What We Do

Our Mission:

To protect, preserve, and restore the natural waterways of northern Chester County.  We inspire, educate, and involve our community to make a difference for our generation and for generations to come.


Watershed Assessment, Science, and Monitoring

Watershed Restoration

Environmental Education



Many of our accomplishments are achieved through working with a diverse mix of nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and local and state agencies. Here are some accomplishments where GVWA played a leadership role.


  • Initiated a watershed assessment program including technical water quality monitoring.
  • Began our watershed restoration program with partners Open Lands Conservancy, Valley Forge Trout Unlimited, and local townships.
  • Created Environmental Advisory Councils in several municipalities with our partner, Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
  • Created the Sustainable Watershed Management Program (SWM) with partners Cahill Associates and Brandywine Conservancy.
  • Provide school programs for K-12 students in three school districts.
  • Initiated a Watershed Science Education program that offers “real world” science education to middle school and high school students
  • Offer science internships to college students


French-Creek-008-Crop French Creek Watershed:

  • Obtained Exceptional Value (EV) designations from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) for Beaver Run and the main stem of French Creek from the confluence with Beaver Run to the Kennedy Covered Bridge.
  • Constructed nutrient containment systems for farms in East and West Nantmeal Townships as pilot projects to demonstrate best practices in manure management.
  • Halted destruction of wetlands by maintenance construction on the Columbia Transmission pipeline in the EV Birch Run.
  • Renovated and reforested the Arena brownfield site along French Creek in East Vincent Township.
  • Obtained EV designation for the Upper French Creek and for the Birch Run.
  • Obtained Scenic River designation for the French Creek and for the Birch Run with partner organization, French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.


PickeringCreek-EAC-1Pickering Creek Watershed:

  • Submitted petition to PADEP for Exceptional Value (EV) status (pending). Participated in water quality studies and assessments in partnership with local educational institutions, which have been essential to the above achievements.
  • Obtained High Quality (HQ) designation from the PADEP with partner French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.




PigeonCreek_10522-webPigeon Creek Watershed:

  • With partners North Coventry and East Coventry Townships, encourage acquisition of open space lands and reforestation along the Pigeon Creek.
  • Organized a coalition to prevent uncontrolled groundwater extraction by Perrier in South Coventry Township, which would have severely impacted this High Quality (HQ) watershed.
  • Obtained HQ designation with partner French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.




Valley Creek Watershed:

  • Participate in numerous water quality studies and assessments with local educational institutions which have been essential to the following achievements.
  • Obtained Exceptional Value (EV) designation for Valley Creek as a Class A Wild Trout Stream with partner Valley Forge Trout Unlimited.
  • Obtained important protections for water quality in the Valley Creek through successful litigation of Warner Company’s Cedar Hollow Quarry with partner organization, Great Valley Coalition.
  • Formation of the Valley Creek Restoration Council (VCRC) and Valley Creek Coalition (VCC), both of which are actively working to conserve and restore the Valley Creek Watershed. These groups, with GVWA as an active participant, have identified and halted other major sources of groundwater pollution, some of which have become Superfund sites.
  • Identified and halted a major source of groundwater pollution with the closure of the Knickerbocker Sanitary Landfill.


Stony-Run-Spring-Hollow-RdStony Run Watershed:

  • With partners East Coventry and East Pikeland Townships, encourage acquisition of open space land along Stony Run.
  • Conducted a Cold Water Conservation Study with partners East Vincent, East Coventry, and East Pikeland Townships in order to create recommendations to address impairments to aquatic life use.





  • Began summer horticultural internship programs, and a longer, 9-month Horticultural Fellowship program
  • Reduced carbon footprint by 75% through the Sustainable Energy Initiative
  • Constructed a pavilion using locally sourced, sustainable materials and stormwater Best Management Practices
  • Constructed a porous paving visitor parking area with bio-infiltration basins to serve programs at Welkinweir and to demonstrate stormwater Best Management Practices
  • Acquired an additional 35 acres in order to permanently preserve and protect the forested stream buffer and steep slopes along the Beaver Run
  • Completed the master planning process, which has guided all of Welkinweir’s expansion and allowed the organization to triple its operating revenue and greatly increase programs and services.
  • Accepted title to the property from Natural Lands Trust.


  • 2006: Stormwater Best Management Award from the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, for porous pavement parking and bioretention areas at Welkinweir
  • 2004: Flo Neilson Award from Clean Water Action, for our stormwater management work
  • 2003: Governor’s Pennsylvania Watershed Stewardship Award
  • 2001: Securing the Future of the Environment Award from Environmental Compliance Services
  • 2000: Watershed Stewardship Award from the Chester County Water Resources Authority