SJU Hosts Third Annual Storm Water Strategies Workshop

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

by Amanda Sapio ’13

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 27, 2013) – Excess storm water runoff causes significant damage to streams and waterways in many communities. Created through melted snow and excess rainwater, it leads to stream bank erosion, sewer overflow and downstream flooding. Historic landmarks and sites near rivers and streams may be particularly vulnerable to its hazards.

A free workshop titled “Preserving the Nature of Streams and Structures: A Workshop on Storm Water and Historic Preservation Issues” will be held at Saint Joseph's, in collaboration with the Lower Merion Conservancy, on Thursday, March 7, from 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. in the Campion Student Center. Registration is required. It will focus on the history of storm water, the negative effects it has on communities, and creative solutions to address the problem. Sessions on how storm water leads to financial incentives for preservation work on buildings and properties will also be included. 

“This year's workshop addresses the intersection between issues of storm water control, historic preservation, and open space management,” says Michael McCann, Ph.D., professor of biology and associate dean of sciences, mathematics and computer science. “Whether on a small scale, like the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, for example, or a large scale, such as Fairmount Park, storm water and its control poses a growing problem, especially when existing older buildings are part of the landscape. Speakers will address storm water control in historic areas, open spaces and on institutional grounds.”

The day will open with a welcome from the program’s two organizers, McCann and Patty Thompson, executive director of the Lower Merion Conservancy. Sessions include:

  • History and Storm Water in the Greater Philadelphia Region by Rob Armstrong, Preservation and Capital Projects Manager, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park
  • Government and Storm Water by Tavon Booker, SEPTA
  • Pennsylvania's New Historic Preservation Incentive Tax Credit by Cory Kegerise, Community Preservation Coordinator, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • Storm Water Issues with Open Space, Institutions and Trails by Tom Witmer, Director, Natural Resources, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and J. Thomas Becker, PE, EFP, CEFP, Associate Vice President for Operations, Philadelphia University
  • Panel: Perspectives on Utilizing Incentives to Protect Local Heritage by Robert Duncan, Director, Lower Merion Building and Planning; Richard Gacek, President, New Hope Historical Society; Erin Hammerstedt, Preservation Pennsylvania, Technical Field Services Representative; and Robert Powers, President, Powers & Company, Historic Preservation Services
  • Managing Storm Water in an Historic Landscape by Chris Leswing, Lower Merion Township, Building and Planning
; Edie Shean-Hammond, Site Superintendant, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site; and Glen Stevens, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Balancing Historic Resource Needs and Storm Water Management Near Waterways by Ed Grusheski, Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, and Mark Eberle, Biologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The workshop is free and open to the public thanks to the support of the U. S. Department of Energy, Saint Joseph's University and the Lower Merion Conservancy.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Mary Feeney at or 610-660-1146, or Patty Thompson at or 610-645-9030, or visit

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Senior Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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