Sporting Life: All Eyes on Philly, When it Rains it Pours!

As leader of a non-profit with a major focus on water resource protection, I’ve got to admit, we kind of like when it rains. Believe me, I don’t love the fact that runoff wreaks havoc with our waterways, streets, and basements, but downpours do draw attention to the problems we human-folk have brought upon ourselves by altering the landscape. Once upon a time, nature did a great job of balancing the water cycle, but as we chopped, paved, and built our way into a life of impervious-ness, we generated a ton of stormwater runoff — which causes flooding, erosion, and pollutes our rivers and streams.

So, what’s the connection to sport? Last weekend, one of the nation’s biggest Bike races came to Philadelphia, and luckily for riders and the partygoing fans, the rains had left by race day. This week, the U.S. Open has come to our suburbs; attendees from far and wide have been pummeled by storms. And next weekend, the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon takes place. The latter event involves a swim in the Schuylkill River, a biking segment in Fairmount Park, and is capped with a run. If we get any major rains leading up to or on race day itself, chances are good that the swim will be canceled because of high water and potential contamination. Oh, the event will likely go on, but in a drastically different form. (I’ll be racing as usual, and since I’m a mediocre swimmer, I’d benefit if the swim gets canceled. But I’d also be disappointed because I signed up for the challenge of the three discipline event…)

The point is that storms bring runoff and runoff disrupts our lives in myriad ways. The learning moment is that WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. People all around us are trying to minimize the impacts by getting this stormwater under control. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the inspiring story of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program. Learn more by visiting StormwaterPA. And then Get into the Act by planting a tree, building a rain garden, installing a rain barrel, and sharing what you’ve just learned.

Green City, Clean Waters Promo from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

GreenTreks documentary on Philly greening to air on WHYY Apr 26 & 29

If you’ve been following us for any period of time, you know we’re stoked to be a part of Philadelphia’s transformation from down on our luck wannabes to nation leading innovators — and yesterday’s landmark agreement between the City and US EPA reinforces the fact that there’s much more to come.

You also probably know we’ve been documenting the exciting efforts of the Philadelphia Water Department to change our cityscape into a vision of green. Besides the dozen short videos that can be found on our Green City, Clean Waters Vimeo channel, we’ve put together a 30 minute PBS special that encapsulates brings this game changing program to life.

We’re thrilled to announce it’ll be airing in a couple of weeks!

WHYY Airtimes

Download the flyer and pass it around.

Post it on your Facebook page, send it out on Twitter, Pin it, email it to friends.

And be sure to tune in and watch!

Mar 11 Schuylkill Watershed Congress: We’ll be There. Will You?

Every year, dozens of passionate people come together to share ideas, experiences, and their love of local waterways at the Schuylkill Watershed Congress–and we’ve been proud to present our materials quite a number of times. This year, we’re teaming up with the Brandywine Conservancy to promote an exciting new education and advocacy tool we developed together. Come check us out in our afternoon Poster session: Site Design Procedure for Better Stormwater Management.

Here’s our abstract:

GreenTreks Network and the Brandywine Conservancy Environmental Management Center have collaborated to bring a whole new level of awareness to the challenges and opportunities for those charged with creating and implementing stormwater management programs through StormwaterPA. The latest result of the partnership is a multimedia, guided tour to integrating stormwater management into the land development process, from initial planning to final design.

This presentation provides insight into the latest thinking in conservation design and introduces this new tool to help engineers, advocates, and municipalities understand the process of creating the most appropriate plan for a particular site. The Site Design Procedure toolkit provides several pathways through the site planning process, including a narrated walk through, schematic flowchart, and step-by-step checklist. Besides offering a nice summary overview, it provides a comprehensive discussion document, and incorporates video segments, supporting materials (including relevant excerpts from the PA BMP Manual), and a new Model Ordinance (fully updated by the Conservancy in January, 2010).

The Schuylkill Watershed Congress puts its focus on networking across disciplines and a goal of presenting new information about watershed restoration, and has become a highly anticipated event for watershed citizens interested in understanding, protecting and restoring their local streams. Learn more here >>

If you can’t make it to Pottstown on Saturday, we’ll let you in on a secret: even though it’s not officially being promoted on StormwaterPA until our new site is launched, you can view the multimedia Site Design Procedure online now.  Turn on your speakers, sit back, and get ready to be WOWed. We think it’s pretty cool.

Ready?  Set? Check it out here >>

Not sure where you line up on the debate on drilling for Natural Gas? Hear Philly Water Department’s take…

There’s so much polarizing debate going on around the issue of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation that it’s hard to know what lies ahead. On one side, there are those who see the “gasrush” as nothing less than economic salvation; on the other, those who believe environmental disaster is imminent and drilling must be prevented no what the opportunity cost. There are a ton of far smarter minds than ours weighing in, yet we tend to believe that somewhere along the line we must reach a middle ground and PROCEED SLOWLY, AND WITH EXTREME CAUTION, because it’s pretty clear we’re not getting to a 100% renewable energy future anytime soon…

Kelly Anderson and Paula Conolly of the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will present an overview of PWD’s approach to source water protection and what steps are being taken to address the challenges presented by natural gas drilling in the Schuylkill and Delaware River basins–the source of Philadelphia’s water supply.

Please RSVP by December 13. For reservations or more information, please call 215-685-0723. More Information at FWWIC website >>

As a prelude to the program, you might want to Remember The River by tuning in to a video we created for our tireless friends at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. It’s mainly derived from a pair of our beautiful documentaries, Life on the Delaware and PA: A River Sojourn. Both are available now on DVD. Go to the Shop >>

Remember the River from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.