An archived collection of land conservation news from the ALT Main page.
A Tour of ALT Conservation Areas in 14 Days!
For two weeks, Allegheny Land Trust had a featured blog spot on the Heinz Endowments website. Our entries have covered everything from canoeing around Sycamore Island to volunteer events on Mount Washington. Click here to read the blog and learn more about the positive ways ALT is affecting Allegheny County residents and helping local people save local land!
ALT Adds Trails to Wingfield Pines Conservation Area
Max Vietmeier, ALT’s first John Hamm Intern, organized a work party to develop new trails in the southern portion of the Wingfield Pines Conservation Area. You can read about it in this article from Upper St. Clair Patch.
Photo by Joe Appel | Tribune Review
Dead Man’s Hollow Featured in Trib Article
Deadman’s Hollow, a 440-acre conservation area, protected by Allegheny Land Trust, is featured in a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article. You can read the story online or in the Neighborhoods section of the April 7, 2011, Trib.
Strategies for Preserving Cultural and Historic Resources
ALT Presentation at the 9th Annual Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference
Throughout Pennsylvania, historic development patterns define much of today’s landscape and set the tone for cherished local community character. Strategies for Preserving Cultural and Historic Resources (4.2MB PDF file) explores various approaches aimed toward the preservation of cultural and historic landscapes, presenting a case study that employs traditional conservation tools as well as planning and regulatory tools.
This presentation was given in conjunction with John Snook, of the Brandywine Conservancy, and Michel Lefevre, of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, who presented Strategies for Historic Resource Preservation.
Slideshow: Birds of Wingfield
Local nature photographer, Jeff McDonald, has taken many beautiful photos of birds at the Wingfield Pines Conservation Area. Jeff has collected more than 50 of them into a slide show that we’re sure you will enjoy. You can find the link on the Wingfield Pines Nature page.
ALT Receives Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence
Allegheny Land Trust was selected to receive one of the 2011 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards for accomplishments in local land conservation and community revitalization. The award was bestowed on ALT because of our work to expand Emerald View Park on Mt. Washington. For more information, please see the press release in our In the News section.
The Wonders of Wetlands
The recently created AMD treatment system and wetlands at Allegheny Land Trust’s Wingfield Pines Conservation Area are featured in a new Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article. The article illustrates many of the benefits that ALT’s acquisition and stewardship of the property has brought to the area, including open space with recreational opportunities in an increasingly congested area, improved habitat for wildlife, a laboratory for students monitoring water quality and, of course, a cleaner Chartiers Creek.
New Report Places Economic Value on Green Infrastructure
Quantifying the economic value of green infrastructure’s benefits is the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective stormwater management approach, according to a new report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers. “The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits” is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure.
The guide fills an information gap that has hampered widespread deployment of green infrastructure?the practice of managing stormwater with natural systems. “The Value of Green Infrastructure” brings together current research on green infrastructure performance and presents methods for calculating related benefits in water management, energy, air quality, climate, and community livability.
Local Land Conservation Funding Options Report Released
In 2010 the North Area Environmental Council commissioned Allegheny Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land to develop a report on Conservation Funding options for inclusion in the Pine Creek Watershed Conservation Plan. Click here to download the report (2.2MB PDF) which has just been completed. The Plan was funded by the PA DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. For more information about the North Area Environmental Council, please visit http://naecwpa.org/. For in-depth information on the Pine Creek Watershed please visit http://pinecreekwpa.org.
Allegheny Land Trust Protects an Additional 14 Acres on Mt. Washington
ALT is pleased to announce that in partnership with the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), we have reached the fundraising goal and have protected 14 additional acres on Mt. Washington to expand Emerald View Park. More than 115 individuals contributed gifts to the campaign. In the coming weeks, the property will be transferred to the City to be added officially to Emerald View Park, expanding it to encompass 257 acres of Mt. Washington.
To learn more about this successful land protection project, the fund raising campaign and the future vision for Emerald View Park, please see Emerald View Park Addition.
New Video Highlights Wingfield Pines AMD Treatment System
The Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR) has produced a short video about ALT’s abandoned mine drainage treatment system at the Wingfield Pines Conservation Area. It provides a concise description of this innovative project that intertwines landscape architecture, recreation, and abandoned mine drainage treatment. You can view this video on the Wingfield Pines Highlights page.
Sycamore Island Management Plan
Much has been happening with Sycamore Island in the past few months. Most importantly, Allegheny Land Trust has received the final management report from Applied Ecological Services, Inc.(AES). ALT now is in the process of reviewing the report’s recommendations and suggestions for the Island and hopes to have a management plan devised in the next few months.
Recommendations from AES focus on providing safe, interesting and educational access for the public that does not harm the unique island habitat, such as:
A turkey vulture roosts on Sycamore Island.
- Enhance habitat to protect over 100 birds including 30 species of breeding birds including vulnerable Carolina chickadee, Willow flycatcher and Yellow-throated warbler and promote greater diversity and abundance of migrant songbirds.
- Address lack of amphibians and reptiles by improving breeding habitat and protecting island banks where the unique Spiny softshell turtle has been found.
- Limit public access with one canoe/kayak landing and one low?impact public trail open during specific times of year to protect habitats particularly for migratory birds, over 30 species of fish and vulnerable freshwater mussels including the Three-horn wartyback that was not known to exist in the Allegheny River prior to the recent survey.
