Four Mile Run & Panther Hollow Watersheds

For over a decade, restoration of this key ecological area in Pittsburgh has been taking place. 

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has been restoring Panther Hollow Watershed in Schenley Park for over 10 years. The Parks Conservancy, in partnership with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and the City of Pittsburgh, has recently expanded this project to also include Four Mile Run Watershed.

What's a watershed?

Understanding this critical area starts with a word: Watershed. A watershed is the total land area that drains into a particular body of water. Watersheds are interconnected, nested (contained) within one another, and their boundaries are their highest points. 

The Four Mile Run Watershed encompasses the neighborhoods of Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, and Hazelwood. The Panther Hollow Watershed is nested within the Four Mile Run Watershed. 

Project background

Four Mile Run Watershed has changed drastically over the last century. Land once used for agriculture became neighborhoods and economic centers, while streams that fed Schenley Park were diverted underground. Over time, these changes caused more stormwater to enter our city's overburdened sewer system. This long-term restoration project aims to not only alleviate this stormwater issue, but to improve the health and aesthetics of Schenley Park.

For over a decade, the Parks Conservancy, along with the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN), PWSA, and the City of Pittsburgh, have been nursing this ailing watershed back to health. A holistic, top-to-bottom plan includes projects such as large-scale tree plantings, erosion control, and the installation of green infrastructure.

Junction Hollow rendering

Recent project updates


  • The Parks Conservancy held a public meeting and two community walks to introduce park goers to preliminary designs and gather feedback about the needs of Panther Hollow Lake and Junction Hollow.


  • Retention grading at the Bob O'Connor Golf Course installed to soak stormwater into the ground when it rains. 
  • Meadow and infiltration trenches installed along Beacon Street. Based on data analysis and modeling through the University of Pittsburgh and Meliora Design, recommended trench improvements will be made by PWSA in 2017 to increase performance. Read the project update here.

Retention grading at the Bob O'Connor Golf Course. Photo: Jeremy Marshall