North Fork Pine Creek

Riparian Buffer


A large portion of the North Fork Pine Creek Watershed is located in North Park. The total watershed is 6,400 acres, including areas within and outside of North Park. With a length of over two miles, North Fork Pine Creek is a significant tributary in the Pine Creek Watershed. It drains into Marshall and North Park Lakes. Heavy sediment loads from upstream development have impacted both lakes. North Park Lake was dredged in 2010 at a cost of $8 million to restore 33 acres (about half) of the lake to its original depth. Forested riparian buffers are known to reduce sediment and filter pollutants from runoff entering the stream by infiltrating stormwater runoff.

Sections of North Fork Pine Creek streambank will be stabilized with large natural stone armoring paired with vegetation to mitigate soil erosion associated with mass bank failures. Riparian zones will be improved by removing invasive species, converting mowed areas to meadows, and planting live stakes, trees and shrubs of varying species and size.

Due to the large expanse of riparian buffer improvements needed, the project will be phased into multiple installations. The proposed projects will improve the water quality and wildlife habitat, increase longevity of the lakes, and reduce the need for future dredging.


A riparian forest buffer is an area adjacent to a stream, lake, or wetland that contains a combination of trees, shrubs, and/or other perennial plants and is managed differently from the surrounding landscape, primarily to provide conservation benefits.

– USDA Forest Service


  • 2024: Work is currently underway to restore riparian buffer and eroded streambank along approximately 900 linear feet along North Fork Pine Creek, downstream of the pedestrian bridge to the head of North Park Lake. The restoration will include the planting of 230 trees and shrubs and 1,000 perennials.
  • 2023: Work was completed from Walter Road to the pedestrian bridge along Tennis Court Road to restore approximately 2,600 linear feet of riparian buffer. The work totaled around 2-acres of riparian buffer improvement with 535 trees and shrubs, 1,900 live stakes and 1-acre of pollinator meadow planted.
  • 2019: Work was completed just north of Walter Road. There were 10 trees planted as part of a larger project.


  • Allegheny County
  • Allegheny County Conservation District
  • EQT Corporation
  • FedEx Ground
  • Giant Eagle
  • Highmark BCBS
  • Kushkushkee Trail Chapter, NSDAR
  • North Area Environmental Council
  • Richland Sportsman’s Club
  • Tree Pittsburgh


The Allegheny County Parks Foundation raised the funds for this project. Funding was provided by:

  • Allegheny County
  • Colcom Foundation
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation