Concepts related to Innovative Communities
Green Communities are "sustainable communities": communities that integrate a healthy environment, a vibrant economy, and a high quality of life. Green Communities strive to:
The Swatara Creek Watershed encompasses 570 square miles in Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties in southcentral Pennsylvania. The watershed embraces all or part of 46 cities, boroughs and townships with a total population of 840,665 and growing. The watershed is characterized by forested uplands, rolling farmlands, a long-standing German and Amish culture, a variety of recreational opportunities and diverse economies (including the home of Hershey chocolates!). The active groups, including the Quittapahilla Creek and Manada Conservancy, Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails, the Northern Swatara Association, Sweet Arrow Lake and Union Canal Tunnel Park groups, mobilize hundreds of volunteers to stabilize streambanks, preserve history, acquire sensitive lands, create trails and more.
As a participating Green Community, the SCWA and its partners will continue to focus on the restoration of the watershed through administration of abandoned mine drainage abatement projects (with County Conservation Districts), assist in county stormwater management planning in cooperation with the PA DEP Bureau of Watershed conservation, assist in greenway design along the Swatara Creek, and work with industry and DEP to reduce nonpoint source pollution. The recent award of a PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources River's Conservation grant will assist in further action planning for the watershed.
The SWCA exemplifies the tenets of community-based environmental protection and the goals of the Green Communities Program. The commitment to have broad stakeholder participation, to view the watershed in a more holistic way, to develop partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, to focus on results and to build capacity to move forward sustainable development activities are all key to building livable, Green Communities.