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Streamside Living


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This presentation was presented by the Abington Township Environmental Advisory Council in April 2011.

It discusses Abington's watersheds, non-point source pollution, riparain buffers, native plants, invasive plants, no-mow zones, stream erosion, bank stabilization and stream restoration techniques, stormwater, and rain gardens.

This was funded by a grant from the Water Resources Education Network a program of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund through a Section 319 federal Clean Water Act grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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Streamside Living

  1. 1. Living Streamside A workshop presented by the Abington TownshipEnvironmental Advisory Council (EAC) April 09, 2011
  2. 2. Welcome to Living Streamside Commissioner John Carlin (Ward 15) andthe members of the EAC welcome you!Thank you for doing your part to keep our water clean!
  3. 3. Living StreamsideThis workshop has been funded by a grant fromWater Resources Education Network,a program of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania CitizenEducation Fund through a Section 319 federal Clean Water Actgrant from the Pennsylvania Department of EnvironmentalProtection, administered by the US Environmental ProtectionAgency.
  4. 4. Living StreamsideA special thanks to:  The Roslyn Boys and Girls Club  Our speakers and partners • Delaware Riverkeeper Network • Heritage Conservancy • NAM Planning and Design, LLC • Philadelphia Water Department
  5. 5. Abington EAC – Upcoming Events Earth “Day” Cleanups  Cleveland Avenue near Roychester Park • Saturday, April 16th 9:00am  Rubicam Park • Saturday April 23rd 11:00am  Keswick Avenue Underpass • Saturday April 30th 9:00am Crestmont Park
  6. 6. Abington EAC – Upcoming Events Arbor Day Celebration at Ethel Jordan Park  April 30th 10:00am  Park cleanup and tree planting  Tree City USA award presentation Jackson Park, 2009
  7. 7. Abington EAC – Upcoming Rain Barrel Art Contest  Submit a photo of your decorated rain barrel by April 30th Montgomery Award  Nominations for your Abington environmental hero due April 30th Rain barrel by Iris Innis
  8. 8. Abington EAC Learn more about the EAC, upcoming events and ways you can help Abington “Go Green”   Roslyn Park, 2010
  9. 9. Why Should I be Concerned?  Rivers and streams are a major source of drinking water.  Water is affected by what you do on the land  Residential neighborhoods can be major source of pollution  Individuals can make a difference  Unstable stream banks  Loss of property  Loss of habitat
  10. 10. Water Resources 101
  11. 11. What is a Watershed?AWatershedis an areaof landthat drainsto a singleoutlet.
  12. 12. Abington Township Watersheds Pennypack Creek (Ogontz Campus) Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek (AHS) Wissahickon Creek (Briar Bush)
  13. 13. Pennypack Creek Watershed56.5 Square MilesDrains into the Delaware RiverImage from Philadelphia
  14. 14. Tookany/Tacony-FrankfordCreek Watershed38.7 Square Miles – Drains intothe Delaware RiverImage from Philadelphia WaterDepartment:
  15. 15. Wissahickon Creek Watershed63.8 square miles – drains intothe Schuylkill RiverImage from Philadelphia WaterDepartment:
  16. 16. Wissahickon Watershed
  17. 17. Non-Point Source Pollution Basics
  18. 18. “Old” Efforts Focused on Point Sources of Water PollutionPhotos used with permission from various member programs of the National NEMO Network and Network Hub.
  19. 19. Polluted Runoff isthe #1 Water QualityProblem in the U.S.* * USEPA
  20. 20. Development Impacts on the Water Cycle10% 50% 55% 15% © University of Connecticut. Adapted with permission from the University of Connecticut.
  21. 21. The Effects of Urbanization Trout Brook?!! © University of Connecticut. Adapted with permission from the University of Connecticut.
  22. 22. Improving Watershed Health – What Can You Do At Home??
  23. 23. What is a Riparian Buffer? An area of vegetation that is maintained along the shore of a water body to protect stream channels and banks.
  24. 24. Where Found Permanent or Intermittent Streams Lakes and Ponds Wetlands Seeps In your backyard !
