Chester County's Comprehensive Water Resource Plans

WatershedsLogo_12-1Thoughtful, science-based planning for water resource management is critical for balancing what nature provides with what our communities need, both today and in the future. Chester County is currently working with experts and stakeholders to update the County-wide integrated water resources plan, Watersheds 2045

The original Watersheds plan, release in 2002, guided two decades of work to protect and enhance streams, lakes, and groundwater. For more on the original plan, click here. The newly revised plan will continue that legacy, and will also serve as the County’s Rivers Conservation Plan and Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan

Watersheds 2045 is expected to be released by the end of 2023. Please email us at [email protected] if you have questions or would like more information about the planning process.

Accomplishments since 2002

Significant progress has been made to protect and enhance Chester County's water resources since the first Watersheds plan was published in 2002. 

Streams, floodplains, wetlands, and riparian areas are better protected through improved municipal natural resources and stormwater management planning:

  •  Over 90% of the County’s municipalities have adopted wetland and woodland protection ordinances and more than 60% have ordinances protecting riparian buffers
  • More than 2,000 agricultural Best Management Practices and 730 acres of riparian buffer have been installed with assistance from the Chester County Conservation District
  • More than 42,000 acres of open space have been protected since 2002 through Chester County’s Open Space Municipal Grant Programs
  • The headwaters of French Creek and West Branch Crum Creek were successfully upgraded to Exceptional Value status.

Flood planning and preparedness efforts have expanded:

  • 100% of Chester County municipalities with floodplains (which includes 72 out of the County’s 73 municipalities) have adopted floodplain protection standards
  • Two regional flood control facilities in the Brandywine Creek watershed, Hibernia Dam and Beaver Creek Dam, were rehabilitated to comply with the latest PA DEP Dam Safety Standards
  • Watershed stewardship education and engagement programs have expanded
  • Penn State Extension established a Master Watershed Stewards Program in Chester County; participants in this program have volunteered over 6,000 hours completing projects and hosting educational events
  • An average of 300-400 students participate in the annual Chester County Envirothon each year

Water-based recreation opportunities have increased:

  • Two dams have been removed on the East Branch and the main stem of the Brandywine Creek to facilitate safe boating and angling opportunities
  • Access points along the Brandywine Creek, Schuylkill River, and Octoraro Creek have been improved

For more information on specific subwatershed plans, click here. For specific subwatershed Act 167 Stormwater Management Plans, click here, or here for the County's updated Stormwater Management model ordinance.