Start a New Tradition with the 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest

Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.
Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.

For many who enjoy the ancient pastime and sport of fishing, the passion comes from a place with deep roots in childhood: fishing with a dad or a grandmother, remembering just the right number of times to loop a line for that most steadfast of knots, remembering the little secrets they passed on for luring in the big one, remembering the frenzied excitement of that first catch, forever cherishing the picture snapped after.

On Saturday, September 8, Philly families will have the perfect opportunity to create those memories—even if no one in the family has a lick of fishing know-how.

Now in its 14th year, the catch-and-release Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks in Center City is an event that’s special because it goes out of its way to be open to all, inviting experienced anglers and newcomers alike to see first-hand just how much our scenic Schuylkill River has to offer.

All you have to do is register right here by Sept. 6: if you don’t have your own, bait and rods are loaned on a first-come, first served basis. As our partners, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission will even lift fishing license requirements for that section of the river during Philly Fun Fishing Fest.

Details:

  • Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Awards ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m.
  • Fishing takes place at Schuylkill Banks, 24th and Walnut Streets (see parking and transit info)
  • Rain date is September 22 

Highlights:

  • Free to the public
  • No fishing license required
  • Fishing gear available to borrow
  • Prizes awarded in various categories
  • Meet on Schuylkill Banks
  • Catch-and-release
  • Bring your own snacks & refreshments

Sign Up Deadline Is September 6: 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest Registration

Explore Philly’s Water + Parks Love Story During 'Love Your Park Week'

Adam Levine talks about the history of Upper Roxborough Reservoir and how it became an urban park after serving residents for nearly a century. Credit: PWD
Adam Levine talks about the history of Upper Roxborough Reservoir and how it became an urban park after serving residents for nearly a century during a 2017 Love Your Park event. Credit: PWD

In Philadelphia, parks and water have a love story that is as long as it is rich.

The founders of our beloved Fairmount Park knew that preserving green, natural spaces is a great way to protect water quality in our rivers and creeks. 

Today, we are adding a new layer to that appreciation with Green City, Clean Waters - a program that adds more green to our communities as a way of soaking up stormwater runoff to help our sewer system run more efficiently and reduce overflows that can pollute waterways.

As we have in past years, Philadelphia Water Department staff are joining fellow park advocates for the spring edition of Love Your Park Week events across the city. Spanning May 12-20, Love Your Park is a biannual event that cleans, greens, and celebrates Philly’s parks. A “collaborative partnership among Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Park Friends Network,” the week is packed with cool ways to learn more about the green spaces that make our city great while giving back.   

Events with PWD

Mural, Pocket Park Being Celebrated Earth Day Weekend

Last summer, we joined artist Paul Santoleri and Roxborough and residents for a community painting event that laid the foundation for Watershed, the mural that now overlooks the neighborhood’s newest community green space–Roxborough Pocket Park.

Just in time for Earth Day weekend, Santoleri’s work is finished and will be celebrated with a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 21st. Starting at noon, the “Art Is Life” event also marks the official opening of the park and will feature food trucks, live music, and local artisans.

As sponsors of the mural, we will join Roxborough Development Corporation (RDC) in welcoming Watershed, which draws attention to the green transformation of the once-vacant asphalt lot at 6170 Ridge Ave.

Working alongside Mural Arts Philadelphia and RDC, we commissioned Santoleri–a Roxborough native–to create a piece of art that captured the essence of the new pocket park and the community’s relationship with water. The result was a vibrant blend of history and nature that invites the community and visitors to take a closer look.

Water elements, like the waves and ripples woven into each section of the mural, are reminders of how closely water connects all forms of life. The ball-like mass of water rolling downhill acknowledges Roxborough’s location at the top of a hill. As the divide between the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek, Roxborough feeds into two of Philadelphia’s seven watersheds.

Watershed is located within the Schuylkill watershed. On the opposite side of Ridge Avenue, most of the land drains into the Wissahickon Creek. In addition to Roxborough’s relationship with water, Santoleri pays tribute to the neighborhood’s connection to its past.

The mural includes historic folklore like the Cave of Kelpius, a local cave by the Wissahickon Creek that served as Johannes Kelpuis’ and his followers 1694 escape to wait for the end of the world. The red fox is a nod to those who claim Roxborough got its name from Kelpius’ writings describing the area as “where the fox burrows in the rocks.”

