By Lauren McGrath & Anna Willig, Willistown Conservation Trust

The focus area of Willistown Conservation Trust  (WCT) includes over 190 miles of headwater streams in the Darby Creek, Crum Creek, and Ridley Creek watersheds, which are all tributaries to the Delaware River. Everything that happens in the headwaters of a stream impacts the rest of the system, meaning that any action taken in the WCT focus area has consequences for water quality that extend far beyond our region.

The Watershed Protection Program was established in 2017 through a generous grant from William Penn Foundation and a strong partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The Watershed Protection Program is part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI), which was established to study existing water conditions within the Delaware River basin and to coordinate efforts, around both data collection and analysis, to develop best management practices for land use that can help improve water quality. With the support of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Stroud Water Research Center, WCT Watershed Protection staff implemented a water quality monitoring program to understand how WCT’s conservation efforts have impacted local stream health.

Since 2018, the Watershed Protection Program has monitored water quality at ten sample sites in the headwaters of Darby, Crum, and Ridley Creeks. Every four weeks, the team visited each of the ten sites to take in-stream measurements and collect samples for analysis in the lab.

WCT has published their comprehensive findings on water quality in a State of our Streams Report. This report covers in-depth analysis of our data collected from 2018 through 2021, which includes 41 monitoring visits and over 7,500 different measurements.