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Environmental Advisory Council

Rain Barrel Workshop

 EAC Rain Barrel Flyer 3

Rain Barrels will be given to the first 50 residents to registger.

If you have questions, please email contactus@lowergwynedd.org

To Register for the class please download and complete the Rain Barrel Regisration. You can either mail it back to the Township Building or drop it off.

Rain Barrel Registration

EAC NEWS & EVENTS

Battery Tube

Save Your Batteries!

And bring them to the township building for recycling!  The Lower Gwynedd Environmental Advisory Council has installed a battery receptacle in the breezeway and invites township residents to dispose of your household batteries there rather than sending them to the landfill.   

Household batteries include standard alkaline, nickel cadium (NiCd), lithium, button batteries and more (no car batteries!).  Some small electronics like cell phones are also accepted.

Please see specific instructions (you may need to tape and/or bag certain batteries) and a list of acceptable batteries at the receptacle, which is located next to the prescription medicine receptacle in the breezeway of the township building. 

Safe Battery Disposal Program

MATERIALS ACCEPTED AT THE TOWNSHIP BUILDING DROP OFF LOCATION

  • Alkaline (standard) (tape 9-volt tops)
  • Zinc Carbon
  • Nickel Cadium (NiCd)
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
  • Lithium-ion (bag or tape before dropping)
  • Lithium Primary (bag or tape before dropping)
  • Mercury Batteries
  • Silver Oxide
  • Button Cells
  • Lead-Acid (non-spillable, no car batteries) (bag or tape before dropping)
  • Small Electronics (cell phones, iPods, tablets, power tools, etc.)

EAC LOGO CONTEST

Entry is closed. The winner of the contest will be announced shortly. Winners will be announced on the Township website and newsletter. The winner will receive a Spruce Creek Rain Saver Rain Barrel and bragging rights! Please click the link below to view the rules and learn how to enter the contest. Good luck!

LOGO CONTEST INFORMATIONAL FLYER

 

Mission Statement

To educate, facilitate and promote awareness of sustainable practices within Lower Gwynedd Township and the greater community.

Who We Are

Lower Gwynedd Township residents dedicated to ensuring a greater quality of life for our community through educational outreach, involvement and best practices. Contact us at EAC@lowergwynedd.org.

Accomplishments

  • Established outreach through our Facebook page to support the Townshp's sustainability efforts.
  • Mike McGrath, a nationally syndicated speaker, presented organic and sustainable lawn care practices at June 2012 community event.
  • Planted five native tree species to provide habitat, shelter and food for wildlife at the historic Ingersoll / Claytor House.
    • White Oak
    • Sweet Gum
    • Eastern Redbud
    • Clump River Birch
    • Red Maple
  • Provided instruction on proper composting techniques at June 2012 community event.
  • Promoted the importance of native plant species and provided tree planting and care instruction at June 2012 community event.
  • Convened meetings with stakeholders at high school, senior residential communities and township representative to coordinate future recycling events.
  • Provided educational outreach about recycling and Recyclebank Program.
  • Conducted a Christmas Bird Count, December 2012 at Treweryn Farm Trail in which the following Birds were identified: Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, White Throated Sparrow, Mallard Ducks.
  • Sponsored a Stormwater Manangement community event in April 2013 and installed a rain garden at the Ingersoll / Claytor House.

Initiatives & Programs in Development

  • Organize stormwater management event (April 20, 2013) to feature workshops, hands on activities, educational outreach and participation from local organizations
  • Establish Lower Gwynedd Township as an Audubon Society-designated Bird Town

Ongoing Efforts & initiatives

  • Promote the Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover through educational outreach
  • Through educational outreach, encourage residents, schools and businesses to promote sustainable practicies
  • Support the Township's Annual e-waste collection events and distribute reusable shopping bags
  • Encourage active participation in wildlife habitat creation and preservation
  • Provide stormwater management awareness and education
  • Lower Gwynedd Township Business Recycling effort - business community group is interested in the "I Like the Pike" effort and revitalization for economic development and sustainability
  • Engage with Wissahickon School District to partner on sustainable projects with the goal of student body involvement


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LOGO Jpg

Welcome to Bird Town!
What Do Those Signs Mean?

