Pittsburgh Regional Parks Natural Areas Study
Frick Park, Schenley Park, Highland Park and Riverview Park make up Pittsburgh’s magnificent four large regional parks. Together, they represent approximately 1,700 acres of public open space and natural lands within Pittsburgh’s metropolitan area. While the parks provide important recreational facilities for the citizens of Pittsburgh, they also contain valuable urban natural habitats, including forests, stream valleys, wetlands and meadows. These habitats provide vital refuges for threatened and dwindling native plant communities, water resources and wildlife populations.
In 2000, the City released Pittsburgh’s Regional Parks Master Plan, which focuses on the parks’ development and management over the next 20 years. As a member of the master planning team, Biohabitats was instrumental in developing principles and recommendations for the restoration and protection of the parks’ natural resources. One of the plan’s many recommendations was the preparation of a Natural Areas Study that encompasses all four of the regional parks.
Proposing an integrated approach of inventory, assessment and adaptive management, Biohabitats was chosen by the City to prepare the Natural Areas Study. Key natural resource categories assessed include geology, soils, hydrology, vegetation, and fauna. The project involved systematic data collection tailored to meet urban conditions. Ultimately, the collected field data and analysis supported the preparation of a Natural Areas Management Plan, detailing conservation, restoration and adaptive management actions for the four regional parks.