executive summary of watershed management plan

This management plan proposes a strategy for managing the White Clay Creek as a National Wild and Scenic River. It was prepared as part of a study to evaluate the White Clay Creek for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Legislation was introduced in 2000 Congress by Congressmen Michael Castle (DE) and Joseph Pitts (PA); and by Senators Joseph Biden (DE), William Roth (DE), Rick Santorum (PA), and Arlen Specter (PA) to designate the White Clay Creek and its tributaries into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This legislation, P.L. 106-357, was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton on October 24, 2000. The White Clay Creek watershed is one of only a few relatively intact, unspoiled and ecologically functioning river systems remaining in the highly congested and developed corridor linking Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Newark, Delaware. The watershed drains 69,000 acres in southeast Pennsylvania and northwest Delaware, and some 95,000 people live within its boundaries. The proposed federally designated areas include all streams of the second order or higher. Under this proposal, the federal designation would include: White Clay Creek, from the confluence of the East and Middle branches in London Britain Township, Pennsylvania downstream to its confluence with the Christina River in New Castle County, Delaware; the East, Middle, and West branches within Pennsylvania; Middle Run, Pike and Mill creeks in Delaware; and all second order streams as shown on the Recommended Designated Area Map.

The plan describes the watershed's resources, identifying the major challenges that threaten them now, or may do so in the near future. The plan recognizes that the resources themselves are tightly twined with the problems that beset them, so that the improvement or deterioration of one watershed element bears directly on the condition of several others. In an obvious example: land use practices affect water quality well downstream.

The management plan makes a case for the value of the watershed, and presents a detailed plan for management. Because a successful bid for designation must demonstrate that the watershed can be managed feasibly, the plan includes summaries of current management strategies as well as recommendations for additional ones. It profiles all the agencies and their programs-public and private-currently involved in planning for or managing some aspect of the watershed and its resource base.

The management plan outlined in this document delineates a cooperative approach to resource management and protection. It involves landowners, citizens, private organizations, local, county, state and federal governments, business interests and others. The proposed two-tiered approach to watershed management acknowledges both the importance and preference for local leadership, and the additional protection afforded by federal wild and scenic designation. Watershed management will be coordinated by a Watershed Advisory Committee. The first management tier will focus on municipal, county and state governments. These entities will adopt and implement watershed management strategies contained in the Local Land Use and Resource Management sections of the plan. The second management tier designates certain areas of the watershed into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. There, in the designated areas, water-resources-related projects that involve federal loans, licenses or permits would be reviewed by the National Park Service for potential impact on outstandingly remarkable watershed resources.