  25. 25. Types of Buffers Forested Wetland Meadow
  26. 26. Forested Buffer is most effective Healthy forest community  shade from canopy trees  nutrient uptake, especially from younger trees  nutrient processing from soil microbes  erosion control from root systems
  27. 27. ….even a thin forested buffer adds value  shade for the stream  aesthetics  some WQ improvements
  28. 28. Buffer Benefits Help Stabilize Streambanks Buffer Against Pollution Impacts Help reduce flood related damage to property by slowing runoff Can provide seasonal blooms and autumn color
  29. 29. Lawns Don’t Make Good Buffers  Shallow roots do little to prevent erosion  Short grasses have minor effect on run-off velocity  Geese love grass  No habitat value  Can deliver lawn chemicals directly to stream
  30. 30. Can you find the typical lawn grass root system?…. Native Plant Guide for Streams and Stormwater Facilities in Northeastern Illinois by the USDA NRCS Chicago Metro Urban & Community Assistance Office
  31. 31. Lawns don’t infiltrate water well Infiltration Rates 20 Infiltration (inches/hour) 15 10 5 0 Forest Old Logging Lawn Pavement Road
  32. 32. Lawn and Garden Care - Fertilizing Use fertilizers sparingly – follow directions Don’t fertilize before a rainstorm Consider using organic fertilizers (releases nutrients more slowly) Use commercially available compost or make your own (reduces need for fertilizer)
  33. 33. Lawn and Garden Care - Fertilizing Let your grass clippings lay! Wash your spreader equipment on a pervious surface Never apply fertilizer to frozen ground or dormant lawns. Maintain buffer strip of unmowed native vegetation bordering waterways Grow an organic garden!
  34. 34. Buffer Issues and Misuses
  35. 35. Issues with Vegetated Buffers Landowner misuses Unkempt appearance Crime / Illegal use Critters
  36. 36. Landowner abuses Dumping yard waste  many think natural materials don’t hurt stream  nutrients, lawn chemicals and solids Mowing to edge of stream  grass has shallow root system that doesn’t hold soil  grass doesn’t maintain sheet flow
  37. 37. Public concerns about vectors associated with buffers Potential Vector Health Risk rats & mice various geese fecal coliform deer Lyme disease mosquitoes West Nile Virus other wildlife rabies
  38. 38. Realities Rats and mice are attracted to trash not riparian vegetation Riparian vegetation discourages geese using area to enter and leave water  less grass = less grazing Increased deer population will increase risk of Lyme disease  Check for ticks when you come in  Consider establishing a mowed path
  39. 39. More realities Mosquitoes need standing water to breed  healthy stream ecosystem increases predation by dragonflies, bats and songbirds Nuisance wildlife and rabies concerns  municipality has a responsive nuisance wildlife procedure to protect public health and allay concerns
  40. 40. Why to Go Wild with the Natives Low maintenance The birds and the bees (and more!!) Heritage
  41. 41. Natives are pretty!!PA has a wide variety of natives Redbud photo by Road Fun
  42. 42. Native Trees and Shrubs for Streamside Buffers  Wettest Areas  Sycamore  River birch  Drier  Alder species  Sweet pepperbush  Silky dogwood  Chokeberry  Willow Species  Viburnum species  Elderberry  Sweet gum  American hornbeam  Tulip tree  Periodically Flooded  Red and Black  Red maple Chokeberry`  Swamp white oak  Redbud  Black gum  Flowering dogwood  Green ash  Sweetbay magnolia  Winterberry  Virginia sweetspire Photo by Road Fun
  43. 43. No Mow Establishment How wide?  Goal 50’ but 15’ will help Establishment  Remove turf and invasives  Seed with native mix  Set clear mowing boundaries Maintenance  Monitor and control Little Crum Creek invasive plants Photo courtesy of Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association  “Mow” once in February  Cut no shorter than 6”
  44. 44. Celandine Garlic mustard
  45. 45. Multiflora rose / Honeysuckle Japanese hops
  46. 46. /Oriental bittersweet Mile-a-minute weed / Tree of heaven
  47. 47. Japanese Knotweed Control early!!Photos from:
  48. 48. Common Garden Escapees to Avoid Herbaceous  English ivy  Pachysandra  Periwinkle  Wisteria  Bamboo Shrub  Burning bush  Privet Trees  Norway maple  Princess tree  Callery pear  Autumn or Russian Olive
