WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards installed six downspout planters across Chester and Delaware Counties to teach residents about reducing stormwater runoff.
Downspout planters are decorative landscaped planters specially designed to absorb and filter stormwater before it enters stormwater management or sewer systems. Roofs, and other impervious surfaces, do not allow fallen rain to soak into the ground. Instead, this rain runs over the surface as stormwater runoff, often collecting pollutants, eroding exposed soils, and potentially causing flooding and other damages. By diverting some of the stormwater runoff from roofs, these downspout planters slow the flow of water which allows more infiltration into our soils and absorption by vegetation.
The demonstration downspout planters were installed in Delaware County at the Environmental Center in Smedley Park and the Delaware County Conservation District in Rose Tree Park. In Chester County, they were planted at the Caln Township Municipal building, and the compost center buildings in Caln Township and West Bradford Township. The downspout planters are highly visible to the public with linked educational signage to help residents learn more about stormwater runoff and strategies that everyone can adopt at home to reduce runoff leaving their properties. “One day in and I’ve already gotten lots of compliments about our new downspout planters (it probably helps that it’s been a rainy one, so everyone can see them in action)!” said Abbey Swan, Community Outreach Specialist at Caln Township and Master Watershed Steward.
These installations were funded by the $10,000 Healing the Planet grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, supported by The Giant Corporation. The grant was awarded to the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards to provide for the installation of thirty demonstration downspout planters across the state, two stormwater basin naturalization projects, and one live stake nursery installation across the state. Thank you to Caln Township, Delaware County Conservation District, Delaware County Parks and Recreation, and West Bradford Township for collaborating on these educational stormwater management installations.
For more information about the downspout planters or the Master Watershed Steward Program in Chester & Delaware Counties, please contact program coordinator Meagan Hopkins-Doerr at 610-696-3500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Jen Cerimele, Penn State Extension