Monday, August 30, 2010

Panther Hollow Watershed Restoration

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has received a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation...half of which will go towards restoring the Panther Hollow Watershed in Pittsburgh. The
The Panther Hollow Watershed is an area of land bounded by high points in which all of the water drains to the Panther Hollow Lake in Schenley Park.

Restoration Ecologist Erin Copeland says storm water runoff has caused most of the damage to the Panther Hollow Watershed. She says a forest or wooded area helps absorb and recharge ground water so that it can run smoothly into streams and lakes. However, heavy rainfall and impervious surfaces have caused storm water to rush over land, through pipes and over roads, which in turn causes damage to streams and lakes.

Copeland says restoring the watershed is more complex than just restoring the lake. “If we were to just dredge the lake, then we wouldn’t really fix the problem.” She says the problem begins with the watershed. “You need to work in the upper parts of the watershed first where you’ll have to slow down water and infiltrate it so that as you work down through the watershed.” She says the lake is the end of the watershed and should be restored last.

Copeland says the Conservancy will work with a qualified firm, the city of Pittsburgh and the Department of Public Works to define and achieve a watershed-related goal. She says they’ll be testing management techniques and reducing the negative effects of storm water runoff into Panther Hollow Lake. “Hopefully as a result of this we’re going to be really improving the watershed knowledge of residents that are close to the park.”

On September 15, the conservancy will hold a “What’s in Panther Hollow?” lecture for the general public to cover the ongoing efforts for the restoration of the watershed.

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