- Enhance rare hardwood riparian/floodplain forest (Sycamore and Cottonwood trees) to encourage nesting of Bald Eagle and Osprey and other raptors and remove competing non-native plants impeding native tree growth.
- Retain larger man-made structures (swimming pool, sunken barge) that have become wildlife habitat. Reuse existing structures to educate visitors and perhaps create habitat.
One of ALT’s first goals is to form Sycamore Island Task Forces to help accomplish the management recommendations and implement plans for the island. Initial Task Forces will include Habitat (plants, animals, invasives), Special Events (island clean-ups, tours, tree plantings), Public Use (trails, signs, monitoring) and Communications (online communication tools, signs, communication between task groups). ALT is looking for willing volunteers and Task Force Leaders! If you are interested in helping in any capacity on any of these Task Forces, please contact Stewardship Director Emilie Cooper at or 412-741-2750.
Allegheny Land Trust Earns Accreditation
by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced that Allegheny Land Trust has been awarded accredited status. ALT is one of 10 accredited land trusts in Pennsylvania to receive this status.
Allegheny Land Trust was awarded accreditation on December 15, and is one of 113 land trusts out of a national membership of 1700 that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are able to display a seal (top of left sidebar) indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.”
“ALT’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to the highest standards of professional practice,” says Roy Kraynyk, Land Protection Director of ALT. “Our land trust is a stronger organization today by participating in the rigorous accreditation program.”
“Being awarded accreditation required a huge effort by the staff and Board of ALT and we are very proud of this achievement,” says Kraynyk. “Accreditation empowers ALT to advance our mission with confidence and gives our stakeholders the same confidence that their support is well-invested. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this achievement possible, including The Heinz Endowments for their generous support.” The Endowments awarded $25,000 to Allegheny Land Trust to participate in the accreditation process which supports the Endowments efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.
Unique AMD Treatment System Dedicated
Enjoying the boardwalk through the wetlands of the
new Wingfield AMD Treatment System.
After years of planning and many months of construction, the Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) Treatment System at ALT’s Wingfield Pines Conservation Area was officially dedicated on June 3, 2010. Nearly 100 people attended the unveiling that began with a welcoming breakfast provided by the USC Citizens for Land Stewardship. After a few remarks by attending dignitaries, everyone moved to the area around Pond #1 to witness the official opening of the treatment system. A future conservationist, assisted by Congressman Tim Murphy, had the honor of turning the valve that started water flowing through the aeration pipe into the first of five settling ponds. After that, attendees walked though the system and enjoyed the new boardwalk that meanders through the wetlands allowing close-up views of wildlife. Students from Duquesne University set-up ecology stations highlighting the wildlife that is returning to Wingfield Pines. Gary Rigdon provided an excellent picnic lunch to round out the festivities. For more on the dedication ceremony see our page of photos.
The AMD Treatment System filters 43 tons of iron oxide annually from one billion gallons of mine discharge. Some early sampling indicates that iron oxide is reduced from 13.9 mg/L in Pond #1 to 0.1 mg/L at the discharge site into Chartiers Creek. Click here for a brief description of how the system works. For more information and photos of the construction, please visit our Wingfield Pines Highlights page and Special Projects: AMD Treatment System page.
If you’re wondering why Allegheny Land trust has gone to so much trouble to clean up this source of water pollution, take a few minutes to view the following film. It is produced by Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR). It’s a very entertaining 15 minutes of AMD education.
Be sure to check out these GigaPan pictures of the treatment system and wetlands by Matt Opdyke of Point Park University, who is monitoring the wetland plants for ALT.
Even more information can be found in these media reports:
- the Wingfield Pines segment of WQED’s What’s in the Water series featuring the AMD Treatment System
- a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article (June 3, 2010) describing the AMD Treatment System and dedication ceremony
- article on The Allegheny Front website, Artful Water Remediation System Opens to Public
Allegheny Land Trust Announces Legacy Program
With ALT Conservation Areas located from Mt. Washington to Sewickley, the North and South Hills and the Mon Valley, Allegheny Land Trust has established the Legacy Society for our supporters who want to provide for the long-term care of the woodlands and natural spaces that make this area unique. "Allegheny County is gaining more and more national and recent world-wide attention for the beauty of its wooded hillsides. We’ve established the Legacy Society in response to the growing commitment by a special group of our local supporters who want to make sure that it stays that way by making a legacy gift to Allegheny Land Trust," says Rhonda Madden, Director of Development.
To find out more about Allegheny Land Trust’s Legacy Society and how you can provide future support for local conservation and make a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime with possible tax benefits please visit our Legacy Society pages.
A key tax case in the U.S. Court of Appeals could disqualify tax deductions for many conservation easements land trusts have long believed legitimate. Please see this article at the Land Trust Alliance website.
Private land conservation is booming in the US. Read how in this article from the Christian Science Monitor.
Roy Kraynyk, ALT Land Protection Director, has written this letter (pdf) to local newspaper editors highlighting examples and indicators of our region’s continued social, political and ethical evolution toward a cleaner and greener community and economy.
County Chief Executive Dan Onorato signs landmark Riverfront Park legislation that will lead to a 128-mile long riverfront park along the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio and Youghiogheny rivers. Read the press release (pdf)) and ALT’s letter in support of the park concept (pdf).
Route 65 repairs in Kilbuck moving to passing lane
Criminal investigation called in Kilbuck landslide
Rain causes landslide, floods Route 30
Developer Inadvertently Demonstrates Need for Hillsides Protection
ALT Board Member Encourages Hillside Preservation