About Delaware's Stream Stewards Program
Become a Stream Steward and help protect Wilmington’s drinking water supply.
About The Stream Stewards Program
Stream Stewards is a Citizen Science program designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in watershed stewardship. Originally launched in 2016, Stream Stewards trains volunteers to engage with the scientific process by collecting water quality data from the streams that flow through First State National Historical Park (FRST) to Brandywine Creek.
The streams in the park that feed Brandywine Creek provide an ideal learning environment for volunteers of all ages to gain an understanding of stream ecology and the importance of watershed protection. By engaging in water quality data collection, Stream Stewards contribute to science-based management actions that will have a real conservation impact in the park.
Adult participants are trained on monitoring the water quality of streams within the Beaver Valley unit at FRST. A curriculum is being developed for high school students and their families to become engaged in water quality monitoring near their schools and homes. All participants will learn about stewardship opportunities for improving the health of their watersheds and be provided opportunities to contribute to conservation efforts in their communities.
Brandywine Creek supplies 100% of the drinking water for Wilmington residents. When water runs off of surfaces with low permeability like paved roads, it carries contaminants that enter the streams that feed into Brandywine Creek. This run-off degrades the water quality and threatens this important resource, lowering its habitat value for wildlife, and making it unsafe for activities such as fishing and swimming.
Through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service and Stroud Water Research Center, and funding from the William Penn Foundation and the Ernest E. Stempel Foundation, the Stream Stewards program is engaging citizen scientist volunteers in data collection that will help to address these water quality issues.
Planting at First State National Historical Park
Staff from First State National Historical Park, Stroud Water Research Center and TNC, along with several Stream Stewards volunteers, planted more than 250 native shrubs and trees in April 2021, creating buffers to help contribute to cleaner water in Ramsey Run. This project was made possible thanks to support from the William Penn Foundation.
Stream Stewards Featured in WHYY's Stories from the Streams
Stories from the Streams introduces us to a team of scientists who are working tirelessly to maintain the health of the Delaware River Watershed.
Stream Steward Program Requirements
You must be at least 18 years old to apply to be a Stream Steward and be willing to participate in at least four half-day training sessions that will take place in First State National Historical Park.
After completing the training, Stream Stewards must complete at least 20 hours of service, which can include collecting water quality data at monitoring sites, participating in stewardship projects such as plantings and invasive species removal, and assisting with our bi-annual watershed clean-up events or other outreach and education opportunities
Stream Stewards Will:
- Learn about watershed ecology
- Be trained in water quality monitoring and data collection techniques
- Connect with nature in First State National Historical Park
- Contribute to conservation and natural resource management
- Become Citizen Scientists
- Join a diverse community of volunteers and stewardship leaders
The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The 23 education centers in the Alliance share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed.