At a Glance

A two-mile reach of a highly degraded urban stream in the heart of Pittsburgh has been transformed into a riverine park with thriving natural systems and enhanced recreational amenities.

Project Description

“Perhaps the most striking opportunity noted for a large park is the valley of Nine Mile Run,” wrote renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in his 1911 Master Plan.* Over the next 90 years, the Nine Mile Run valley was under constant assault from both urban and industrial development. Crumbling and leaking infrastructure, encroaching urban development and over 20 million tons of slag all found their way into the Nine Mile Run stream valley.

In the early 2000s, Pittsburgh City Government officials began exploring new uses of the site. One of the products of this exploration was a bold vision to restore the ecological integrity of Nine Mile Run and establish a permanent greenway connection between Frick Park and the Monongahela River. Under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 206 Ecosystem Restoration program, Biohabitats was commissioned to develop a comprehensive ecological restoration plan for Nine Mile Run and its riparian corridor.

Biohabitats helped prepare an Ecosystem Restoration Report and Environmental Assessment and then developed a comprehensive ecological restoration design and construction package for the project. The project included stream channel restoration, stream channel daylighting, wetland restoration, riparian habitat restoration, invasive species management, water quality best management practices, and park infrastructure improvements including athletic fields, trails and interpretive signs.

*Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (1911) Pittsburgh Main Thoroughfares and the Down Town District; Improvements Necessary to Meet the City’s Present and Future Needs. Pittsburgh Civic Commission Report.



Ohio River

Physiographic Province

Allegheny Plateau


Monongahela River

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Urban Ecology


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District; City of Pittsburgh, Department of City Planning


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Project Team
  • Meadville Land Service