Wissahickon Creek Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study
Biohabitats is helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Philadelphia Water Department in an effort to improve the water quality and habitat conditions of Lower Wissahickon Creek, which travels through Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park to its confluence with the Schuylkill River.
The creek has long been a beloved scenic and recreational waterway and a drinking water source for Philadelphians. However, decades of development within the Wissahickon watershed have taken an ecological toll on the creek. Several segments of the creek are included among Pennsylvania’s 303(d) listing of impaired waterways due to excessive erosion and nutrient input. As a result, many stream segments are unstable, with degraded aquatic habitat.
Biohabitats is identifying opportunities to address these impairments through the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as stormwater wetlands, stream restoration, and riparian and floodplain enhancement. A total of 40 BMP restoration alternatives are being developed and evaluated based on habitat valuation and cost-benefit analysis. The analysis involves the use of the Corps MII (MCASES second generation) for cost estimates; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Habitat Evaluation Procedure for habitat valuation; and the Corps Incremental Cost Analysis model for cost benefit analyses.
Once complete, the study will prioritize restoration options and guide the implementation of initiatives that will result in improved water quality and habitat conditions for the plant, animal and human communities within the Wissahickon watershed.