A panel of regional experts will convene to set forth a vision for protecting and preserving the Wissahickon Watershed at a meeting entitled “A Creek in Crisis: Time for Action.”

At the meeting, to be held May 13 from 6 to 8 p.m., the panel will address the many issues relating to the Wissahickon Watershed and offer tangible ways to engage in protecting the 64-square mile area.

Hosted by the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA), the meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Arts Center Theater at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington. Light refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. Local organizations and businesses will also be exhibiting before the meeting.

The meeting is a follow up to a 2012 town hall gathering which began a regional conversation about the current conditions in the Wissahickon Creek with respect to flooding, water chemistry and biology, and the relationships between land use and watershed health.

The Wissahickon Creek is a significant waterway, providing approximately 10 percent of Philadelphia’s drinking water as well as recreation, beauty for area residents and habitat for local wildlife. The creek continues through nine municipalities to the confluence of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Over 130 species of birds can be found in the watershed, as well as 15 mammal species and 574 species of native plants.

The meeting’s panel will include Mike Helbing, a staff attorney with PennFuture; Jeffrey Featherstone, director of the Center for Sustainable Communities and professor in the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Temple University, and Chris Crockett, deputy commissioner of planning and environmental services at the Philadelphia Water Department. The program will be moderated by Patrick Starr, executive vice president of Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

“By bringing citizens together to learn more about the Wissahickon and its importance to the region,” said Maura McCarthy, executive director of FOW, “we hope to raise awareness about the creek as a valuable resource.”

Dennis Miranda, executive director of the WVWA, said, “When you educate municipalities and citizens alike on the issues facing the water quality of the Wissahickon Creek and get everyone on the same page, all of our collective actions can make a positive impact and move the needle on improving water quality.”

To register to attend the session, go to www.fow.org/creekincrisis.

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