Native Return, LLC is working as a dual consultant for the Township of Whitemarsh and the Colonial School District, in a cooperative effort to address a long standing problem affecting both entities, which own adjacent flood-prone land in Montgomery County. The township and the school district are cooperating in this endeavor with the hope that the restoration will build a healthy environmental bridge and alliance between the two.
The riparian and stormwater management area is located on school district property, next to one of its playing fields, and on adjoining township property, commonly referred to as McCarthy Park. The stream has been prone to severe flooding for many years, affecting large numbers of nearby residents, filling basements with polluted water.
Invasive species, including multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, and tartarian honeysuckle, was removed from the school’s two acres, and this portion – much of which had no tree cover – was reforested with over 380 native trees and shrubs suited to the site’s wet conditions. The vegetation will help improve water quality by slowing the movement of the water flowing through the area. Slowing the speed of runoff allows stormwater more time to penetrate into the ground and recharge the water table, and also to filter out sediments and other pollutants before the water reaches the stream. The riparian buffer BMP will increase infiltration and at the same time provide healthy habitat for the many important wildlife species that depend on having wet site conditions. The root structures of the native plants are much deeper and denser than those of turf grass, so they are much more effective in preventing erosion. To view a list of vegetation planted for this project, click here.
Native Return will monitor the site in future years to ensure that proper maintenance protocols are followed, including invasive plant control, repair of protective fencing, and proper mowing regimens in open meadow areas until tree cover is complete.
Additionally, the school district and the township plan to integrate interpretive signage along the pedestrian and bike trail that runs alongside the entire project area. It will describe the joint efforts and the environmental benefits possible as a result of the TreeVitalize Project. There have also been numerous press releases and articles in the school’s and township’s publications highlighting the project and describing the environmental benefits. The school held a televised Arbor Day ceremony at the site, during which Native Return spoke about the project.
Watershed: Schuylkill River
Native Return, LLC
666 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444