What is a Watershed?

Watersheds are geographic areas of land that rain or snow melt flows through on its way to one specific body of water, such as, a stream, river, lake, or wetland. Watersheds are named after the body of water that they drain into. The Saw Mill Run watershed is the land area that drains into Saw Mill Run. 

Smaller watersheds drain into larger watersheds called basins, which are typically bays, gulfs, oceans and the largest bodies of water. For instance, the Saw Mill Run watershed drains into the Ohio River watershed. The Ohio River watershed drains into the Mississippi River watershed. The Mississippi River watershed drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

We can do our part for this entire system by caring for our local watersheds.

Current Projects

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

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