Water & You Learning Center

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Highlands Water and You Learning Center

Scroll right and left to discover how we use water everyday, where that water comes from and how each one of us can help protect our drinking water and the water in our rivers and creeks for fish and other wildlife. Click around to find helpful tips, hints and more informative resources about specific issues and challenges.

Rain Barrels Help Keep Dirt and Pollutants Out of Our Creeks and Rivers

Indicator of Watershed Health: Community members are engaged in protecting water quality by managing run-off at home.

When it rains, water lands on our homes, roads and other "non-green" spaces. This water then runs off into creeks and rivers carrying dirt and pollutants. By collecting rainwater, it can be used to water flower gardens and trickle back into the ground, where it can be cleaned and stored. Using rain barrels and other small adaptations to your home's gutters and drainage helps protect water quality and quantity and can be a fun activity to share with your friends and family. Learn about rain barrel workshops near Philadelphia offered through the Philadelphia Water Department.

Rain Barrels Help Keep Dirt and Pollutants Out of Our Creeks and RiversPhoto by Keri Maxfield

Farms Can Help Protect Water Quality

Indicator of Watershed Health: Downstream communities have clean water for drinking, fishing and swimming because upstream communities work together.

Helping farmers manage their lifestock and crops in a more environmentally friendly way, through grants and incentives, keeps water cleaner as it flows into small creeks and rivers. Some rivers that begin in the Pennsylvania Highlands flow downstream to provide drinking water to Philadelphia and other cities, while other rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States.

Farms Can Help Protect Water Quality

Local Farms Growing Food for Your Table

Indicator of Watershed Health: A healthy environment means that farmers are providing local foods while keeping the best farmland from being developed for other proposes.

The Pennsylvania Highlands have some of the most fruitful farmlands around. These farms provide local food to communities, farm-markets, restaurants and grocery stores around Pennsylvania. The Eat Fresh, Buy Local program can help you find local food and farms throughout the Pennsylvania Highlands.

Local Farms Growing Food for Your Table Photo by T.L. Gettings

The Loss of Farmland - Protecting our Heritage

Indicator of Watershed Health: A healthy environment means that farmers are providing local foods while keeping the best farmland from being developed for other proposes.

Protecting our farmland from development ensures that we can continue to enjoy local foods in the future and keeps community character. Although farmland makes up 35% of the Pennsylvania Highlands, only 16% of farmland is currently preserved. Of the Pennsylvania's entire farmland preservation program, almost 70% of all farmland protection takes place in the Pennsylvania Highlands. Learn more about farmland protection efforts.

The Loss of Farmland - Protecting our Heritage

Forests Clean Our Water and Recharge Underground Aquifers

Indicator of Watershed Health: To protect drinking water quality for an entire watershed, no more than 10% of the land should be covered with pavement or other impervious surfaces.

Almost half a million acres of forests and woodlands in the Pennsylvania Highlands help to purify our drinking water. The largest forested area in the region is the Hopewell Big Woods at 73,000 continuous acres. Forests clean our drinking water by filtering out pollutants as water seeps through the soil into natural, underground storage areas known as aquifers. Water then trickles through the aquifer and keeps water in the streams of the Pennsylvania Highlands, which flows downstream and provides clean drinking water to Philadelphia and other cities. The US Geological Service monitors groundwater levels around the country. Click here to learn more about groundwater and click here to learn more about aquifers.

Forests Clean Our Water and Recharge Underground Aquifers Photo by T.L. Gettings

Water and You Learning Center

Interactive Guide to Water Resources of the PA Highlands

Scroll right and left to discover how we use water everyday, where that water comes from and how each one of us can help protect drinking water and water in our rivers and creeks for fish and other wildlife. Click around to find helpful tips, hints and more informative resources about specific issues and challenges.

News

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Recorded Webinar: "In Defense of Public Lands: Some Lessons on its Biological, Economic, and Social Value"

Watch the webinar from early June 2020 hosted by the PA Highlands Coalition, which featured Author and Professor of Political Science Steven Davis. Read More

AMC Produces Highlands Trail StoryMap

Using ESRI’s ArcGIS StoryMap platform, AMC staff prepared a custom interactive map that tells the story of the 300-mile long Highlands Trail in Pennsylvania. Read More

Recorded Webinar: "Protection of the Kittatinny Ridge: A Global Important Bird Area"

Watch the webinar from early April 2020 to learn more about the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape, northern neighbor to the PA Highlands region. Read More

Highlight the Highlands: Nolde Forest Expanded

Located in the middle of the Pennsylvania Highlands region, Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center boasts woodlands that are over 100 years old and it will now include 60 additional acres supported with funding from PA Bureau of State Parks and the federal Highlands Conservation Act. Read More