Panther Hollow Watershed Meeting a Success

June 6, 2011 by Parks Conservancy Staff

Thank you to everyone who attended our first Panther Hollow Watershed Restoration community meeting on Monday, May 23 at Schenley Plaza. We gained valuable insight into the project from members of the surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhood, as they told us their stories about Panther Hollow and what it means to them. We started the evening with our design team discussing the critical components and issues of both Panther Hollow and Phipps Run watershed. Community members then split into three focus groups relating to water, land, and people within the watersheds.

The first focus group, hosted by Michele Adams of Meliora Environmental Design and others from the team, discussed water issues in the watershed. We learned about the 10% impervious surface (roads and sidewalks) in the park portion of the watershed and that stream degradation starts at 10%. In addition there was discussion about combined sewer overflows that pollute our rivers. Everyone also learned that infiltrating water during rain storms will fix these problems. Attendees were then asked to share personal stories and address any of their concerns with the current state of any water within the surrounding area.

The land focus group was led by Jose Alminana of Andropogon Associates and others from the team, who discussed aspects of the watershed’s landscape including the existing problems at the top of our watersheds that we need to fix. They stressed that we need to be cautious of where we infiltrate water given our areas’ clay and shale soils, and that we should work where it makes sense - on concave pieces of land that currently have lawn on them.

Finally, in the people focus group, Ken Doyno and Kate Tunney of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative and others from the team highlighted the community character of the watershed, its vibrant business district, residential areas and institutions. They also talked about the major events of the watershed. Finally this team asked participants where they spend their time in the watershed.

After each group had attended the three focus sessions, members from the team provided a summary of the community meeting, answered any remaining questions, and provided a picture of where the watershed restoration program is headed next.

We'd love to have you join us at the next community meeting, Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m. at the Schenley Park Visitor Center. We will embark on a walking tour of the watershed highlighting where pilot projects will be installed. We need your input for these pilot projects and will ask attendees to help us decide what and where they should go.

We will walk rain or shine, please bring good walking shoes! To learn more about the project and to register for the next event click here.

Ecological Restoration, Schenley Park