By Steven Saffier, Audubon Pennsylvania

Lower Gwynedd township has become the 24th Audubon Bird Townin Pennsylvania and the fifth in Montgomery County. The township’s environmental committee, Gwynedd Green, will work closely with Audubon Pennsylvania and community partners to provide information to residents on ways to create healthier, more sustainable and bird-friendly landscapes while addressing issues such as stormwater management and pesticide usage.

The township is in the Wissahickon watershed, an area of land that contains quality habitat and a critical part of the Atlantic Flyway, the super-highway of bird migration. Lower Gwynedd, with its open space, trail system, and wooded developments, provides rich resources to wildlife and opportunities for people experience nature in their backyard and beyond.

Homes and other properties can be an important part of healthy habitat and can be recognized through Audubon’sBird Habitat Network; residents can register their property, learn more about how to care for the nature around them, and receive incentives such as a business discount card. Homeowners can go tohttp://pa.audubon.organd select the “register your yard” button to start. There is useful information on the website to help you improve your ecological footprint.

Stewardship workshops, bird walks, and other presentations are being scheduled forBird Townresidents. Please check the website and be sure to like us on Facebook (birdtownpa) where updates are posted.

Audubon is proud to be working with Lower Gwynedd Township and looks forward to many years of nature education and improved landscapes for birds and people! For more information, please contact Steven Saffier of the Gwynedd Green Committee ssaffier@audubon.org.

Township Newsletter Articles & Bird Town Newsletters

Slow the Flow! Rain Barrels and Water Conservation in the Garden

For many homeowners, gardens provide a source of beauty and contentment. Gardens also provide an opportunity for wise water management practices that positively impact both the quality and quantity of water in the local watershed.

We all live in a watershed. But what exactly is a watershed? A watershed is best defined as an area of land where all the water that is under the land or drains off the land goes to the same place, usually a creek, river, lake, ocean or other body of water.

Perhaps it is easiest to think of a watershed as a gigantic drainage basin or area in which all water, sediments and dissolved materials flow from the land into a common body of water. According to the U.S. EPA, the continental United States has 2110 watersheds.

Why are watersheds important?

Clean water and healthy watersheds are determined by both the quality and the quantity of water within the watershed.

Water quality refers to the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water with respect to its suitability for a particular purpose; consider water for drinking versus water for washing the car.

Water quantity relates to the amount of impervious surfaces, such as roadways and rooftops, which cannot absorb water. This water runoff results in erosion and flooding. Impervious surfaces channel pollutants directly into streams without being processed by infiltrating the soil during transport. Best management practices suggest that, as a homeowner, it is important to keep the water that falls on your property . . . on your property! Don't let water run off your property.

Here's what you can do to help keep our watersheds healthy:

  • reduce storm water runoff and increase local recharge
  • reduce fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide use
  • clean up pet waste which introduces harmful bacteria into the water supply

Garden practices that incorporate rain barrels minimize storm water runoff by retaining water for later use in the garden.

Rain barrels collect water that would normally flow directly off the roof, through gutter down spouts, and become storm water runoff. Using this runoff for your garden (1) conserves water for plants during dry periods, (2) saves you the time that you would have spent watering garden plants, and (3) provides you with a consistent supply of free soft (no chlorine, lime or calcium) water for outdoor use.

Rain barrels come in many shapes and sizes. It is best to select a barrel that is sealed to prevent children or animals from accidentally falling into the barrel.

Rain barrels operate on a gravity-fed system so they usually need to be elevated on top of a single or double layer of cinderblocks or the like. The existing down spout should be interrupted at the correct height of the barrel's water intake opening using a diverter and/or flexible tubing. These are readily available online from sources such as Spruce Creek Rainsaver as well as in some local hardware stores.

