Project Context

Two small creeks wend their way through a world class arboretum dating to the Centennial Exhibition and a carefully manicured 17th c. Japanese house and garden on their way to the Schuylkill. Their banks are dotted with public art, quiet walks and a dense, verdant greenhouse. Lansdowne and Montgomery Creeks in West Park are the very reasons Fairmount Park was established. Yet, the need to protect our city’s water sources by cherishing and preserving these small tributary valleys—and their habitats—is just as vital today. But diminished resources and incursions of infrastructure have separated these creeks from their sustaining upland watersheds and they no longer converse with the cultural landscapes around them. Sadly, their capacity to keep our waters clean and foster plant and animal life has suffered. Led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management Division, a transformative demonstration project aims to restore these important stream valleys.

Both the northern Montgomery Creek valley and the southern Lansdowne Glen are severely depleted. Construction debris covers the northern floodplain. Severe gullies in the southern creek degrade water quality and separate trails. Where Lansdowne Creek meets the Expressway, broken pipes and clogged inlets add sediment and create sinkholes. Segments of a dilapidated—and ineffective—chain link fence bisect habitats and frustrate access. Invasive species proliferate and deer browse on young native trees and shrubs.



Project Objectives

  • Across nearly 30 acres: remove non-native, invasive species
  • Retain all woody debris on site to enhance soils
  • Seed site to prevent erosion
  • Remove and replace the chain link fence with deer exclosures
  • Apply herbicide to prevent return of invasive species
  • In Lansdowne Glen, create a floodplain forest to accept stormwater surges
  • Fix gullies, armor stream banks and repair pipes and drains

For more information or to help fund this project please call Meg Holscher, our Senior Director of Development at 215.607.3479.