Planning on a Watershed Basis
Sustaining the water quality and quantity of the Manatawny Creek, Sprogels Run, and Sanatoga Creek watersheds is mutually beneficial for all municipalities. Actions that occur in one area of the watershed have impacts on other areas. Protecting surface and ground water resources is a coal throughout the watersheds, and requires intermunicipal communication and cooperation. One example of watershed-based planning involves stormwater management. Watershed Planning for stormwater management is being undertaken by the Berks County Planning Commission. Under PA Act 167, the Stormwater Management Act, all counties, in consultation with its municipalities, must prepare and adopt a stormwater management plan for each of its designated watersheds. In Berks County the designated watersheds are: Tulpehocken Creek, Maiden Creek, Manatawny Creek, and Schuylkill River. Within six months following adoption and approval of the plan, each municipality is required to adopt or amend stormwater ordinances as laid out in the plan. These ordinances must regulate development within the municipality in a manner consistent with the watershed stormwater plan. Developers are required to manage the quantity, velocity, and direction of resulting stormwater runoff in a manner that adequately protects health and property from possible injury. They must implement control measures that are consistent with the provisions of the watershed plan and the Act. The Act also provides for civil remedies for those aggrieved by inadequate management of accelerated stormwater runoff. Development in a watershed causes an increase in stormwater runoff and a reduction in groundwater recharge. A number of negative effects result from uncontrolled stormwater runoff. These include: downstream flooding, erosion and sedimentation problems, reduction in stream quality, increase in stream temperature, impairment of the aquatic food chain, and reduction in the base flow of the stream during the dry summer months. Stormwater management entails bringing surface runoff caused by precipitation events under control. This is not simply a site-specific problem, but requires an understanding of the dynamics of the whole watershed. It involves proper planning, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance.