Friends of Heinz Refuge Offers Website to Help Residents Know about Opportunities to Reduce Eastwick Flood Risk and Expand Critical Natural Habitat


By Jaclyn Rhoad

Friends Group Seeks Input from Residents and Others 

Friends of Heinz Refuge has launched the “Leave It To Nature” campaign to urge the  City of Philadelphia to use the 124.5-acre plot of land connected to the John Heinz National  Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum Marsh for ameliorating flooding in the Eastwick community and  improve natural habitat. 

The undeveloped land, adjacent to the northern boundary of Heinz Refuge, has been the  subject of recent studies to determine its future development potential. Included in the study is  modeling that demonstrated the potential to re-establish the land as a constructed wetland to  reduce flooding in the Eastwick section of Philadelphia. 

For decades residents of the Eastwick neighborhood in Philadelphia have been subjected  to severe and nuisance flooding resulting from storm events that cause Cobbs and Darby creeks to flood into the Eastwick neighborhood. This is common where flood plains are developed or  drained and has been problematic in Eastwick for many years. Potential for flooding is only  expected to worsen with rising sea levels and tidal flooding from Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.  

“Most of the land adjacent to the refuge is in a FEMA flood zone. There’s no reason to  explore any MAJOR development of the land if it can be put to use as a wetland to absorb  flooding stormwater and help Eastwick residents,” said Jaclyn Rhoads, vice-president of Friends  of Heinz Refuge. 

The 2021 Eastwick Hydraulic and Hydrologic Study prepared by the Philadelphia  Redevelopment Authority and funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency  modeled multiple storm and sea level rise scenarios and their impact on the 124.5-acre parcel and  other vacant city-owned property in the Eastwick section. Only one model showed a plan that  could potentially reduce flooding in the surrounding community, and that model included  restoring most of the 124.5-acre parcel as a wetland. Residents can find more information and complete a survey about this option at the Leave  It To Nature campaign website –

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