Tidal Schuylkill River

A vibrant tidal ecosystem

Bartram’s Garden is located on the banks of the Tidal Schuylkill River, which runs along the eastern edge of the site. With a half-mile of riverfront, ecologically significant tidal wetlands, and an accessible public dock, this is a place where everyone can connect with the river.

Explore the River

Free Boating & Fishing

Learn more about ways you can enjoy the river.

Denkyem River Guardians

We offer paid internship opportunities for local youth and young adults.

Water Quality Monitoring

Our Denkyem River Guardians monitor the river’s water quality and use the data to advocate for better protection of the watershed.

History & Ecology of the River

Archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived along the river seasonally for more than 5,000 years, due to the reliable source of food. While it is not clear if the Lenape had a single name for this river, some believe it was called Ganshowahanna, meaning “falling or roaring waters,” or Tool-pay Hanna, meaning “Turtle River.” Schuylkill, the name given by Dutch colonists, means “hidden river.”

This section of the Schuylkill River is tidal, so the direction of the flow reverses about every 6 hours, and the water level fluctuates by 5 to 7 feet, creating wetland and mudflats. Recognizing the wetland that bordered the river as invaluable, John Bartram and his neighbors maintained it in common rather than one individual owning the land. The freshwater tidal wetland next to Sankofa Community Farm was restored in 1997 and expanded in 2013. It now features native North American plants and provides important habitat for many creatures.

The Tidal Schuylkill flows into the Delaware River to the south, and the health of these waterways is vitally important. As part of the Delaware River Watershed, these rivers sustain life for hundreds of species, including humans. Over 40 species of fish abound, including channel catfish, white perch, common carp, bluegill, and American eel. The City of Philadelphia sources all of its drinking water from the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, and the entire watershed provides drinking water to 15 million people.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 25, 5:00 pm

Wednesday Free Fishing

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Wednesday, June 1, 5:00 pm

Wednesday Free Fishing

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River BlogGarden Insights

A Letter from Bartram

June 5, 2020

A Letter from Bartram's Garden to the PA Department of Environmental Protection

This post was written by Carly Schmidt and originally published by our partners at River Network. In the days of the Clean Water Act, the Lower Schuylkill River was a...

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I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Birds

Boating & Fishing

Flowers, Plants & Trees

Gardening

History

Kids' Activities

Sankofa Community Farm

Southwest Philadelphia

Water Quality

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Youth Internships

I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Follow the Schuylkill River Trail from the North Mile to 56th Street and beyond.

Birds

Look up! More than 100 species of birds rely on this ecosystem.

Boating & Fishing

Enjoy all that the Tidal Schuylkill River has to offer.

Flowers, Plants & Trees

See what’s blooming, find a favorite tree, and stroll the gardens and natural lands.

Gardening

Bring the Garden home! Shop for plants and grow your own food.

History

Uncover the interconnected stories of this historic site.

Kids' Activities

Join us year-round to learn, make, share, and wonder.

Sankofa Community Farm

“Go back and get it!” Growing food sovereignty with an African Diaspora focus.

Southwest Philadelphia

Resources and opportunities especially for neighbors in Southwest Philly.

Water Quality

Find our latest data on the river’s bacteria levels and recent rainfall.

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Enjoy upcoming workshops, self-care, and events. Are you a Southwest artist? Let’s partner!

Youth Internships

Calling Southwest students: paid internships available with the river, the farm, and the trees.