Green Infrastructure in Darby Creek, PA

Darby Creek drains 77 square miles bordering Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and passes through the region’s oldest urban municipalities. Early settlement along the Darby relied upon mill dams for economic growth. And as the Darby watershed communities grew, wastewater and eventually drinking water infrastructure was developed.

Today the dams no longer function as originally intended.  Instead they contribute to local flooding and block migratory fish passage. Similarly, many wastewater treatment and drinking water delivery systems are aged and inadequate to serve the community’s clean water needs. Compounding the infrastructure concerns is the area’s development – dense patterns of roads and buildings, which do not allow for natural management of stormwater. In older urban communities, stormwater exacerbates flooding and pollution through treatment facilities and streams such as Darby Creek.

Within the Darby watershed, American Rivers is working to restore the creek and use green infrastructure in developed areas to mimic the way water would naturally flow over the land. The Darby Creek restoration project will restore habitat and stream function by removing four barriers within the creek. At the same time, American Rivers’ Clean Water program has partnered with several local agencies and groups to install rain barrels at homes and foster community based solutions to stormwater management. These initiatives will help the stream restoration work by minimizing storm flows that cause stream bank erosion and flooding and exacerbate pollution.