Learn about the watersheds you live, work, and play in.

Black-and-white drawing of Philadelphia in the early 18th century, showing roads, houses, other types of buildings and streams

Philadelphia’s Watershed History

The distinct character of Philadelphia’s urban development patterns and watershed infrastructure is indicative of its history as a bustling industrial hub. Dating back to the mid-19th century, when industry and development flourished in Philadelphia, the City’s growing population marked the rapid decline of sanitary conditions. It was common practice to dump industrial waste and human […]

Wissahickon Watershed

From its headwater tributaries in Montgomery County to its confluence with the Schuylkill River in Manayunk, Wissahickon Creek Watershed offers a variety of recreational, historical, and stewardship experiences. The Wissahickon Gorge in the lower watershed has been long preserved as part of Fairmount Park, drawing visitors to its trails, interesting geology, and historic mill dams.

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed

The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed is full of vibrant neighborhoods and vast potential, and its distinct physical character lends opportunities for social and ecological improvement. Waterways and underground infrastructure stitch together many diverse communities in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Schuylkill Watershed

The Schuylkill River was the first river in Pennsylvania designated “scenic” under the Pennsylvania Scenic Waters Act of 1982, and one-quarter of the watershed is categorized as having high-quality or exceptional waters. The river and its tributaries have long been recognized for the important roles they play as a fish habitat and source of drinking […]

Poquessing Watershed

The Poquessing Creek Watershed rises from tributary streams in Lower Moreland and Lower Southampton Townships. These waters join the mainstem of the creek, which then carves out the border between Bensalem Township and Philadelphia before discharging into the Delaware River.

Pennypack Watershed

Pennypack Creek rises from headwater springs and wetlands in the suburbs of Horsham, Warminster, and Upper Southampton, then gains strength along its middle mainstem in Upper Moreland, Bryn Athyn, Lower Moreland and Abington. The creek then drops into the winding greenbelt of Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park before discharging into a broad mudflat on the Delaware River.

Delaware Watershed

The Delaware River Basin extends to the Catskill Mountains in New York State and stretches more than 330 miles through four states and 42 counties before draining through the Delaware Estuary to the Atlantic Ocean. Philadelphia’s entire land surface ultimately drains to one of seven watersheds that are tributaries to the Delaware River.

Darby-Cobbs Watershed

The Darby-Cobbs Watershed drains approximately 77 square miles, including portions of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. The headwaters of the Cobbs Creek sub-watershed begin in three distinct places: East Branch Indian Creek, which springs up in a small residential neighborhood in Narberth Borough; West Branch Indian Creek in Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County; […]

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