A Decade Of Growing Greener - A Catalyst For Change In The Lititz Run Watershed

The Lititz Run Watershed Alliance has used the Growing Greener Program as a catalyst for bigger and brighter ideas throughout their community.

In 1999 the Watershed Alliance was awarded their first Growing Greener Grant to conduct a riparian buffer establishment project on a tributary stream to Lititz Run. The Wynfield project was situated on the Santo Domingo Creek Tributary and surrounded by predominately corporate owners.

Photo: before and after buffer was established.

The Watershed Alliance with the assistance from the local township, Warwick, was able to persuade property owners to convert nearly 5 acres of adjacent floodplain into a riparian buffer and wetland meadows.

The Watershed Alliance knew this project had the potential to stimulate further projects throughout the watershed because of its highly visible location. Working with the property owners, the township, an environmental engineering firm, and local volunteers the project was able to be put in the ground in the fall of 2000.

Over 1,300 trees and shrubs were planted in the riparian buffer area and over 3,000 wetland plant plugs were planted in adjacent wet meadows. Today these plantings are thriving (some trees over 50 ft tall) and create habitat where before none existed.

This project was only the beginning for the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance and their close relationship with the Growing Greener Grants program.

Further Growing Greener projects followed which included; a totally designed stream restoration project for over 1,300 feet of Lititz Run (1999), a large scale riparian buffer establishment project in a new residential development along a tributary to Lititz Run (2000), a complete stream restoration/relocation project involving 2,500 feet of Lititz Run (2001), and a stormwater best management practice demonstration area at the Warwick Township municipal campus (2006).

Couple these with DEP/EPA Section and other funding sources the Watershed Alliance has been able to secure and can see what a large conservation effort has been put into the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance. So the question beckons, what has all of this funding gone toward?

The Lititz Run Watershed in many regards optimizes the ongoing efforts to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay. The Run is a small headwater impaired stream in south central Pennsylvania that is bombard with point and nonpoint source pollution. Nutrients and sediment are the leading causes of this impairment and come from numerous sources.

The area around the watershed is seeing increased development pressure from out of state residents and retirees. Add in commercial space and the need to preserve the agricultural heritage of the region and one can see why Lititz Run could be poster child for the Bay.

Somehow with all of these issues the community has one thing that ties them together, the Watershed. This is thanks to the efforts of the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance, the local municipalities, and other nonprofit groups.

All have taken a vested interest in protecting the Lititz Run Watershed and educating those that live in the watershed on the importance of their piece of the Bay. Through stream projects, tree plantings, educational events, farm conservation efforts, and stormwater innovations the residents and community of the Lititz Run Watershed realized the importance of their footprint in the bigger scheme of things.

Ongoing efforts such as the Warwick Watershed Day event have educated thousands of 5th grade students in the Warwick School District. This program takes children out to the watershed to educate them on the importance of their natural environment. This program would not have happened if not for dedicated volunteers, a willing school district, and an active watershed association.

With this type of program in place there are now more students intone with their water environment and how their actions will not only affect themselves but all their neighbors downstream as well.

All of the efforts put forth toward Lititz Run have not totally removed the stream from the impaired stream list but they have done so much more in the process. The stream has been reclassified as a coldwater fishery from its original warmwater fishery designation.

Over twelve years worth of data has been gathered by local school students, volunteer monitors, and local agencies on the water quality of the Run to document improvements over time. Natural reproduction of brown trout is now taking place in Lititz Run where in the past this was not even possible.

The Watershed and its partners have been recognized with the CF Industries National Watershed Award in 2002. And in addition, EPA has designated Lititz Run as a Northeast Showcase Watershed for its community and local support.

Add in the most recent effort with the Lancaster County Conservation District and its partners to get a Conservation Plan on every farm (over 100) within Warwick Township to comply with the Federal Clean Stream Law and one can see why so much attention is directed toward Lititz Run.

All of these efforts were assisted by the Growing Greener Program. Perhaps not directly but through the Growing Greener Program these efforts were foster by the establishment and support of local grassroots efforts like the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance.

The Lititz Run Watershed Alliance should be used as an example of what state funding, local grassroots efforts, and partnership can do to clean up a local watershed. If we can do it here it can be duplicated throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


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