It's critical to connect an overflow hose to the barrel. The water overflow hose should be able to accommodate excess water so that, during a significant rain event, water can exit the barrel without gushing out and onto the building foundation.

The amount of rain that will run off the roof can be readily calculated using the following formula:

                Sample Rain Calculation

Assume ½ inch of rain (0.5 inch) on an 800 square foot section of roof

Standard value - 1 inch rain on 1,000 sq. ft. roof yields 623 gallons of water.

800 sq. ft. x 0.5 in. x 623 = 249,200

249,200 divided by 1,000 = about 250 gallons of storm water runoff

If you have a 54-gallon barrel, it is very important to have an overflow pipe!

The contents of the barrel can be used for hand watering or may be connected to a soaker hose that is attached to the barrel's spigot. If a soaker hose is connected, leave the barrel's spigot valve open continuously (24/7), this will allow the water to infiltrate the soil at a slow pace.

If the barrel usage rate slows down over time, shingle dust from the roof may have clogged the pores and accumulated in the soaker hose requiring the soaker hose to be flushed out by running water from an outdoor faucet through the soaker hose.

Make sure the barrel has a fine mesh screen to prevent mosquitoes from entering and laying eggs. As an added precaution, a "Dunks" or similar biological pest control (Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) 10%) may be tossed into the barrel to kill mosquito larvae. "Bt" is not harmful to pets, birds or insects.

It is not recommended that water from a rain barrel be used on food crops as roof shingles may contain undesirable materials.

To winterize the barrel simply flip the diverter switch or disconnect the downspout and reconnect the old downspout. Finally, flip the barrel upside down. Accumulated sediment can be flushed out of the barrel by removing the mesh screen during spring installation.

Do-it-yourself rain barrels are popular and there are numerous sources of information on the internet. Check with your local county extension service or search YouTube for the Penn State Three Minute Gardener - keywords "rain barrel." This short video clip provides precise instructions for making your own rain barrel.

Rain barrels are easy to install, maintain and use.  Most importantly, they provide an effective way to conserve water and keep our watersheds healthy and our creeks, rivers and lakes free from contamination.

For more information visit:

https://extension.psu.edu/rain-barrels

https://www.pwdraincheck.org/en/stormwater-tools/rain-barrels

https://www.epa.gov/soakuptherain/soak-rain-rain-barrels

REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE

We’ve all heard this mantra of the green movement. The third tenant, recycling, is commonplace; we can put metals, glass, plastics, and paper in our curbside recycling bins (although can always do a better job of getting more items in there), and there are collections for other items that can’t be put in curbside bins like our recent electronics recycling event. REDUCE and REUSE may be a bit more challenging and require more creativity, but they are not hard, and we have many local resources to assist in our efforts. Not creating waste to start with is the first step, and reusing items is a great way to do this. 

There are a number of local, online networks were you can post items that you are no longer using, but still have life left in them, so instead of throwing them out, you can find someone else who can reuse them. Or before buying something new, take a look and see if anyone is looking to gift the item you are thinking about buying, or even look to buy it used. If you are on Facebook there is a new group called Buy Nothing Ambler/Blue Bell/Lower Gwynedd Township, PA (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1278395978933297/); there are local Freecycle.org boards with which you can connect on your desktop computer or download the Trash Nothing app to connect a number of local Freecycle sites in one place, and the online marketplace Craigslist.com has a Free section on the For Sale board (https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/d/free-stuff/search/zip). These resources are for free items, and there are even more items that can be found for sale online or at local thrift stores, so you can purchase used instead of buying new. And you can donate items you would like to get rid of that can still be used by someone else. Local thrift stores have drop-off times to take items, or if they are large (like furniture) some may even come pick them up. Many local organizations will come pick up bags of clothing and household items as well, just google “local clothing donation” for a number of groups that you can schedule to pick up.

