Onorato Announces Purchase, Protection of 73 Wooded Acres in Pine Twp.

countylogo.jpgLand will buffer North Park, reduce stormwater runoff in Pine Creek watershed

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today announced the purchase and protection of 73 acres of wooded land in the Irwin Run Valley adjacent to North Park in Pine Twp. Allegheny County provided more than half of the funding to acquire the property, which will be called the Irwin Run Conservation Area and held in perpetuity by Allegheny Land Trust.

“The benefits of conserving this land in the Irwin Run Valley reach far beyond protecting beautiful green space and helping to maintain the water quality of North Park Lake,” said Onorato. “Downstream communities in the Pine Creek watershed, such as Hampton, Shaler and Etna, will benefit from the land’s capacity to hold back nearly 60 million gallons of rainwater
before it becomes stormwater each year.”

The land will help to buffer North Park from development and protect beneficial wetlands, densely wooded slopes and a stream valley. These natural features trap sediment and silt before they reach North Park Lake. A closed portion of Irwin Road provides a beautiful walking trail through the property and access to additional North Park trails.

The establishment of the Irwin Run Conservation Area is consistent with the County Executive’s commitment to sustainable practices, as well as his goals of protecting open space and greenways, expanding the region’s parks and trails system, and reducing urban, agricultural and industrial pollution runoff to protect streams and watersheds.

The purchase price of the land was $500,000, which included $253,200 from Allegheny County’s portion of Growing Greener funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. The Laurel Foundation, Pittsburgh Foundation, Sierra Club’s Huplits Trust, and BP Foundation through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provided nearly $217,000 in grants. Several local residents, community groups and organizations raised more than $30,000.

“Our hat is off to the local residents, businesses and organizations who reached deep into their pockets to raise the final dollars needed to meet our goal,” said Allegheny Land Trust Executive Director Roy Kraynyk. “They will be rewarded for years to come with the natural beauty of this wonderful green space, its trails and clean flowing streams.”

The North Area Environmental Council, Friends of North Park, Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, and neighboring homeowners associations also participated in the effort to protect the land.

“This project is another great example of collaboration between Allegheny County, Commonwealth agencies, our vibrant non-profit sector and the community,” added Onorato. “I want to thank the foundations for providing significant grants, the neighborhood groups for fundraising door to door, and Allegheny Land Trust for bringing their expertise in local land conservation.”