Water is both an asset and a challenge for communities. A waterway, man-made water features at local parks, water trails are all amenities that make our communities places where people want to live and help attract visitors that support local economies. On the other hand, managing stormwaterafter it rains requires careful attention to prevent flooding and control pollution.
Parking lots, roads, rooftops and driveways don’t allow water to soak in to the ground, making it important for community leaders to plan around managing stormwater, even for average rainfall. Stormwater runoff also picks up and carries with it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces. More and more local parks are incorporating features that help with stormwater control, and DCNR offers a list of the top 10 best management practices for parks.
Among other initiatives, PENNVEST provides funding for stormwater projects throughout the state. Working with the local business community is an important part of the stormwater management solution. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary created a booklet called "Clean Water Partners" to help municipalities reach out to business owners and managers to help reduce flooding and pollution.
Although nothing is as lovely as a tree, trees are good workers, too! Not only do they clean the air and provide cooling shade, their roots also can help control stormwater. DCNR’s TreeVitalize program makes funds available to communities across Pennsylvania to plant trees. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has a tool kit to help individuals and local governments plant trees along streams to help control runoff.
A number of federal, state and non-profit organizations help monitor water resources in Pennsylvania. Much of that information is collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and shared on its website.
A River Runs By It
In the past, communities along waterways often sprang up to take advantage of transportation routes, and readily available water for manufacturing processes. Today, communities also are discovering these locations provide great opportunities to attract visitors for outdoor recreation. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has a River Town Program to help communities along navigable waterways revitalize. Several communities along the Susquehanna River in York County use their unique location to market to visitors.
River of the Year
For 20 years, Pennsylvania has celebrated an important waterway annually as its River of the Year . The designation calls attention to conservation successes along its course and highlights the economic, natural and cultural value it provides. The selection generates an array of special activities including a poster and a multi-day Sojourn on the river.
Overall, the economic impact of recreational fishing has been estimated at $1.35 billion annually in Pennsylvania. Wouldn’t it be great if some of that spending was done in your community? In studies examining ways to expand public participation in fishing, increasing the convenience and ease-of-access for anglers were critical factors. The Fish and Boat Commission has a strategy to improve and increase access points.
A Journey on the Water
Pennsylvania River Sojourns are guided paddle tours that offer participants the chance to revel in the great outdoors, learn about the local environment, view wildlife, make new friends and become better stewards of the natural world. DCNR supports mini-grants for organizations interested in guiding sojourns.
A Liquid Trail
Forget your hiking boots for these trails, and grab a paddle! Pennsylvania has more than 20 mapped water trails that promote responsible use and enjoyment of our waterways and attract visitors who spend money in our communities. The Fish and Boat Commission has online maps that outline the routes.
Water Features in the Neighborhood
Local pools and spray parks are popular spots for outdoor recreation for families and visitors in communities. DCNR provides technical assistance and grants to help communities create better places for their citizens, including water features.