Welcome to Swarthmore College's Watershed Website

Swarthmore College Swarthmore Pennsylvania USA

(Webmaster: Arthur E. McGarity, Last Updated 4 March 2012)


Swarthmore College is expanding its involvement in watershed studies through education and research aimed at increasing our understanding of watershed problems and potential solutions to these problems. Our primary focus is the Crum Creek watershed, in which our campus is located, but we are also interested in issues pertaining to other nearby in the Piedmont region of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

This web site provides information on courses and projects at Swarthmore College related to watersheds, and it serves other local organizations that support watershed studies and watershed stewardship. It also contains links to useful watershed related web sites around the U.S. and around the world.

Little Crum Creek Action Plan Project - a partnership including Municipalities: Springfield Township, Swarthmore Borough, Ridley Township, and Ridley Park Borough with technical support from Swarthmore College and the Keystone Conservation Trust.

Priority Site Selections for Major BMP Projects (click to review). Please direct comments to Art McGarity (Swarthmore College) and Anne Murphy (Chester-Ridley_Crum Watersheds Assn.).


1. Little Crum Creek Assessment and Action Plan Phase 2 Final Report by Arthur E. McGarity and Anne Murphy - completed January 30, 2010 CLICK HERE (large pdf file)

2. Little Crum Creek Project Phase 1 Final Report: Riparian Corridor Best Management Practices by Arthur E. McGarity (Swarthmore College), Ginny Kreitler, Clare Billett, Phil Wallis (Keystone Conservation Trust), and Anne Murphy (Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association). CLICK HERE (large pdf file).

3. "Application of Nonpoint Source Pollutant Loading Models to Little Crum Creek Watershed," by Susan K. Willis and Arthur E. McGarity, Sigma Xi Summer Research Symposium, Sept. 25-26, 2008, Swarthmore College. CLICK HERE (Powerpoint presentation)

4. Karina Navarro (Senior Engineering Design Project Report), "A Land Conservation Extension of the StormWISE Model," May, 2009 - with application to Little Crum Creek watershed. CLICK HERE

5. Susan Willis (Senior Engineering Design Project Report), "Development of a Computer-Based Nonpoint Source Pollutant Loading Model for Small Suburban Watersheds," May, 2009 - with application to Little Crum Creek watershed. CLICK HERE

StormWISE Model Update: Version 1.1 is now available for download (new version without GIS interface - should run on Windows XP, Vista, and 7)

CLICK HERE for the latest on availability of executables and source code for the new StormWISE (Storm Water Investment Strategy Evaluator) model that can be used to prioritize areas for implementation of stormwater management facilities. StormWISE implements the models described in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Coastal Zone reports and the EPA Screening Optimization Model report which can be downloaded, below.

StormWISE papers:

November 2006: "A New Cost-Benefit Model for Stormwater Management Facilities," Presentation to the American Water Resources Association, Philadelphia Metropolitan Section: CLICK HERE (large pdf file)


Completed Watershed Projects at Swarthmore College


1. Full Report: Submitted to U.S. EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, November 30, 2006 CLICK HERE (large file)

2. Appendix A Only: Contains screen shots demonstrating use of the StormWISE software. CLICK HERE


Phase 1. Non-Point Source Modeling - Phase 1: Screening Model (Project completed March, 2005)

1. Full Report: "Decision Making for Implementation of Nonpoint Pollution Measures in the Urban Coastal Zone" CLICK HERE (large file)

2. Presentation: at the 2005 Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium, Villnova University, October 2005: CLICK HERE

Phase 2. Non-Point Source Modeling - Phase 2: Multiobjective Decision Model (Project completed October, 2005)

Full Report: "Non-Point Source Modeling - Phase 2: Multiobjective Decision Model" CLICK HERE (large file)

2001 - 2003: LOWER CRUM CREEK BMP IMPLEMENTATION PROJECTS - (PADEP Growing Greener Program): (1) Stormwater Wetland, (2) Natural Wetland Restoration, (3) Storm Sewer Labeling

1. Photos: Wetland Restoration and Stormwater Wetland Before/During/After Photos: CLICK HERE

2. Full Report: to PA Department of Environmental Protection: CLICK HERE (large file)

Crum Creek Water Quality Restoration and Protection Projects: Growing Greener Program Final Report, by Arthur E. McGarity reports on the results of our 3-year project to (1) restore a natural wetland in Swarthmore's Little Crum Creek Park, (2) to build a constructed wetland for stormwater treatment behind Ridley High School, and (3) to implement a pilot project for storm sewer inlet labeling and public education in Nether Providence and Springfield Townships.

1999 - 2001: LOWER CRUM CREEK WATERSHED ASSESSMENT - (PADEP/USEPA 319 Water Quality Program)

Full  Report: "Watershed Assessment of the Lower Crum Creek: Decision Support for a Community-Based Partnership," by Arthur E. McGarity,  Nonpoint Source Management and Watershed Restoration and Assistance Program Project, October 31, 2001:

CLICK HERE (large file)


Other Crum Creek Links

Crum Creek Monitoring Project - A student organization at Swarthmore College chartered in May, 1996. This web page shows a map of the lower Crum Creek with sites where chemical monitoring has been done on a regular basis.  Data and graphical analyses of these chemical parameters are shown.

Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association - Our Mission: To support, encourage, and promote the enjoyment, restoration, protection, and prudent management of the natural resources of the Chester, Ridley, and Crum Creek watersheds.  The CRCWA is a member of the Crum Creek Partnership.

Crum-Ridley-Chester Volunteer Water Monitors - Founded in 1990, this citizen-based volunteer group collects data on chemical and biological indicators of water quality in the Crum, Ridley, and Chester Creeks in Delaware County, southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1999, this group of volunteer water monitors merged with the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association.