Policy & Process

We have come to expect clean water that is “drinkable, swimmable, and fishable”, but it wasn’t the federal government established the Clean Water Act in 1972 that such visions had real regulatory teeth behind them. Like many environmental laws, the CWA is intended to be a federal-state partnership, with the federal government (through the Environmental Protection Agency) setting the agenda and standards for pollution abatement, and states carrying out the day-to-day activities of implementation and enforcement.

In Southeastern Pennsylvania, the biggest contributor to water quality problems (and flooding) is stormwater runoff, which is regulated by the PA Department of Environmental Protection under CWA Section 319. DEP issues permits and delegates authority to counties and municipal governments—but for the law to work, local residents need to be attentive and involved.

Clean Water Act

  • CWA Summary

    A snapshot of the Clean Water Act by the Congressional Research Service.

  • CWA Owner’s Manual

    A friendly guide to the Clean Water Act, and how concerned citizens can use it to protect their watershed from the River Network.


  • Water Programs

    The Commonwealth’s programs for managing our water resources.

  • Stormwater BMP Manual

    Downloadable version of each chapter of the Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual, published by DEP in 2006.

Working Together

  • Planning Ahead

    Protecting water resources brings added benefits when done right.

  • Rethinking the Past

    Retrofits can slow the flow of runoff, spread it out, and soak it in by putting nature to work.

What’s the state of the Wissahickon Watershed?


Comprehensive Characterization Report (2007 )
Complete Report

Stream Assessment Study
Complete Report
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E

Biological Assessment (2006)

Act 167
Flooding & Management Plans

Flooding and Stormwater Management Plan for Ambler Area Watersheds (December, 2014)
Full Report

Fort Washington Area Flooding and Transportation Improvement Study (Sept 2008)
Draft Report

Rivers Conservation Plan (March 2000)
Download pdf

Montgomery County Open Space Plan
Download pdf

Prophecy Creek Park Master Plan (2009)
Download pdf

Cresheim Trail Feasibility Study (2008)
Download pdf

Nutrition & Siltation TMDL

Nutrient and Siltation TMDL for Wissahickon Creek, , US EPA Region 3 (2003)
Final Report