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Integrated Watershed Approach to Restoring the Tacony Creek Valley in Philadelphia

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The City of Philadelphia Water Department and Stantec Consulting Services Inc. are taking a progressive, integrated watershed approach to restoring the Tacony Creek Valley. The centerpiece of the restoration project is Tacony Creek. The creek receives frequent combined sewer overflows (CSO's), untreated storm sewer discharges (the watershed is approximately 56% impervious) and has been subject to extensive anthropogenic modifications like many urban watercourses in older United States cities. Tacony Creek's impairments can be broken into three primary categories:

Chemical Pollution;

Biological Impairments; and

Geomorphic Instabilities.

Additionally, the Tacony Creek Park, which occupies much of the valley, is underutilized and unappealing. So, the focus on ecosystem restoration goes beyond improving the water quality and habitat to include social and economic benefits through enhancing the park user's experiences by drawing them to the improved water resource. The potential of the Tacony Creek Valley is high and will be realized when progressive improvements are made. Improvements include low-dam removal, stream and habitat restoration using natural channel design, bank stabilization, wetland and wetland habitat creation, and park open space enhancements. The people of Philadelphia will enjoy a higher quality of life when the surface waters are healthy and the Tacony Creek is the heart of a vibrant surrounding park system.

Keywords: Ecosystem Restoration; Green Infrasturcture; Habitat Restoration; Natural Channel Design Stream Restoration; Open Space and Park Planning; Treatment Wetlands; Vision and Master Planning; Water Quality Improvement

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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