What’s Going on in the Wissahickon

Conservation // January 11, 2018

By Peg Shaw, Project Manager

Construction at Andorra/Wissahickon Environmental Center
FOW’s Andorra Natural Area Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction Project is scheduled for construction from March–June 2018. FOW first announced this project in the winter 2016 newsletter. This project will decrease sediment loads in the Wissahickon Creek by capturing and infiltrating surface stormwater flows throughout the micro watershed of the Wissahickon Environmental Center (WEC). The area of work includes the upper parking lot and adjacent Northwestern Avenue, the forested slope below the parking lot, adjacent trails, and the WEC day use area. A.D. Marble is leading the design and construction team for this project and will be implementing a public safety plan throughout the duration of the project. Please check FOW’s website, Facebook page, and other social media outlets as more details become available. We urge the public to pay attention to and adhere to all safety signs in the vicinity during construction.

Yellow Trail Summit Ave. Reroute
In our fall 2017 newsletter, we outlined the project scope of the Summit Avenue Reroute and reported on the beginning of this project. Now, thanks to over 150 volunteers, a dozen volunteer Crew Leaders and the professional skills of trail builder Valerie Naylor, we are happy to report that the trail is complete. FOW celebrated the opening of the trail on November 18. Park users on the Yellow Trail no longer have to leave the park and travel along Summit Avenue. Already, the new route is seeing lots of traffic, with users sharing a great deal of positive feedback.

Habitat Restoration
FOW was able to take advantage of the recent completion of invasive removal work by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to begin habitat restoration along the new trail route. About a half-acre of non-native wisteria vine was treated and cleared over the past two years, creating a south-facing slope with a partial tree canopy of tulip poplar and red maple, with a scattering of oak, hickory, and American holly. For the Love Your Park Day in November, FOW staff and volunteer Crew Leaders Wendy Willard and John Cassidy led 48 community volunteers to plant 225 trees, 187 shrubs, and 250 herbaceous plugs. To protect the plantings from the high number of deer present in the area, FOW is installing deer fencing. Throughout 2018 we will be monitoring the planting area for any invasive wisteria regrowth.

Park Zone Assessments Underway
FOW is embarking on a new assessment process throughout Wissahickon Valley Park to map and identify habitat and infrastructure components. By dividing the park into 15 zones, we will be able to collect data points and details to help us identify and prioritize our stewardship work and gain an overall understanding of park conditions.