The Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative (T-VSSI) leverages the investments in the ongoing research programs and studies of Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) and Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP) to promote sustainable watershed assets through improving the stewardship of the region’s watershed resources. Reports prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), river conservation plans, and other sources document impairments to and the need to remediate the impacts of urbanization and increased stormwater runoff on the region’s waters and watersheds. In order to remediate the impacts of increased stormwater flows and to increase stewardship of the region’s watersheds, the T-VSSI undertakes an intensive Technical Program and Outreach Program.
The Technical Program is executed by an interdisciplinary group of researchers (i.e., engineers, planners, horticulturalists, ecologists…) who develop programs to enhance the management of privately held lands that are critical to the health of watersheds and related ecosystems. The same group of researchers also provide a public Outreach Program. Improved stormwater management and stewardship of the region’s watershed resources are supported through the public Outreach Program designed to transfer information and technology gained through the design and long-term monitoring of demonstration BMPs.
The outputs identified herein will produce short-term outcomes such as facilitating municipal acceptance of innovative stormwater practices, increasing municipal participation in Act 167 stormwater studies and encouraging the engineering community to design innovations stormwater management solutions. Principle long-term outcomes will include improved water quality through the reduction of sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants and an increase in viable habitat.
T-VSSI Organizational Background
In 2005, Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities and Villanova University’s Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership joined resources to form the T-VSSI. Other participating organizations include the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Philadelphia Water Department, and CULTEC, Inc.
Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC)
The CSC was established in July 2000 to develop and promote new approaches to protect and preserve quality of life through sustainable development, improving public health, and balancing the relationship between environmental integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity.
Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP)
The VUSP’s mission is to advance the evolving comprehensive stormwater management field and to foster the development of public and private partnerships through research on innovative stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), directed studies, technology transfer, and education.
T-VSSI Participating Organizations
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT)
The PERT is a private, non-profit conservation organization located in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. The Trust’s mission is to protect, restore, and preserve the lands of the Pennypack Creek valley to enhance the quality of life of both residents and visitors, offer habitat for native plants and animals, and become a standard of excellence for innovative restoration and stewardship practices, which can be shared with others joined in a common commitment to the environment.
Philadelphia Water Department, Office of Watersheds (PWD)
The PWD created the Office of Watersheds in 1998, to help preserve and enhance the water quality in the region through effective wastewater and stormwater services, along with planning and acting in partnership with other stakeholders to achieve a sensible balance between cost and environmental benefit. The PWD invests roughly a quarter of a billion dollars every year through its combined operating and capital budgets to protect the region’s watersheds.
CULTEC, Inc., a private company, is a leading authority in stormwater systems product design. The company has agreed to donate its time, materials, and services to support the installation of the infiltration gallery that will be installed underneath the parking lot at PERT’s office and visitor center.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP)
PA DEP provides funding support to the T-VSSI through its Growing Greener Grant program. Growing Greener is a voter-approved plan that will invest $625 million over six years, beginning in 2005, to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the Commonwealth.
William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation provides major funding support to the T-VSSI, as part of its mission to improve the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children’s futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community.
Project Headwaters was initiated in early 2007 by Southeast Montgomery County Trout Unlimited, Philadelphia Water Department Office of Watersheds, Temple/Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative, Montgomery County Conservation District, AKRF, Inc. and Pennsylvania Environmental Council. These partners are seeking ways to improve urban watershed planning by implementing a regional initiative aimed at coordinated, strategic, action-oriented approach to watershed management. Project Headwaters focuses on implementation of projects in a watershed’s headwaters first, where it can concentrate its efforts most effectively and see results from improved stormwater management.
StormwaterPA is an online resource developed to help municipalities throughout Pennsylvania apply the most effective, proven techniques in stormwater management to their community’s needs. The site is a clearinghouse of stormwater information, including upcoming events, case studies, regulatory information, model ordinances, and publications available for download.