Darby Creek Valley Association Cleans Up Darby Creek Watershed with Help from DEP’s Coastal Resources Management Program, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and Surrounding Community

(December 8, 2020) Darby Creek Valley Association (DCVA), with the help of Darby Borough, the Philadelphia Water Department and the DCVA’s strong base of local volunteers teamed up to tackle a long standing illegal dump located along Cobbs Creek’s western bank. The trash, presumably put there by contractors and non-borough residents, had accumulated over decades.

The multi-phased project, sponsored in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Resources Management Program and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, is an effort to improve both the living conditions and water quality along a reach of Cobbs Creek that flows through Darby and Yeadon Boroughs in Delaware County. In its first phase, heavy equipment removed larger items, making it easier for the 32 volunteers to access the area to hand pick and bag smaller items. Over three days, 32,880 pounds of trash and 23 tires were removed from the creek and its shore area.

But DCVA didn’t stop there. An additional 24 cleanups and 512 volunteers removed 55,668 pounds of debris and 34 tires during the Darby Creek Watershed Wide Cleanup that spanned four counties, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia and 126 linear miles of waterway. This 36th annual cleanup was postponed in the spring due to novel coronavirus (covid-19) restrictions.

“Numerous municipal partners, scout troops, school groups, veteran groups and community volunteers joined forces to make this a success. Many hands make light work and everyone did an incredible job and went over and above at times. They are truly amazing,” said Susan Miller, Director of Darby Creek Valley Association. “DCVA staffed each clean up to assure that everyone followed covid restrictions. Everyone wore masks or remained socially distanced. Having the trash pickers that were funded by DEP’s Coastal Resources Management Program was a blessing and made people feel more comfortable picking up discarded bottles and food wrappers.”

To see video of the watershed cleanup visit: https://www.facebook.com/QuanTa323/videos/10158234584483411.

The Darby Creek Watershed headwaters start in Chester and Montgomery County and flow through Eastern Delaware County and parts of Philadelphia, and through John Heinz Wildlife Refuge before entering the Delaware River. Cobb’s Creek is the largest named tributary of Darby Creek. The cleanups will not only help protect the regions waterways, but will also prevent the trash from moving farther downstream and entering the ocean.

“We are honored to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Resources Management Program that provided support for these cleanups. We are grateful for DCVA, the municipalities and local volunteers who gave up personal time to get wet and dirty to help keep our waterways clean. Our oceans connect the entire planet. Once trash reaches our oceans, it can cause harm to sea life by entangling them or being mistaken for food. Plastics and other debris work their way up the food chain, affecting what we consume. It really has dire consequences,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “We are always truly amazed at what can be accomplished when the community works together, especially during these trying times.”

Additional improvements planned for the area include partial removal of the Woodland Avenue Dam, to restore shad and herring runs and tidal flow that have been absent from this reach of the Creek for more than 200 years, and the addition of a walking trail will provide recreation for and connectivity to surrounding communities. DCVA also plans to continue active outreach to educate the local residents about the important role Cobbs Creek plays in the local watershed.

To prevent new dumping, Darby Creek Valley Association has applied for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Illegal Dump Free PA camera program. The program supplies approved nonprofits, municipalities and government agencies with a set of high-quality, motion-activated, covert-security cameras that provide instant wireless transmission of photos of site activity.  DCVA also plans to work closely with Darby and Yeadon Boroughs’ police and municipal officials to increase fines and sentences for illegal construction dumping at the site and throughout their jurisdictions. For more information about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Illegal Dump Free PA camera program, visit https://www.keeppabeautiful.org/illegal-dump-free-pa/.

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About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 147 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices.  Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania.  Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.

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