In 2006, the Brandywine Valley Association (BVA) initiated a program called “Red Streams Blue” to address the problem of impaired streams in the Brandywine Creek. BVA began this initiative by creating color-coded watershed maps: impaired streams were shown in red, while streams that had attained their designated use were displayed in blue. The goal of the program is to ensure that all streams in the Brandywine meet water quality standards–that “red” streams are turned “blue.”
Under this initiative, BVA completely assesses impaired watersheds to identify the impacted areas and the reasons for their impairment. From this assessment, a comprehensive restoration plan is developed to specify the corrective actions necessary for water quality improvement. Finally, projects are selected and implemented. “Red Streams Blue” also includes an extensive education and outreach program that teaches residents how to be good watershed stewards. To monitor improvements in water quality the BVA has established volunteer Environmental Stream Teams to conduct chemical and biological testing at sites in its restoration watersheds.
In March 2007, funding from Growing Greener helped BVA launch “Red Streams Blue” in the Radley Run watershed. The Department of Environmental Protection grant paid for a comprehensive assessment of the watershed and a restoration plan which outlined the best management practices and their costs. In addition to the assessment and restoration plan, the Growing Greener funds supported the development of a stream bank erosion and deposition protocol to be used by volunteers.
The assessment and restoration plan were completed in 2009. From the restoration plan, BVA selected a severely impaired reach of Radley Run for streambank and floodplain restoration and received an additional Growing Greener grant to support the necessary work.
Growing Greener funding has played a crucial role in transforming the “Red Streams Blue” program from a simple concept into successful restoration projects. The program is a scientific, systematic approach to stream restoration that can serve as a model for improving water quality in watersheds throughout Pennsylvania.