The Watershed » Green Spaces
Although the Nine Mile Run Watershed is heavily urbanized, it is blessed with some significant greenspace, including Frick Park. Frick is the largest of Pittsburgh's four great city parks and will total close to 600 acres after the restored Nine Mile Run Stream valley is annexed at the end of the stream restoration. Other greenspace in the watershed includes many smaller neighborhood parks throughout the other municipalities, vacant lots and unpopulated wooded hillsides, as well as residents' properties.
Greenspaces are invaluable to an urban watershed for several reasons; their plants and permeable ground absorb stormwater that recharges the groundwater table and would otherwise end up in storm pipes, and they provide habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for humans. Greenspace adds to the quality of life in urban neighborhoods in economic, environmental, and aesthetic ways.
Frick and some of the neighborhood parks are in a more natural state, with many trees and plants, than residents' properties and vacant lots. Vacant lots are usually filled with dangerous debris and have very poor, and in most cases impermeable, soil on them. Residents' properties often have lawns which are treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers that make their way into our waterways. And lawns are often as impermeable as asphalt when it comes to stormwater absorption. Even our park greenspaces are filled with non-native invasive plant species that ruin habitat for native plants and animals.
NMRWA helps address these greenspace issues through our stewardship programming. Urban EcoStewards adopt plots of land in our parks to monitor invasives and native plantings. GreenLinks works with Wilkinsburg residents to enhance greenspace by turning vacant lots into community gardens and offering residents assistance in planting trees in their neighborhoods. By enhancing greenspace throughout the watershed, we can positively impact the health of Nine Mile Run and our communities at the same time.