  49. 49. Stream Bank and Channel ErosionWhy do we care? Property loss Sediment is a pollutant Decreased habitat Crum Creek, Chester County, PA
  50. 50. Fixed It ? Valley Creek, Chester County, PAPine Run, Montgomery County,PA
  51. 51. All photos Sandy Run in Abington, PA
  52. 52. Bank Stabilization Solution versus Band-Aid BEWARE: Streams are a dynamic, interconnected system Consult a professional Permits may be needed from: US Army Corps of Engineers, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County Conservation District, local municipality
  53. 53. Soil Bioengineering Photos from NRCS© 2004 Salix Applied Earthcare
  54. 54. Bank Grading Valley Creek, PA Stony Creek, PA
  55. 55. Instream Structures Perkiomen Creek, PA Nevada Creek, MTPhoto by Beth Porter,
  56. 56. Instream StructuresSprogels Run, PA Darby Creek, PAManatawny Creek, PA Darby Creek, PA Darby Creek, PA
  57. 57. No Permit Required Buffer planting No-mow Tree removal Live stakes Erosion control blankets
  58. 58. Permit Required Bank grading Gravel removal Tree revetment Placement of rock or other material along the channel bank Instream structures Bridge construction
  59. 59. Stormwater 101 Photo courtesy of thirteen of clubs
  60. 60. Stormwater Runoff from roads, houses, parking lots, lawns, etc. Impervious surfaces increase volume and rate of runoff Carries pathogens, nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants to our water
  61. 61. Stormwater can cause floodingPhoto: Schuylkill River by
  62. 62. Stormwater can cause erosionRoychester Park, Abington, PA
  63. 63. How to Manage Stormwater Slow down and infiltrate Keep it clean  Pick up pet waste  Maintain your vehicle  Clean up spills  Use pesticides and fertilizers correctly
  64. 64. Stormwater Management Slow down and infiltrate – make an asset Direct into gently sloped vegetated areas Protect existing vegetation Vegetate open areas Porous pavement Infiltration trenches Green (vegetated) roofs Native “yard” in Wayne, PA
  65. 65. Stormwater Management Rain BarrelsSouthampton Township, PA Abington Township, PA
  66. 66. Stormwater Management Rain GardensPhotos from Roslyn Park in AbingtonTownship, PA
  67. 67. Backyard Buffer Program Abington Township Environmental Advisory Council April 9, 2011 69
  68. 68. Backyard Buffer Program Website 70
  69. 69. What is a Backyard Buffer? 71Source: “Conservation Buffers” USDA General Technical Report SRS 109
  70. 70. 72Source: Philly H2O The History of Philadelphias Watersheds and Sewers
  71. 71. 73
  72. 72. Backyard Buffer Program Tip Sheets 74
  73. 73. Saint Christopher School Lawns to Meadow (No-Mow Zone Tip Sheet #1) 75
  74. 74. Green Lawn Basics (Tip Sheet #2) General lawn care practicesPromote less maintenance & cleaner environment. Native Plants of Pennsylvania (Tip Sheet #3) Native Plant Sources 76
  75. 75. Tree & Shrub Planting Basics (Tip Sheet #4) Invasive Species Removal (English Ivy) Picture source: “How to Plant a Tree”. Joseph Truini. This Old House Magazine. 77
  76. 76. Composting (Tip Sheet #5) Rain Barrel(Tip Sheet #6) 78
  77. 77. Rain Gardens A planted shallow depression designed to catch & filter rainfall runoff. Ponding Berm with Depth 6-12” Level Base Illustration: adapted from Oregon Environmental CouncilPhoto: "Rain Gardens A How-to Manual for Homeowners“University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 79
  78. 78. Roslyn Park Rain Garden & Infiltration Trench Design Sandy Run 80
  79. 79. Roslyn Park Rain Garden & Infiltration Trench Design Outlet Pipe to Sandy Run New (~2008) Parking LotPreviously Existing Catchment Basin 81
  80. 80. 82
  81. 81. 83
  82. 82. Installation September 2008 84
  83. 83. 85
  84. 84. 86
  85. 85. 87
  86. 86. 1.5 inch precipitation January 25, 2010 88
  87. 87. January 27, 2010 (48 hours post event) 89
  88. 88. Backyard Buffer Program Website 90
  89. 89. So Now What?!?? Keep a buffer between your yard and the stream (the wider and denser the better) Embrace the natives Visually monitor your stream (regularly and following storms) Walk your property during a storm Manage stormwater Practice good habitats
  90. 90. And Then What?? Enjoyyour creek and know that you are helping keep Philadelphia’s water clean
  91. 91. QUESTIONS?Turn in your survey as you leave. THANK YOU!