protect and Restore Natural Stream Buffers: Stream buffers are the trees, shrubs and vegetation that line a stream, and they are the Wissahickon Creek’s last defense in slowing down and filtering stormwater that flows to the creek. Make sure stream buffers are intact and healthy, and never mow all the way up to the stream!  

Pick Up After Your Pets: Pet waste contains bacteria that can be harmful to people using the creek for recreation. Pet waste also contains nitrogen, which can promote algae growth downstream. Make sure you always pick up after your pets, especially if walking near a body of water!

Dispose of Chemicals Properly: Many household and automotive products we use can be hazardous or toxic to stream life. Be sure to dispose of used car oil, household cleaners and other products properly.  Find the hazardous waste recycling events in Montgomery County.

Don’t Wash Your Car on Your Driveway: Washing your car in the driveway can lead to harsh detergents and residues flowing down your street and into the storm drain, harming sensitive stream ecology. Instead, consider washing your car on the grass, where chemicals can be absorbed by your lawn, or consider an eco-friendly car wash!

Be Conscious of Litter: High traffic recreation areas may be susceptible to accumulating litter. Be sure to carry out everything you bring into parks and hiking corridors to protect our stream.

Plant Native Trees and Shrubs: Native plants are adapted to local conditions and often don’t require extra watering, fertilizers, and pesticides to thrive. They also provide habitat for birds, insects, and other local wildlife!  Read more about Native Plants.

Support the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association: The WVWA works hard to educate and promote best watershed practices that will protect and maintain the health of the Wissahickon Creek. Become a member today, and be part of the solution! Donate online today!