The NMR Watershed Forest Master Plan: Furthering Our Impact
Nine Mile Run Watershed Association (NMRWA) focuses on the ecological restoration and protection of a 6.5 square-mile watershed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While most watershed residents might think only of Frick Park when they hear the term “urban forest”, an urban forest actually encompasses all wooded vegetation in and around the city. The trees of urban forests are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem as they purify and cool the air, collect and clean stormwater, and add beauty to the city environment.
However, our watershed’s urban forests have suffered from continued exposure to harsh pollutants, diseases, invasive insects, drought, and poor management. To help take care of our watershed trees, NMRWA implemented the Urban Forestry program in 2004 to plant and care for trees and educate the public about their benefits.
NMRWA has implemented projects to benefit watershed trees since 2003 and, after 14 years, we identified the need for a more comprehensive approach to effectively manage the trees in our area. To further the impact on our urban forest, we are creating a Watershed Forest Master Plan.
What is a Watershed Forest Master Plan?
A Watershed Forest Master Plan is a comprehensive guide that assesses the current conditions of an urban forest and identifies goal-oriented strategies. With the help of Tree Pittsburgh, our Master Plan will focus on growing, managing, and protecting our watershed urban forest. There are many different organizations that share our goal, and we hope to gain a collective vision together through the Plan. Reaching out to municipalities and stakeholders ensures we coordinate, collaborate, and cultivate ideas to produce the best results for our urban forest.
With this Plan, we will:
– Gather data to establish a baseline for the current condition of our watershed’s trees
– Identify best practices to create and cultivate a healthy urban forest
– Determine and monitor relationships between environmental issues, like air quality, urban hot spots, and canopy cover
– Reduce stormwater levels by strategically planting trees in highly affected areas
– Monitor our progress on the plan and adapt our ongoing strategy accordingly
How You Can Help Grow Our Plan
– Complete surveys about our projects and the Master Plan (link coming soon)
– Attend community meetings to share your ideas (details coming soon)
– Volunteer with our team to create and steward greenspace
– Become a Watershed Tree Tender to help plant & tend to trees in our watershed
– Join a borough Shade Tree Committee to influence your urban forest at a policy level
– Request trees for your neighborhood through our TreeVitalize program
We will continue planting trees, educating community members, and improving local conditions. We know each tree is an opportunity to speak with passionate residents and volunteers about the benefits of greenspace. With our new Plan, we aim to engage and inspire further with your involvement and feedback. The Watershed Forest Master Plan will be completed in early 2018.