At a Glance

A suite of best management practices helps restore and protect significant natural resources within Philadelphia’s historic Awbury Arboretum.

Project Description

Awbury Arboretum is a historic property in the midst of urban Philadelphia serving local schools and residents as an ecological education facility. The Arboretum has a large tract of woods with a wetland and stream which drain to a historic man-made pond before exiting the site and entering the City’s storm drain. Through a cooperative effort with Federal, state and local agencies including the Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia’s Water Department (PWD) and Fairmount Park Commission, and a number of local organizations (i.e., Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary), Awbury and Biohabitats secured funding to implement a number
of projects.

These projects included removal of invasive, non-native trees from the woodland, reforestation of adjacent lawn areas, and establishment of a native warm season grass meadow to reduce and filter stormwater runoff. Additional projects included “daylighting” the headwater portion of the stream; establishing a wetland riparian zone along the stream; installing a downstream bio retention facility with a stormwater drop inlet to collect road runoff before it enters the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), and increasing the capacity of the historic pond to provide additional stormwater quantity and quality treatment.

Together, these measures improve the habitat , increase the flow path for stormwater, increase infiltration and dry-weather base flow, and increase stream flow. They also reduce localized flooding and CSO discharge frequency, improve surface water quality and aquatic habitat, and restore historic landscape features.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Atlantic Coastal Plain


Tacony and Frankford Creeks

Expertise Areas

Climate Change, Community, Conservation, Design & Build, Ecological Restoration, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


Awbury Arboretum


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States