Supporting Watershed Stewardship
Watersheds of South Pittsburgh (WoSPgh) is a rallying point for people who are concerned about the health of their local streams, watersheds, and communities. WoSPgh exists because there is a growing movement among residents who are concerned about increased flooding, unsightly litter and toxic pollution, and abandoned lots or industrial storage areas along Saw Mill Run and Streets Run. WoSpgh consolidates the knowledge, resources, and passion for improving our local watersheds that was dispersed between smaller organizations with similar missions, including the Saw Mill Run Watershed and Streets Run Watershed Associations. In doing so, WoSPgh has become the leader in the charge to improve the watersheds of both streams. Through the experience of our staff, our dedicated volunteers, and engaged communities, we understand the issues and long-term solutions needed to restore Saw Mill Run and Streets Run while simultaneously improving the communities along their banks.
Our mission is to improve and restore the health and vitality of the streams and communities in the Saw Mill Run and Streets Run Watersheds. We inspire change by providing environmental leadership, engaging citizens in direct action, planning long-term green initiatives, and partnering on key issues that affect the well-being of the watersheds.
We envision greener, healthier communities around the waters that flow through them: clean streams and tributaries, restored floodplains, neighborhoods that have equitable and direct access to green space, and communities that thrive in the absence of repeated flooding.
Collaboration: Successful partnerships between nonprofits, businesses, community groups, local governments, and individual citizens are essential in advancing our mission.
Life-long Learning: We strive to raise awareness about the streams, water quality, and broader issues that impact our watersheds and the communities within them.
Stewardship: Social and environmental responsibility is the foundation of our work at WoSPgh.
Green Boulevard Master Plan
Watersheds of South Pittsburgh sees Saw Mill Run and the land along Route 51 as an opportunity to reintroduce quality green space to the valley. We hope to address all the issues related to stormwater runoff at once; not only will Green Boulevard projects improve water quality within the stream, but they will also enhance the quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods by beautifying the corridor and reducing the incidence of flooding.
The Green Boulevard vision includes:
– Floodplains with areas for passive recreation and stream access
– A trail that follows the stream channel and connects to two City of Pittsburgh Parks
– Improved access to the existing light rail system and busway
– Redevelopment opportunities that take advantage of new connectivity and park access
Economic Floodplain Study
The miles of paved surfaces along Route 51 prevent flood waters from naturally dissipating into the ground. As a result of repeat flooding, vacant buildings along the corridor remind us of the devastating impacts environmental issues have on property values and the local economy. Ideally, healthy and well managed streams are meant to have abundant greenspace, including natural floodplains and wetlands, where flood waters naturally and safely disperse.
This Economic Flooding Study will use FEMA data, GIS mapping, census data, and publicly available tax information to estimate the potential economic value of the Saw Mill Run floodplain as a renewed green corridor.
Integrated Watershed Management Plan
Watersheds of South Pittsburgh is working with a number of municipal and county partners to develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) for the Saw Mill Run watershed. This Plan aims to address the effects of sewer overflows from the traditional, end-of-pipe sewer systems. One potential solution is a combination of location-specific green and gray projects that will:
– Reduce peak water quantity issues and their detrimental impacts
– Improve water quality
– Meet the requirements of PWSA’s, and the municipalities’ Consent Orders (COs) and the overflow and water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act