Venice Island Groundbreaking

Photo: Matthew Grady/for NewsWorks

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Nutter and other city officials (pictured above) dug in and broke ground on Venice Island in Manayunk, the site of a $46 million project whose main component is a large underground storage basin that will prevent stormwater runoff from entering the Schuylkill River. While Venice Island's "Big Tank" is the star attraction from an infrastructure standpoint (the basin can store nearly 4 million gallons of water), the initiation of a host of other projects in and around Manayunk—from trail improvements and murals to stormwater management projects—were also celebrated.

From WHYY's NewsWorks article:

"Joanne Dahme, Public Affairs Manager for PWD, discussed the intent of the Venice Island project, saying that while the thrust of the project is 'all about protecting the water for residents of the city,' she was quick to point out potential for recreation at the site.

'There are incredible recreational opportunities here,' said Dahme, adding that she envisions the river becoming increasingly "fishable, swimmable, and drinkable.'"

In addition to the underground basin, the Philadelphia Water Department is also overseeing construction of a pump house on Venice Island with a green roof and is undertaking improvements to the Manayunk Canal. Stay tuned for more details on those projects. For additional information on Venice Island and to sign up for e-mail updates, visit our Venice Island page.

Sunday: Hidden River Expedition Lecture

Back in August, we followed author and artist Allen Crawford (a.k.a. Lord Whimsy) as he undertook his Hidden River Expedition, a 40-mile, three-day kayak trip from Mt. Holly, NJ, to Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia. Crawford blogged, photographed and recorded audio from his trip along the Rancocas, Delaware and Schuylkill rivers; join him on Sunday, October 30 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Bartram's Garden for a lecture on his "re-exploration" of urban waterways and the history of Philadelphia's rivers. More info here.

Philadelphia Hosts CitiesAlive Conference Nov. 30 - Dec. 3

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Philadelphia will host the 2011 CitiesAlive conference from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3; the event brings together members of the green roof and green wall industry for workshops, meetings and tours. They're coming to the right place—the Philadelphia Water Department's Green City, Clean Waters plan will devote billions of dollars over the next 25 years to green infrastructure that reduces the urban heat island effect, improves our waterways and saves money. Be sure to check out PWD's demonstration project, the green roof bus shelter at 15th and Market. Watch the welcome video:

Registration is now open. At this time, we cannot confirm whether the entire conference will be soundtracked by upbeat piano jazz.

Tonight: Clean Water Is Good Business

The green roof on PECO's building in Center City (pictured above) is certainly one way that businesses practice good stormwater management. But you don't have to be PECO to help keep Philly's water clean. Even the smallest businesses can find ways to manage stormwater and save money while showing their customers their commitment to sustainability. Join the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership tonight, October 20, from 7-8 p.m. for a free workshop. Good Business Practices for Clean Water will show you how to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution with simple housekeeping tips (protecting storm drains, vehicle washing, winter de-icing) and green practices (rain barrels, container gardens, tree planting).

The workshop will be held at the Rowland Community Center, 400 Mytrle Ave., in Cheltenham. Contact Dottie Baumgarten ( for more information. Also, see our Businesses section for tips and guidelines for managing stormwater on your business property.

Scenes from the Fishing Fest!

Schulykill River

As they say, good things come to those who wade! After two rain checks,
the Philly Fun Fishing Fest turned out to be the perfect day to enjoy
the Schuylkill Banks. So while it wasn't raining cats and dogs, it was
CATFISH crazy! The biggest caught was a Channel Catfish, measuring 24
inches. Thanks to our sponsors and partners, Philadelphia Parks and
Recreation, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, PA Fish and Boat
Commission, Plano and Dick's Sporting Goods for making it a great event
with fabulous prizes.

angler 12

Angler 23


More of our photos after the jump, and view photos from Schuylkill Banks here!

New Date for the Fishing Fest: October 8

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Third time's a charm: The rescheduled date for the 2011 Philly Fun Fishing Fest is Saturday, October 8. Same time and place: 7-11 a.m. on the Schuylkill Banks. And since we went to all the trouble of making it, here's the trailer again for the Fishing Fest:

From The Archives: Seals at the Fairmount Aquarium, 1924

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In case you missed last week's presentation at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (From Turbines To Tanks, a history of the Fairmount Aquarium by guest speaker Samantha Muka), here's hard evidence that seals were once among the residents of the Water Works. This image is a still taken from a 1924 home movie screened at the lecture, part of the Interpretive Center's monthly Schuylkill Soundings events.

Notes From The LID Symposium

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The Philadelphia Low Impact Development Symposium kicked off yesterday with a keynote presentation by Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard Neukrug; the speech focused on Philly's green infrastructure, its relationship to recent flooding conditions, and PWD's focus on helping low-income customers manage stormwater. Low Impact Development (LID) is a planning and engineering design approach to managing runoff with small-scale, natural solutions such as green roofs and porous paving.

And not to be Bragadelphia about things (especially in light of the preceding post's shower of praise from Time magazine), but throughout presentations and workshops at the LID Symposium—which features speakers and attendees from around the world—Philadelphia was commonly the point of comparison for other cities' green infrastructure endeavors.

Update: From Creek To Sewer Lecture Postponed

Tonight's scheduled lecture has been postponed. Rescheduled date will be announced soon.

As you walk on many of Philadelphia’s sidewalks, beneath your feet is a hidden world of streams that once crisscrossed the city. Join us tomorrow night, Tuesday September 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Meadowood Retirement Community in Worcester for a free, fascinating illustrated lecture that will uncover part of Philadelphia’s history that few people ever think about: the drastic changes made in Philadelphia’s landscape since its founding in 1682. Historian and archivist Adam Levine (pictured sewer-spelunking, above) has been digging into the history of the city’s sewers and drainage systems since 1998, and his talk will focus on the systematic obliteration of hundreds of miles of surface streams. Buried deep underground in pipes as large as 20 feet in diameter, these former streams—some of which had watersheds that covered thousands of acres—became main drainage arteries in the city’s 3,000-mile sewer system. These massive alterations to the landscape, undertaken over two centuries, have environmental repercussions that are still being felt today. This lecture is guaranteed to reveal a side of the Philadelphia you have never seen, and change the way you think about cities in general.

Fishing Fest Postponed...Again

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Sorry, folks—the 2011 Philly Fun Fishing Fest has again been postponed due to rain. Make-up date to be determined; we'll post rescheduling information as soon as we can.

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