At a Glance

A post-industrial landscape to transform into beautiful, ecologically-rich learning environments.

Project Description

Spanning the entire 374-acre campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Arboretum is a living museum with a mission to “provide a learning environment that will advance our global understanding of temperate forests, cultivate an aesthetic appreciation for regional flora of the Allegheny Plateau and demonstrate practical applications of woody plant materials to modify and mitigate local environmental conditions.”

As a key member of a planning team led by Andropogon, Biohabitats helped develop a master plan for the Confluence Discovery Park, the centerpiece of the Arboretum. The aptly named park marks the spot where Stony Run and White’s Run join to form Marsh Run, which ultimately flows to the Conemaugh River, a major tributary to the Allegheny River. For more than a century, the site was used for industrial and commercial purposes. While this contributed to its cultural history, it caused ecological degradation. In creating the park, the University and planning team recognized an opportunity to transform a post-industrial landscape into an expansion of the Arboretum, a new gateway to campus, and an academic, community, and ecological asset.

After locating and assessing plant community boundaries on the former industrial parcel and brownfield, Biohabitats documented a variety of ecological challenges given the site’s history and its urban watershed. Biohabitats then identified opportunities to restore ecological functions, building upon the site’s remaining wetlands, riparian forests and meadows. Plans for restoration will begin to redefine the narrative of the site and set in motion the process of functional ecosystem development.

Details

Bioregion

Ohio River

Physiographic Province

Western Allegheny Plateau

Watershed

Allegheny Conemaugh

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration

Owner

Allegheny Arboretum and Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Location

Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States

Project Team
  • Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc.
  • GBBN Architects