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Get Wild about Watersheds, Urban Greening and West Philly Nature

Dan Kobza of Wild West Philly takes residents on a nature walk highlighting wildlife and green infrastructure around Papa Playground in West Philadelphia. Join Philadelphia Water and Wild West Philly for special nature walk on June 25. Photo Credit: Joe Piette
Dan Kobza of Wild West Philly takes residents on a nature walk highlighting wildlife and green infrastructure around Papa Playground in West Philadelphia. Join Philadelphia Water and Wild West Philly for special nature walk on June 25. Photo Credit: Joe Piette

Philadelphia Water is all about helping people understand the ways in which our lives and communities are intimately connected to the local waterways that sustain us.

We know—living in a big city like Philadelphia, it can be easy to forget that we’re still a part of a natural world that includes waterways like the Cobbs Creek and Delaware River. Luckily, we have lots of residents who care about nature and want to learn more.

That’s why we’re teaming up with Naturalist Interpreter Dan Kobza of Wild West Philly (one of our watershed partnership groups) for a special walk on Saturday, June 25 at the historic Mt. Moriah Cemetery, much of which has been reclaimed by nature. (RSVP for this free event here.)

Give Water Some Respect with Watershed Wit!

Head to the Guild Hall Brewing Co. on Oct. 20 and send some of your beer money to a local watershed! Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.
Head to the Guild Hall Brewing Co. on Oct. 20 and send some of your beer money to a local watershed! Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.

At the start of the month, we lamented in the Philadelphia Inquirer that water infrastructure, which is often underground and out of sight, just doesn’t seem to get the same attention or funding as things that we see daily, like roads and bridges.

In many ways, it’s the same with beer, too: hops, malt and yeast get all the glory among beer snobs. But, ask any brewer, and they’ll tell you the truth: great water is just as important, if not more so, as all the other stuff that goes into a quality brew.

It’s no surprise then that local breweries like Victory (Headwaters Pale), Saucony Creek (Stonefly IPA) and Sly Fox (SRT Ale) all have beers that pay tribute (and actual profits) to the health of our local waterways.

Now, beer and watershed lovers in Northeast Philly and lower Montco have a beer of their own to hoist while drinking to health of their local stream. Watershed Wit is a new brew from a new, Jenkintown-based brewhouse, Guild Hall Brewing Company.

Located a short walk from the headwaters of the Tookany Creek, they draw tons of water from the local watershed every time they fire up the brew kettle. Good water quality isn’t an abstract concept for this business; they’re intimately aware of the need to protect our rivers and creeks.

In recognition of this basic fact, they’ve pledged a whopping 10 percent of Watershed Wit proceeds to support Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Creek Watershed Partnership's mission to improve the health and vitality of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek. An incredibly dedicated group, TTF is constantly raising awareness about the need to protect and improve their watershed, and Philadelphia Water works closely with them on issues like education, water quality, and stream restoration.

To celebrate the release of this new, refreshing wheat beer (think Hoegaarden or Blue Moon), TTF and Guild Hall are throwing a tapping party dubbed “Creek to Craft” on Tuesday Oct. 20 at the brewery’s restaurant. Click here to learn more and get tickets.

Even if you can’t make the party, remember – grabbing a pint or growler still goes to the great cause of protecting one of Philly’s seven watersheds! Can we say cheers?

Fish Fest: Inspiring Life-Long Watershed Stewards

Watch our video to learn more about the Philly Fun Fishing Fest.

There’s something about fishing—the wonder, perhaps, that you inevitably experience when you cast your line into the water and hope that something will appear, alive and fighting, on the other end—that makes it an especially potent way of getting people hooked on "watershed stewardship."

Being a watershed steward is a fancy way of saying you care about the rivers, streams, creeks, wetlands, brooks and bays around us; Philadelphia alone has seven watersheds, all of them feeding into the much larger Delaware River watershed, stretching from the cold, wild trout-filled streams of the Catskill Mountains in New York all the way down to the salty Delaware Bay, where blue crab and flounder swim.

