watershed stewardship

PSA from Your Dog: Smart Deicing Tips to Protect the Environment and Pets

Did you know using too much salt and other ice-melting chemicals can hurt pet paws? Smart use of deicing products can also help minimize impacts on our watersheds.
Did you know using too much salt and other ice-melting chemicals can hurt pet paws? Smart use of deicing products can also help minimize impacts on our watersheds.

If you're the kind of person who thinks about the health of our urban watersheds, you've probably wondered if using too much salt on driveways and sidewalks can hurt Philly's rivers and creeks.

As snow piles up in the winter, we often turn to salt or other solutions to melt snow and ice as an important public safety measure that saves lives on our roadways every year.

Still, it's important to know that all deicers can be harmful to our water supply, the environment and even pets when overused. The best strategy is to read the labels and use as directed only when needed.

High concentrations of salt can damage and kill vegetation and harm freshwater ecosystems and fish. Excess salt can also seep into the ground and destroy soil structure, which can lead to erosion and further pollute waterways.

And, those heaps of caustic rock salt on sidewalks can also irritate sensitive pet paws, making a winter wonderland walk post-snowstorm much less fun for dogs like Shorty, seen at top.

Giving Tuesday: Support Watershed Stewardship in Philly!


These Philly kids are learning to be Delaware River stewards through the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory RiverGuides program. Credit: Alan Brian Nilsen/ABN photography

We believe that people who have an intimate connection to their local watershed are more likely to get involved in efforts to guard and improve that watershed.

Spend a day canoeing on the Schuylkill River, fishing for striped bass on the Delaware, seeding freshwater mussels on the Tacony Creek or birding along the Wissahickon, and you’ll come away with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to protecting these invaluable resources.

Across the city and region, there are dedicated organizations and institutions working to build those connections through increased recreational access to our riverfronts, through environmental education that underscores the vital role healthy watersheds play in vibrant ecosystems, through scientific research, and more.

With “Giving Tuesday” upon us, today is a great day to support those protecting and improving Philadelphia’s waterways.
If you recognize the value of our watersheds, consider supporting those who share your appreciation on Giving Tuesday and help further their efforts.

Below are a few partners that rely on contributions to keep up the good work of watershed stewardship.
What group or organization works to protect and support a local waterway you care about? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook!

Photos and Prizes: 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest One of Best Yet

Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Thank you to all who came out to the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, Sept. 10!

Our partners at Parks and Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission made it possible to have one of the best days on the river yet, with 195 participants and 297 fish caught (and released).

Saving Ducklings and Protecting Watersheds: All In a Day's Work for Our Inlet Cleaning Crews!

Infrastructure Week 2016: Inlet Cleaning

While they may be easy to overlook, you can find at least one of our 75,000-plus storm drains on nearly every street in Philadelphia. Designed to take stormwater away from our streets, storm drains (or inlets) form a direct connection between our neighborhoods and the watersheds in which we live.

What does that connection mean? It means that, when people litter, leave pet waste behind, or let old cars leak oil in the street, that stuff washes down the storm drain and enters our water supply.

On the other hand, inlets blocked with trash, snow, leaves, construction debris and sediment can make local flooding worse when we have heavy rain and water can’t drain properly.

So, who takes care of our storm drains? And what can residents do to keep pollution out of our waterways and ensure the storm drains work properly?

Here to answer some of those questions during Infrastructure Week is William Shields, the head of our Inlet Cleaning Unit.

Worried About Salt? Smart Winter Deicing Tips to Protect Rivers, Creeks and Pets

The beautiful Tacony Creek in winter. Smart use of deicing products can help minimize impacts on our watersheds. Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.
The beautiful Tacony Creek in winter. Smart use of deicing products can help minimize impacts on our watersheds. Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.

If you're the kind of person who thinks about the health of our urban watersheds, you've probably wondered if using too much salt on driveways and sidewalks can hurt Philly's rivers and creeks.

As snow piles up in the winter, we often turn to salt or other solutions to melt snow and ice as an important public safety measure that saves lives on our roadways every year.

Still, it's important to know that all deicers can be harmful to our drinking water supply and the environment when overused, so the best strategy is to read the labels and use as directed only when needed. High concentrations of salt can damage and kill vegetation and harm freshwater ecosystems and fish. Excess salt can also seep into the ground and destroy soil structure, which can lead to erosion and further pollute waterways.

Use these winter deicing tips to help protect our watersheds:

Hooked: Great Turnout for Philly Fun Fishing Fest

A young angler checks out her catch with a Fish Fest volunteer. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Ava Morales, winner of the "Most Succesful Angler" award in the Under 14 category, checks out her catch with a Fish Fest volunteer. She caught a total of nine fish, a number topped only by Leo Sheng, a professional fisherman and founder of the Extreme Philly Fishing YouTube channel. Sheng caught 39 fish. Photo credit: Philadelphia Water

A few clouds and some high water weren't enough to keep people from enjoying some fine Schuylkill River fishing on Saturday, and the Philly Fun Fishing Fest saw one of its biggest crowds ever during the 11th annual event.
Hosted by Philadelphia Water, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission and Schuylkill Banks, the free fishing competition included 114 anglers this year.

The annual day of fishing showcases Schuylkill River recreational opportunities and water quality improvements while encouraging residents to develop a personal connection to this crucial drinking water source.
With free tackle and bait for use during the fest, not to mention a free pass on required licenses from the Fish and Boat Commission, the day is also a popular way for novices to give fishing a try.

But, looking at the final tally of fish, you wouldn't think this was an inexperienced crowd. In just four hours, Fish Fest participants recorded a whopping 234 catches! Species included channel catfish, white perch, blue gill sunfish, American eel and striped bass, with channel cats by far the most common catch. You can check out photos from Philly Fun Fishing Fest by clicking here.

Bob's Bait and Tackle on Ridge Avenue in East Falls donated a new rod and reel combo as the grand prize for the raffle drawing.

Fishing prizes, donated by sponsors Dick's Sporting Goods and Plano Tackle, were awarded in 16 categories:

Category Winner Prizes
Last Fish Caught Jalieha Lyles Take Me Fishing Tackle Box donated by Plano Tackle
First Fish Caught Lynell Robinson Take Me Fishing Tackle Box donated by Plano Tackle
Smallest Fish Caught Emre Olceroglu (4" White Perch) Runner up: Eric Mondelli Take Me Fishing Tackle Box donated by Plano Tackle
Youngest Participant  Ayden Chomper Tackle Box and Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate  
Third Largest Fish (Adult) Jamie Lafferty JR (21.5" Catfish)    Take Me Fishing Tackle Box from Plano and Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate 
Third Largest Fish (14 & Under)  Jon Conway (17" Catfish)  Take Me Fishing Tackle Box from Plano Tackle and Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate 
Second Largest Fish (Senior)  George Cooper (19.75" Catfish)  Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate 
Second Largest Fish  (Adult)   Fran Murray (22.25" Catfish)  Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate 
Second Largest Fish  (14 & Under) Jason Miller (21in Catfish) Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate    
Most Successful Angler (Senior)  Jamie Lafferty SR (8 fish) Take Me Fishing Tackle Box from Plano Tackle, Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate
Most Successful Angler (Adult) Leo Sheng (39 fish) Runner-up: Emre Olceroglu Take Me Fishing Tackle Box from Plano Tackle, Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate   
Most Successful Angler (14 & Under)  Ava Morales (9 fish) Take Me Fishing Tackle Box from Plano Tackle, Rod and Reel, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate  
Largest Fish (Senior)  James Preston (20.75in Catfish) Spiderwire Tackle Box, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate
Largest Fish (Adult) John McCann (22.50" Catfish)  Spiderwire Tackle Box, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate 
Largest Fish (14 & Under)  Marcus Morales (22.25" Catfish)  Spiderwire Tackle Box, Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Certificate
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