Wildwood Park’s wetlands have undergone a high rate of sedimentation over the last 100 years. Due to the accumulation of silt, Wildwood Lake’s depth has changed from 4 feet to 3 inches. It is losing its ability to function as a large catch basin for storing floodwaters and keeping pollution, mostly sediment, from reaching the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Recreational opportunities and wildlife habitats have diminished from the Lake’s succession from deep water, to marsh and upland environments.
Restoration efforts, both in Wildwood and throughout the watershed, will provide an increase in water quality and flood protection while maintaining optimal recreation areas and diverse wildlife habitat for the Park’s 115,000 annual visitors.
1: Implement best management practices to restore Paxton Creek’s natural ecological functions
- Joint Pollution Reduction Plan – Municipalities upstream from Wildwood Lake drafted a joint plan to address how to restore Paxton Creek. Capital Region Water, Lower Paxton Township, Susquehanna Township prepared the plan with the short and long-term goals of reducing sediment by 10% and 35% respectively. Click here to view the Joint Pollutant Reduction Plan
- The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) funded a Streambank Stabilization Project in Wildwood. Easily observed from the Nature Center bird viewing windows, a 200-foot section of Paxton Creek’s deeply eroded streambank was restored. Click here to view more about Streambank Stabilization
- The Paxton Creek Restoration Master Plan provides a comprehensive strategy to restore the natural ecological function of the creek’s southern or lower reach downstream from Wildwood. Click here to view the Paxton Creek Restoration Master Plan
2. Determine how to best restore Wildwood
- Feasibility Study of Wildwood Restoration – Completed in 2015 with funding from Friends of Wildwood. Cost of restoring Wildwood Lake estimated to be 12 million dollars. Click here to view the Wildwood Lake Restoration Feasibility Study.
- Wildwood Dredging & Restoration Design – Completed. Funded from grants from the Dauphin County Commissioners and DEP Growing Greener II, this project designed how best to incorporate restoration and dredging efforts.
Project Brochure Click Here
Public Meeting on Wildwood Restoration & Dredging (watch the recorded meeting below)
3. Wildwood Restoration Construction (not funded)
- Restore priority sections of the lake for flood control, wildlife habitat, aesthetic improvements and recreational uses.
What Has Been Done So Far?
2010 – Modification of the Morning Glory outlet to address flooding
2015 – Feasibility Study of Wildwood Lake
2017 – Wildwood Lake Partnership determine viable funding sources
2019 – Awarded Wildwood Lake Restoration Design and Permitting grant
2021 – Applied for US Congressional funding for Wildwood Lake Restoration (not awarded)
2022 – Wildwood Lake Restoration Design and Permitting
This project focused on design of select dredging and restoration in Wildwood Lake. It was not for project construction.
2022 – Public Meeting on Wildwood Lake Dredging (over 100 attendees)
2023/24 – Permitting with Army Corps of Engineers
2023 – Awarded DEP Growing Greener grant for Phase 1A – Paxton Creek Stream Stabilization.
- Continue to work with Army Corps of Engineers on permitting.
- Secure funding for select dredging and restoration to restore Wildwood as an important flood mitigator for Harrisburg.
- Improve Wildwood Lake’s flood control impoundment capacity.
- Restore shallow and deep-water wetlands and the ability to trap sediments and pollutants.
- Improve recreation, habitat and water quality to Paxton Creek, the Susquehanna River, and the Chesapeake Bay
What do you think should happen to Wildwood Lake? Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org