There are so many resources available, and so many people willing to take your unwanted items, so please before just dumping something in the garbage spend a little time to see if someone else could use it. It’s a shame to fill our landfills with usable items.

Stormwater: Nuisance or Natural Resource?

What you should know and what you can do

You want to live in a township that offers great schools, diverse and attractive housing stock, reasonable taxes, very little crime, easy access to both Philadelphia and more rural parts of Montgomery and Bucks Counties, convenient shopping and lots of woods, streams, and trails and parks-just like Lower Gwynedd.

Lower Gwynedd is such a desirable place to live that our population has been growing: according to census figures, the township had 12.3% more households (and 9.4% more people) in 2010 compared to 2000. In many ways, population growth benefits our township. For example, it means higher tax revenues to support township initiatives and justifies more diverse small business development. Population growth also brings challenges, including environmental ones.

There are the obvious traffic issues as well as the air and water pollution associated with higher concentrations of automobiles and land development and redevelopment projects.

Stormwater runoff presents numerous challenges. Stormwater runoff is water that originates during precipitation from rainfall or snowmelt that moves over ground during and immediately following a storm and does not infiltrate into the ground. In a watershed undergoing land development, such as Lower Gwynedd Township, the amount of stormwater runoff after a rainfall event can increase significantly! More impervious surfaces such as pavement, driveways, buildings, and parking lots prevent runoff from infiltrating into the ground.

Even more problematic are the long-term effects of increasing amounts of natural habitat being turned into impermeable surfaces such as roads, driveways, parking lots and buildings. Some examples:

  • Fewer wooded lots, trees, shrubs and home gardens prevent rain water from slowly entering the aquifer. Healthy forests and woodlands absorb rain like sponges and prevent large volumes of runoff into streams and drainage systems. These natural areas serve as natural air cleaners by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen and also provide important habitats for many animal and bird species.
  • Asphalt and concrete retain the sun's heat, which raises surrounding air temperature and produces heat sinks.
  • Fewer woods and native plantings lead to fewer species that rely on them, including birds and helpful insects, which lead to increased pressures on ecosystems.
  • Impervious surfaces lead to increased stormwater runoff because the runoff cannot infiltrate into the ground.
  • Land development practices include diverting rainwater off-site as quickly as possible. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground rapidly flows over land picking up debris, fertilizers, sediment, pet waste, residues from roadways, and dissolved pollutants. The untreated runoff is transported to the nearest storm drain and eventually to streams and rivers. This untreated runoff harmfully affects water quality needed to support ecosystems and protect drinking water quality.

Stormwater runoff also costs homeowners! Stormwater quickly flows and can flood areas downstream from developed land, which can damage homes and businesses, flood septic system drain fields and overwhelm streams and wetlands. There are the additional financial costs, including more frequent flooding of roads and damage to infrastructure.

Failure to properly manage runoff can lead to flooding can cause greater stream channel erosion. Naturalized landscapes, trees, shrubs, gardens, riparian buffers and vegetative lawns (rather than impervious surfaces) help to slow down rainfall, allowing it to gradually soak into the ground and recharge aquifers.

The Township places special emphasis on stormwater management and has a lot of useful information on this issue and what you can do to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff. View the Stormwater Management page for more information.

In addition to the Township's ongoing efforts, the Gwynedd Green Committee's main focus over the next few months will be on helping Township residents take steps to reduce stormwater runoff. Naturalized landscapes help to filter and absorb runoff while providing important localized habitats for birds and butterflies and beneficial insects such as bees.

Another website to visit to gather information regarding stormwater runoff is the EPA website. Residents can also view a video listed on this page titled "Reduce Runoff: Slow it Down, Spread it Out, Soak it In."

Lower Gwynedd Township

Administration Building
1130 N Bethlehem Pike
PO Box 625
Spring House, PA 19477

Phone: (215) 646-5302
Fax: (215) 646-3357
contactus@lowergwynedd.org

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