We want everyone in the Philadelphia region to think of themselves as watershed stewards because people who care about the source of their drinking water make our job—protecting and treating that water—that much easier. Whether it’s voting for elected officials who care about water quality or just picking up pet waste to keep it from washing into rivers and streams, we can count on watershed stewards to be on our side when it comes to making sure the Delaware watershed is in tip-top shape.

That’s the sentiment behind the Philly Fun Fishing Fest (Fish Fest for short), a Schuylkill River tradition now in its 11th year. It’s a day when anyone, old or young, fishing license or not, can come down to the banks of this amazing river and, we hope, make that special connection that leads to a life of watershed stewardship.

"Our source water protection efforts, from working with partners far upstream to reducing the amount of stormwater entering waterways from city streets, are all guided by our ‘One Water’ approach, which recognizes that everything we do comes back to the goal of having healthy rivers," says Tiffany Ledesma, a member of Philadelphia Water’s public engagement team. "Fish Fest is a great, fun way for people of all ages to experience what a healthy Schuylkill River has to offer in a hands-on way, and we want residents to have a direct stake in our efforts to take water quality to the next level."

This year’s Fish Fest, a totally free catch-and-release only event, will take place Saturday, September 12, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. (rain date: Oct. 3). Participants must register and fill out a quick form, which you can find by clicking here. The deadline for signups is Thursday, September 10. We’ll even have fishing poles available for loan and worms to use as bait. Experts will also be on hand to teach you how to cast and identify the fish species caught.
Prizes for a variety of categories, including the biggest (AND smallest!) fish, will be awarded during an 11:30 a.m. ceremony. To make the day even more fun, we’ll be holding the second annual Crazy Hat contest, open to all. Get creative with your head gear for the chance to reel in a prize!

What to Expect
Anglers during last year’s fest recorded nearly four dozen catches, and species identified included channel catfish, striped bass, bluegill, American eel, American shad, white perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, and red-breast sunfish.

Philly Fun Fishing Fest 2014: See Photos from Last Year, Including Fish Measuring and Crazy Hats

REMEMBER: Registration and Release of Liability are required to fish at the Fishing Fest. The registration must be completed ahead of time and the release form must be brought on the day of the event in order to participate. Register here and download the Release of Liability here. Questions? Call : 215-685-6300 or email us at

Philadelphia Water’s partners for this event include Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission, Schuylkill Banks, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Plano Tackle.

Want to Spread the Word? Download a Fish Fest Flyer by Clicking the Image Below:

Fish Fest Official Flyer 

PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug Receives 2015 Arbor Day Award!

Green City, Clean Water Trees and Howard Neukrug
Green City, Clean Waters stormwater trees (left) and PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug (right)

We are delighted to announce that PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug is the recipient of a 2015 Arbor Day Award from the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of his outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship! 

Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters with their annual Arbor Day Awards. This year Commissioner Neukrug is one of 13 individuals, organizations and companies being recognized. He is the recipient of the Excellence in Urban Forestry Leadership Award for his role in helping to create, oversee and implement Green City, Clean Waters

Green City, Clean Waters uses trees and other plants in its green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) systems to help soak up and capture rainwater where it falls. By capturing the water where it falls, the volume of runoff is reduced in Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, which improves the health of the surrounding creeks and rivers. In the last fiscal year, 1,252 trees were planted through the Green City, Clean Waters program!

Green City, Clean Waters is the single largest green stormwater infrastructure program in the nation…. But the realization of the program – and its daily implementation – is achieved through the passion and dedication of Philadelphia Water's own Office of Watersheds, and the strong partnership and leadership provided by our sister agencies – Philadelphia's Parks & Recreation and Office of Sustainability. It is a pleasure and honor to have such steadfast support
--Howard Neukrug

The Green Streets component of Green City, Clean Waters is helping transform Philadelphia into a greener city with tree-lined streets. Trees planted through Green City, Clean Waters not only manage stormwater water but enhance the air quality, improve property values and beautify neighborhoods. Green City, Clean Waters also boosts the sustainability and greening goals of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Plan, which aims to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the nation. 

A ceremony for Arbor Day award recipients will be held at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25 and we can’t wait to attend! 

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