Several officials got together Monday at Aiden Lair Park, in the Dresher section of Upper Dublin Township, to take a look at a stormwater management project that’s nearly complete. The park has two detention basins along a small stream that has been dry or nearly dry for much of the year, but Schuylkill Action Network Coordinator Tom Davidock says it’s environmentally sensitive because it’s a headwater area.
“When we’re dealing with our first and second order headwater streams, which are the beginnings of a watershed, they’re very vulnerable to different types of water pollution, so if we can protect our headwater streams they have a very big impact on our larger streams such as the Wissahickon and Schuylkill River, and the Schuylkill River Watershed is the drinking water source for more than 1 ½ million people.”
Paul Racette is Watershed Program Manager for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a statewide nonprofit organization. He says the project includes putting in more native plants to drink the stormwater and hold the soil in place.
“We call this basin naturalization. We’re in this park and there’s a lot of mowed grass around us, and we recognize that there’s a necessity for some mowed grass for recreation, but where there’s an opportunity to naturalize with meadow grasses and trees and shrubs like we’re doing in these basins then you’re going to have a lot more of that water absorbed into the ground and infiltrated, so it’s not rushing down into the Fort Washington Industrial Park.”
Racette says the water from Aiden Lair Park flows into the Pine Run Creek, and then into the Wissahickon, which floods in Fort Washington. He says the Wissahickon Watershed has about 150 locations where similar projects would help reduce runoff and flooding and improve water quality. A grant from Exelon Nuclear helped to pay for the project.