Watershed is also a complement to another exciting feature of the park – its green stormwater infrastructure.

The pocket park contains rain gardens and water-absorbing pavement that capture and filter polluted stormwater runoff before it enters our sewers and waterways. All of the species in the mural – from the red Bee Balm flowers to the red fox – are native to the Schuylkill and Wissahickon watersheds. The red salamander, which stands out thanks to a mosaic of tiles, is featured on PWD’s Wissahickon storm drain markers.

Storm drain markers are a fun reminder that every drain leads to a creek or a river. Philadelphia residents can participate in marking storm drains around their community by ordering a free wildlife marker kit for their specific watershed. You can monitor which drains need marking, check off the drains that you’ve marked, and report damaged or missing markers by using PWD’s storm drain marking app.

We hope to see you on Ridge Avenue! 

What's with the Requested Rate Change? 9 Ways to Learn More, Get Involved

Customers, City Council, Mayor Kenney, and the Water Rate Board were recently informed that we need to raise rates. Increased rates will ensure we have the resources we need to better maintain one of the oldest water systems in the country.

As a part of the process—and to promote transparency—we are holding seven Public Input Hearings across the city. These hearings are held with the Water Rate Board, an independent body created by voters to oversee any rate changes. Any testimony made by residents will become part of the public record.

You can find a list of meeting locations, dates and times on the Rate Board site.

We encourage our customers to get involved in the process by attending a hearing and viewing our detailed breakdown of how rates could change and what they fund, available here.

Did you know? When we request a rate change, we must show that the increase is justified and needed. If the Rate Board thinks we didn’t show we truly need more revenue, they can lower the increase to an amount below what we requested or refuse to raise rates at all.

Where Your Bill Goes: Behind the Scenes
In addition to the Public Input Hearings, we will host two upcoming Water Open House events at two big facilities—the Baxter Water Treatment Plant on the Delaware River and the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

While not part of the official rate-setting process, these events are designed to show you what your water bill helps pay for. Because we are a not-for-profit, cost of service public utility, all the funds that make 24/7 access to clean water possible come from the monthly water bills sent to Philadelphia residents.

Every PWD employee lives in the city, too, and that means our paying customers include the nearly 2,000 people working to ensure our pipes and plants are doing their job, protecting our rivers and bringing top-quality water to homes and businesses around the clock.

The Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant event will take place on Saturday, April 14 and the Baxter event will take place on Saturday, April 21. In addition to the open houses, expert-guided tours will be offered at each plant. Space for the tours is limited, so RSVP now.

Not sure which one you want to see? The April 14 event will show you how we treat wastewater from homes and streets to protect our rivers; the April 21 event at Baxter will show you how we turn raw river water into top-quality tap that meets or beats state and federal quality standards. All Philly residents with a valid ID are welcome at both. 

Those who attend will get a behind the scenes look at everything needed to deliver safe water and protect our rivers.

Participants can also:

  • Hear from Commissioner Debra McCarty, the first woman to lead PWD in its 200-year history.
  • Talk to Water Revenue experts and learn how we help customers save.
  • Meet some of the nation’s most-trusted water quality scientists, plant operators and more.
  • Learn how our city is leading the way with Green City, Clean Waters, America’s first large-scale green stormwater infrastructure program.

RSVP now!

Join Us in Making Germantown's Bringhurst Park Greener


Bringhurst Park has been a community gathering space for decades. Now, the space is getting a revamp to add some green and protect our local waterways. Residents and park users are invited to join us for a talk on April exploring future designs.  

UPDATE: This meeting has been moved from the park to Germantown United CDC, 5320 Germantown Ave., due to high winds and possible rain. The meeting will kick off at 5:30 p.m. as planned. Please bring your ideas!

Thanks to our Green City, Clean Waters program, thousands of green tools like rain gardens and stormwater tree planters across the city soak up tens of millions of gallons of stormwater runoff each time we have a substantial storm.

Germantown is already home to a number of these projects, but many more green stormwater improvements are planned for the neighborhood in the coming years. Dozens of residents came out to learn about plans for these projects and provided input during our October 2017 open house at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center.

As part of ongoing efforts to involve residents in designing these planned green improvements, we are currently working with neighbors and others who use Bringhurst Park, located across the street from the John Wister Elementary School at Bringhurst and Wakefield, to revamp the space and add stormwater management features.

A meeting to discuss the project and collect feedback about possible improvements will be held at the park on Wednesday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m.

In the event of rain or other bad weather, we will meet at the Germantown United Community Development Corporation, located at 5320 Germantown Ave.

Sign up for the Philadelphia Water Department Germantown green projects email list here to be notified if the meeting is moved and to get alerts about other local projects and events.

Calling Changemakers: Follow This AmeriCorps VISTA's Lead

Clockwise from left to right, AmeriCorps VISTA Sam Boden: Speaking with a church elder at Bethesda Presbyterian Church about their green stormwater grant; answering questions about customer assistance programs at a Germantown recreation center; providing information to residents at a City Hall event; presenting to the Block Captain Rally about resources and how to access them.
Clockwise from left to right, AmeriCorps VISTA Sam Boden: Speaking with a church elder at Bethesda Presbyterian Church about their green stormwater grant; answering questions about customer assistance programs at a Germantown recreation center; providing information to residents at a City Hall event; presenting to the Block Captain Rally about resources and how to access them.

By Sam Boden, current VISTA

I jumped into my AmeriCorps VISTA service year with no idea what to expect.

Even though I was provided with a project description and ample training from the city and CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service), I wondered how I would make an impact while working for a municipal water utility.

Little did I know how transformative this experience would be when I applied for the position, which is accepting applications now through April 5.

We’re Wild About ‘Wonders of Water’: Come See PWD at the Flower Show!

Over here at the Philadelphia Water Department, there’s no shortage of people who proudly wear the “water geek” badge, and we’ve also got more than a few proponents of all things green and growing.

So, you can imagine our delight after learning that the theme of the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show would be Wonders of Water.

After all, PWD has been a wonder of the water world from the beginning: our Fairmount Water Works drinking water plant—surrounded by famous gardens with fountains and sculpture—drew curious visitors like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain from around the globe in the 1800s.

Now that the show’s final weekend is upon us, we can say that Wonders of Water has more than lived up to our nerdiest H2O dreams and grandest go-green expectations.

Whether it’s the lush rainforest spilling over with waterfalls or the far-out landscape of giant cacti showcasing flowers that thrive with almost no water at all, each exhibit is an exquisite exploration of the liquid that makes all plant life on Earth possible.

We got so excited for this year’s water theme, we even created an exhibit for visitors to explore—Home Green Home.

It’s a slice of a Philadelphia block transplanted to the Convention Center floor to showcase all the ways in which a local home interacts with water, from a bright flower-filled stormwater bumpout on the curb to the hidden pipes bringing drinking water to the tap and taking used water away.

'Home Green Home' at The Philadelphia Flower Show

There’s lots of signage to provide inside info and each point of interest in the display has a tip to help you protect water, so be sure to stop by and say hello if you’re coming—as long as supplies last, we’ll have Coreopsis seed packets to encourage natural stormwater gardens at home.

PWD will also have iPads where you can share your thoughts about drinking water quality.

The show runs through Sunday, March 11 and is at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets. PWD’s Home Green Home is located just to the right of the PHS Shop beyond the Grand Exhibit.

If you come in through the Marriot gates above the Jefferson Station entrance at 11th and Market, look for a fun cut-out prop where you can pose as Water Woman, PWD’s trash and pollution fighting hydration superhero.

More Water-Geek Goodies
Of course, Home Green Home is not the only cool place to learn about local water issues at the Philadelphia Flower Show: look for more great stuff like Window on the Watershed, a big installation created through the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative and the Alliance for Watershed Education.

At this exhibit, you’ll meet with members of local waterways groups like the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and encounter “ecological lessons and stories of our own complex freshwater system—the Delaware River Watershed.”

There’s also Down the Drain, showcasing landscaping options—many of which you can get funding for through our Rain Check program—that you can use to manage stormwater and make your home more beautiful.

Be sure to check these out too:

The World’s Drinking Water by American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD)
This look at select countries that don’t have access to clean drinking water brings awareness to how precious clean drinking water is and how scarce access is for most people in the world. Countries are represented by intricate designs inspired by beautiful flowers.

Urbanization Meets Naturalization by Mercer County Community College Horticulture Program
In a world where our homes often encroach on nature, we need to find ways to make more sustainable choices. Whether we create more permeable surfaces, harvest and utilize rainwater, or make smarter plant choices, every action is a step towards building a more natural environment in an urban setting.

“…nary a drop to drink…” by U.S. EPA Region III
This exhibit has been designed to highlight the connection between watershed protection and our precious drinking water resources. In addition to instilling beauty, the conservation and enhancement of aquatic ecosystems in our own gardens promotes clean and healthy water, while serving as a sustainable landscaping practice.

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty səˌstānəˈbilədē by W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences
sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty səˌstānəˈbilədē depicts an urban residence with a landscape that is beautiful as well as sustainable. Features of this landscape include the use of rainwater collected in downspouts and rain barrels for plant irrigation and fountain sculptures. Solar panels are incorporated into a green roof gazebo and many novel planters are made from recycled materials. Diverse plants are displayed in the many micro-environments of this landscape from its rain gardens and hydroponic planters to its exposed roof surface.

Would You Drink the Water? by Williamson College of the Trades in partnership with Stroud Water Research Center
The seniors in Williamson College of the Trades Horticulture Program and the scientists at the Stroud Water Research Center hope you are inspired by this exhibit and learn the importance of small streams in the environment.

In this exhibit, we display some of the best management practices for improving water and habitat quality in small streams, which is where pollutants typically enter the waterway.

Forest buffers on streambanks keep pollutants from entering streams and provide leaves as food and shade to keep streams cool. The exhibit shows how riparian buffers play a critical role in improving water quality, providing aquatic and wildlife habitats for many species.

Wanted: West Phila. Students for Watershed Stewardship Training

In a recent talk hosted by the TTF Watershed Partnership, acclaimed author Richard Louv urged Philadelphia parents to make sure their kids are getting enough “Vitamin N”—as in nature.

Making a connection to the wildlife and habitats around us is a life skill that can help our youth fend off stress and “nature deficit disorder,” says Louv.

Thanks to the new Philadelphia Watershed Stewardship program, West Philadelphia youth can get a healthy dose of nature along with valuable life and career skills. There’s even a stipend to sweeten the pot.

Last year, we partnered with the LandHealth Institute—a nonprofit providing environmental education to local teens—to create one of the first youth stewardship programs in the City committed to protecting our watersheds. That first season saw great things happen for the students and for our waterways, so we’re excited to bring in a new team of enthusiastic, passionate stewards to help us do it again this year.

The deadline to apply is Friday, April 6th. Access the application online here.

Those interested in applying should contact Dan Kobza from the LandHealth Institute at daniel@landhealthinstitute.org for more information. Kobza will get a hand in running the program from Dan Schupsky, PWD’s community contact for West Philadelphia Green City, Clean Waters projects.

 

How Stewards Serve

Beginning in late spring, 15 high school students age 15-18 from the West Philadelphia area will work alongside PWD, the LandHealth Institute and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) for 11 weeks.

Students will start out learning how to protect the Darby-Cobbs watershed, which flows through many West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods, with lessons covering topics like ecology, watershed management and stormwater runoff. After the training sessions, students will spend the summer applying the new skills in their communities.

The stewards will train with LandHealth and the Parks and Recreation staff at the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center— the perfect home base for the Watershed Stewards.

As a potent connector that's linked West Philadelphia residents to the natural world for decades, the center provides a familiar local meeting place where Stewards can host community events, a classroom, and place where students can do real work to improve an urban watershed.

Students can earn up to $850 over the course of the program. Those who complete all training sessions will earn $275. An additional $575 can be earned by participating in various events. Being a Watershed Steward will even give students a leg up when applying for jobs and programs like Philadelphia Youth Network and Power Corps PHL.

First Year Highlights

Here’s a sample of some Watershed Stewards activities from the first year:

 

 

In addition to the skills and knowledge they pick up, the program empowers students by connecting them to environmental and civic leaders, mentors, and new friends while immersing them in a side of the city they may not have experienced before.

Don’t just take our word for it—check out the blog posts penned by last year’s stewards!

Who Is a Watershed Steward?

The ideal Watershed Steward is eager to learn and passionate about protecting the environment, our local waterways, and their community—no prior experience is needed.

To apply, students must submit one letter of recommendation along with their application.

Please apply today and share with like-minded friends! If you have any questions, contact Dan Schupsky at Daniel.Schupsky@phila.gov or 215-683-3405.

EXTRA: Read about how we work with the Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center in this Philadelphia Neighborhoods article -