On December 16, 2016, Fairmount Water Works received a $60,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PDCNR) for its River Restoration Project: a Freshwater Mussel Hatchery. This permanent installation, planned for completion in June 2017, will tell the story of restoring the Schuylkill River’s natural habitat, demonstrating the ecological benefits of freshwater mussel restoration within a holistic watershed.

The Freshwater Mussel Hatchery project has brought together a team of leaders from Fairmount Water Works (FWW), the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE),and The Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University along with designers, environmentalists, government agencies, academic partners, communities and other experts, to create a “living enclave,” inspiring visitors and school groups to protect clean water initiatives through creative interpretation and educational programs. Innovative technology will also enable visitors to observe in a real-time the life cycle of a mussel in the wild.

In 2015, FWW’s Freshwater Mussel Hatchery was awarded a $300,000 Exhibitions and Public Interpretation Project Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, supporting the design, installation and interpretative elements of the project.  The McLean Contributionship supported this project with a $25,000 grant for mussel incubation. And now, the PDCNR grant has been awarded to support the purchase and installation of hatchery equipment, and staff training for monitoring the technical aspects of the hatchery.

The Fairmount Water Works has been a center of transformation since 1815.  It is a National Historic Landmark, a Civil Engineering Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark and was part of our nation’s first “public” safe-water delivery system in a major city.  Today, Fairmount Water Works is PWD’s official public environmental education and discovery destination.

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