Perkiomen Watershed Initiative Phase One Event

COLLEGEVILLE, Feb. 23 – ­­ Last Friday, state Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, hosted a joint news conference with Montgomery County officials to announce the commencement of Webster’s Perkiomen Watershed Initiative Phase One: the Mapping and Flooding Reduction Grant project.

“In the last three years, we’ve had six storms that are now historic-level flooding events and it’s time for us to sit back and understand what’s happening,” said Webster, explaining the urgency of this study. “The goal of the Perkiomen Watershed Initiative is to fix our outdated flooding maps of the Perkiomen Watershed, determine current flood patterns and risks, and establish mitigation efforts that communities, counties, and the state can take to prevent future floods and losses.”

“We are sitting on this amazing gem of natural resources and yet we’re still experiencing all this flooding on a regular basis – we need to figure out why,” said Crystal Gilchrist from Webster’s office and project manager for the Initiative. “We’ll be coordinating with the four counties (Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, and Montgomery), setting up steering committees and advisory committees and choosing a consulting team. Once we have them on board, we will create a hydrological computer model which will, for the first time ever, include the entire watershed, not just sections of its tributaries.”

By mapping the entirety of the watershed, officials will finally have a clear understanding of how geographically and geologically water runs through the communities and causes the flood waters seen in storms so that counties can act now to mitigate and prevent flooding.

Also in attendance were Montgomery County Commissioners Jamila Winder and Neil Makhija who spoke on the importance of this study for the county.

“According to the Montgomery County hazard Mitigation Plan, flooding is the number one issue and hazard facing Montgomery County,” Winder said. “We’re talking about critical research and analysis to prevent another weather event from causing the level of destruction and loss that we saw in 2021 (from Hurricane Ida). We are talking about identifying and implementing specific solutions to ensure that we can keep every one of our residents safe. This initiative is going to be crucial to effective flood preparation, mitigation, and our collective response efforts.”

“What we are seeing right now, locally, nationally, and around the world is the presence of climate change and the effect that it is having on our communities,” Makhija pointed out, and emphasized that “as local leaders, we must take steps to act on climate with the urgency that it requires.”

Dr. Robyn Hannigan, representing Ursinus College, applauded the nature of the study and what it means for southeast Pennsylvania, stating “bringing together multiple stakeholder groups, to prioritize, not only the human impacts, the natural impacts, but to build resiliency in the commonwealth that will lead to prosperity and justice for every member of our community, is actually, truly historic.”

Those who live within the Perkiomen Watershed know that even a small storm can bring the “Perky” out of its banks. This study finally prioritizes all the communities along the Perkiomen Creek and takes real, effective steps to prevent stormwater from damaging homes, businesses, bridges, and roads.


Webster represents the 150th Legislative District, which includes Collegeville, Trappe, Lower and Upper Providence, and West Norriton. He serves on the House Appropriations, Environmental Resources and Energy, Finance, State Government, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. For more information, call Webster’s office at (484) 200-8263 or email