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The Wissahickon at Harper's Meadow

Water Stewardship

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

After the Wissahickon Creek’s humble beginnings, with headwaters found in a parking lot at the Montgomeryville Mall, its far-reaching flow continues through twelve municipalities to the confluence of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, where it eventually joins the Delaware River. The Wissahickon Creek impacts everyone in the watershed, with wildlife that relies on the habitat of the Wissahickon, recreational opportunities like running on the Green Ribbon Trail, and at times challenging flooding damages. As everything flows downstream, the impact of the Wissahickon does not end once it joins the Schuylkill. In fact, approximately 10% of Philadelphians drink water supplied by the Wissahickon Creek.

Just as the Wissahickon affects all of us living in the watershed, the Creek is impacted by nearly everything we do on the land. Over time, development and increased impervious cover on the land have damaged the Creek by causing more flooding, and increasing the amount of nutrients and sediment entering the Creek. The land and water are so intricately connected that everything we do on the land eventually makes its way into the water.

Protecting the Wissahickon Creek is fundamental to the WVWA’s mission, but in order to protect the Creek, the WVWA must know the causes and changes in the Creek over time. The WVWA began its Stream Monitoring and Assessment Program (Stream MAP) in 2004, expanded the program in 2011, and is undergoing another expansion in 2014 with financial support by the William Penn Foundation. The WVWA is the only organization that has maintained long term monitoring throughout the entire Wissahickon Watershed.

Through Stream MAP, the WVWA extensively monitors the water quality, habitat, and aquatic invertebrate – or insect - communities in the Wissahickon Creek. The WVWA’s rigorous monitoring of the stream allows the WVWA to identify problem areas in the watershed, trends in water quality, and to measure the results from restoration projects. This program allows the WVWA to make informed decisions for improving the water quality and aquatic habitat of the Wissahickon—showing WVWA members that their membership and support are truly making a difference in protecting the Wissahickon Creek!

For more information Contact Lindsay Blanton at 215-646-8866 or lindsay@wvwa.org.