Stormwater and Flooding

July 3, 2017

Upper Watershed Stormwater and Flooding Priority: Communities are prepared for the effects of flooding and prioritize green infrastructure.

In the New York, 41% of ETS survey respondents and the Northern PA region, 18% were displaced or inconvenienced by a flooding event in the past 10 years—the highest in the watershed.

  • Identify and protect priority floodplains, wetlands, and natural areas.
  • Develop education and training about stream processes and floodplain functions and conduct outreach to municipalities and the public.
  • Collect data on the capacity of culverts to prioritize the needs for “right-sizing.”
  • Map roadside drainage systems and research techniques for reducing the impacts of ditches on flooding and water quality.


Middle Watershed Stormwater and Flooding Priority: New development prioritizes stormwater management. Investments in restoration, conservation, and green infrastructure provide measurable and sustainable ecosystem service benefits.

The word “development” was the most frequent word used in comprehensive and open space plans for seven of the nine counties in this region whose plans were assessed in the ETS community engagement campaign. Increased development can lead to more stormwater runoff and flooding.

  • Incentivize long-term green infrastructure planning that delivers multiple benefits. For example, SGP works with municipal and county planners to install rain gardens as a flood mitigation strategy. Rain gardens help satisfy stormwater permit requirements with the added co-benefits of providing pollinator habitat and greening downtowns.
  • Establish long-term monitoring sites, like the collaborative aquatic long-term research sites in Loyalsock Creek watershed established by Susquehanna University’s Freshwater Research Initiative (FRI), to evaluate impacts of disturbance on biological communities.
  • Utilize citizen science to add capacity to the stormwater community.
  • Protect restoration investments through conservation easements.


Lower Watershed Stormwater and Flooding Priority: Restore the river to a drinkable, swimmable state by accelerating the pace of agricultural restoration and stormwater improvements.

Due in large part to its position within the watershed, this section is considered one of the most impaired sections of the river and is also within closest proximity to the watershed’s highest-density population centers.

  • Build collaboration across both state borders and county lines.
  • Integrate evidence-based decision making into Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits and Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plans (CBPRP).
  • Track progress toward stormwater goals and utilize innovative pollution reduction models to prioritize projects with the greatest potential to protect and improve water quality.