At a Glance

Swarthmore College now has a robust framework for an integrated approach to ecological and stormwater planning on the campus.

Project Description

After analyzing the ecological, stormwater drainage, and landscape management conditions of the campus of Swarthmore College, Biohabitats recommended a variety of sustainable site planning solutions to incorporate into the College’s planning study. These included enhancing the landscape with more native plant species to better connect it with the neighboring Crum Woods property and converting underutilized turf areas to native vegetation, rain gardens, edible/agricultural gardens, and gathering areas. The suggestions present new opportunities to integrate the environmental context of the campus into the academic experience and curriculum.

Biohabitats’ analysis of the campus further revealed that turf conversion and further implementation of stormwater management practices would lower the carbon footprint associated with mowing, lessen irrigation needs, and reduce overall maintenance efforts, while providing numerous environmental benefits. To alleviate flooding in nuisance areas and filter stormwater draining into Crum Creek, on  the western edge of the campus, Biohabitats suggested a multilevel stormwater management approach utilizing curb extensions along flood-prone roads to divert and filter water through vegetated swales, bioretention in and around parking lots, permeable paving in parking lots, and rain gardens integrated throughout the campus.

In several eroded tributaries to Crum Creek Biohabitats suggested the inclusion of regenerative stormwater conveyance practices that help slow and filter water draining to the creek. Enhancing native vegetation throughout the campus and establishing vegetative connections with the College’s Crum Woods and Crum Creek corridor will not only improve water quality and wildlife habitat, but also enhance recreation opportunities.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Atlantic Coastal Plain Province


Lower Delaware Watershed

Expertise Areas

Conservation, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology


Swarthmore College


Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, United States