Back in April, we joined communities all over the Darby-Cobbs Watershed for Darby Creek Valley Association’s (DCVA) annual watershed-wide cleanup—an event that’s continuously brought creek lovers together as volunteers for 35 years.

From small, wooded Darby Creek tributaries in Delco to the lush, green Cobbs Creek floodplain beside the Historic Blue Bell Inn on Philly’s Woodland Avenue, teams of people of all ages gathered at nearly 50 sites early in the morning and worked throughout the unseasonably steamy day:

Cobbs Creek Cleanup: 35 Years and Counting!

And the final totals measuring what that work accomplished are in: 55.87 tons of trash, litter, and debris, including 531 tires, removed from the watershed.

Two Cleanups Next Week

The Philadelphia Resilience Project, led by the City of Philadelphia, needs volunteers for its seventh Kensington cleanup on June 15. Please RSVP if you can make it.

On Wednesday, June 12 you can join us + the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary for a cleanup on the Delaware River in South Philadelphia.

At the Philadelphia Water Department’s designated cleanup site, dozens of volunteers and staff from PWD, the Darby Borough and the DCVA attacked both sides of Cobbs Creek, including areas along the Woodland Ave. bridge where short-dumping or illegal dumping has added to neighborhood litter for a challenging situation. (Read about renewed efforts to bust more dumpers that the City and Philly Police announced last week!)

Significant progress was made during the cleanup, but that’s not the end of it: additional plans are being developed right now to continue to remove the layers of embedded debris along Cobbs Creek’s streambanks. Stay tuned.

It’s a tough truth to swallow, but decades of litter and other issues have degraded urban waterways in significant ways, and our restoration work across the city is, in reality, a never-ending process that counts on volunteers and dedicated community stewardship.

Speaking of restoration… as has been the case at any number of recent large-scale watershed cleanups, our Waterways Restoration Team provided invaluable assistance and deployed heavy equipment (along with lots of muscle) to remove large items, debris, and the hundreds of tires. Most of those tires will end up being recycled thanks to a partnership with Bridgestone Tires.

Thanks Waterways Restoration!

Maria Horowitz, a PWD Environmental Engineer who worked with DCVA and other community groups to recruit volunteers and brought in the Waterways Restoration crews, says that while the cleanup is a uniquely massive annual event, it has something in common with the many other volunteer efforts she leads throughout the year.

“These events bring people from different parts of our region together in a special way,” says Horowitz, who grew up in Chester County and now calls South Philly home. “Most of the rivers and creeks in Philly’s seven watersheds only have a small percentage of their total miles within the city, so that shared sense of caring for our water is an important part of these volunteer events. People from the suburbs get to see that Philly cares about these waterways, and vice versa.”

Volunteers also recently gathered at Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philly, and additional trash-busting events are planned for this summer and fall.

Want to get involved?

Sign up for our event updates here or text PWD Events to 468311.
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