Allegheny County has experienced substantial land development in recent years. Loss of natural areas impacts the local landscape by degrading water, soil and wildlife habitat. The Pine Creek Watershed has been heavily impacted, resulting in its designation as recreationally impaired by the EPA. The Pine Creek Watershed Conservation Plan (2010) set forth a series of goals to address high priority concerns, several of which are addressed with this project. This ongoing project, located just upstream of North Park Lake, will increase the longevity of the lake and repair 2.1 acres of the riparian (stream side) zone in the North Fork Pine Creek Watershed by removing invasive species and planting meadow mix, live stakes, trees and shrubs of varying species and landscape trees to create a diverse canopy that provides varied sources of food for wildlife. An EPA 319 Watershed Implementation Plan for the Pine Creek Watershed identifies riparian buffers as an important restoration effort to reduce sediment and nutrients and to mitigate flooding of downstream communities.
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
Work is currently underway in North Park to restore riparian buffer and eroded streambank along approximately 2,600 linear feet of the North Fork of Pine Creek downstream of Walter Road.