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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.

Venice Island Update

Image: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Click for full size map and PDF of trail closure details.

The construction of an underground storage basin at Venice Island is underway, and demolition of the existing recreation facilities is complete. Also, clearing and grubbing has wrapped up. This is the process of tagging existing trees and vegetation that will remain and removing vegetation that is not part of the final landscape plan. Many trees that existed on the island will remain a part of the completed landscape.

Next up: construction of the temporary parking lot where the recreation  facilities used to be. The construction of the parking lot should be complete by mid-December. PWD's contractors and the Manayunk Development Corporation will install signs to alert patrons of the changes in parking and traffic. We will be sure to provide firm dates as soon as we have them.

Stay tuned for more info on the Venice Island groundbreaking ceremony on November 1 at 10:30 a.m. Join Mayor Michael Nutter, Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug and others as we celebrate the beginning of the various projects going on in Manayunk.

Take note: The entire length of the Manayunk Canal Towpath will be closed to all trail users as Philadelphia Parks & Recreation perform necessary improvements. Work is scheduled from October to the end of December 2011.

Sign up here for email updates on Venice Island.

News Stream: Schuylkill Restoration Projects

Photo: Meliora Environmental Design

Seven projects in the Schuylkill River watershed will receive funding from the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund to improve water quality and address remediation issues. Two sites are in Philadelphia: The Albert M. Greenfield School (pictured above) will receive $50,000 for the installation of a green roof, and a stormwater management project in Shawmont will receive $60,000. Other projects upstream in Berks County will also address water quality issues, detailed in an article in the Pottsville Mercury:

"Measures include stream bank fencing, animal crossings and manure storage facilities, as well as native tree plantings and riparian buffer restoration, all of which are aimed at improving water quality in the Schuylkill by preventing biological pollutants and sediment from entering streams in the first place."

For more info on projects in the Schuylkill watershed, visit the Schuylkill Action Network website.

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:

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.

Reminder: Last Day to Register for the Fishing Fest

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Registration for the 2011 Philly Fun Fishing Fest closes at 5:00 p.m. today. Thanks to all the registrants for accommodating the date change—once again, the Fishing Fest is on for Saturday, September 24 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Click here to register.

Scenes From (After) A Storm: Fairmount Water Works

Photo: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

There's no shortage of flooding stories in the region this week, all due to historic precipitation and flood-stage levels for the Delaware, Schuykill and many other waterways. Even the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (pictured above) isn't immune to a good soaking; to be fair, however, the Interpretive Center was designed with flooding in mind due to its close proximity to the Schuylkill. Below, an Eastern Garter Snake finds some high ground in the Interpretive Center. Check out the FWWIC's Facebook page for more great photos.

Photo: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center


Fishing Fest Postponed

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This just in—due to inclement weather, the 2011 Philly Fun Fishing Fest scheduled for this Saturday is tentatively postponed until Saturday, September 24. We'll have more details on the postponement shortly. If you have registered for the fishing fest, you will be notified of scheduling updates by e-mail.

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