More Than 3,000 Trees Planted for Clean Water
Riparian Buffers Improve Local Streams

Since 2016, ACCD has planted more than 3,000 native trees and shrubs next to Allegheny County’s streams to convert maintained grass into land with valuable benefits.

These projects serve as a lasting testament to the power of partnerships. From the landowners who granted permission to plant on their properties, the organizations that helped prepare sites and recruit volunteers, to community members who devoted a few hours on Saturday mornings to get trees in the ground.

Together, these partners built up Allegheny County’s tree canopy, provided habitat for wildlife, enhanced stream and groundwater health, reduced the impacts of stormwater and flooding, and educated volunteers on the importance of riparian buffers.

What's Next?

The aid does not end here. These riparian buffer plantings require care years after being planted. ACCD is already teaming up with landowners and volunteers to monitor and maintain these young buffers, including replacing protective housing and hours upon hours of cutting back invasive vegetation, like Japanese Knotweed.

As the trees and shrubs grow, the environmental and economic benefits will increase. Allegheny County will experience these benefits locally right next to the stream and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Explore Riparian Buffer Plantings

See Where ACCD Is Planting Trees

It’s Your Turn

This accomplishment is significant, but improving the health of thousands of miles of impaired streams in Southwestern PA and across the state requires more work. The buffers were planted on publicly owned or publicly accessible land—Allegheny County Parks, municipal parks, land trusts—but to make meaningful improvements, private landowners must step up and make changes in property management.

This means not mowing up to a stream, allowing vegetation to grow, and converting portions turf grass lawns to meadows, trees and shrubs. Planting a tree in your front or back yard, especially a native tree, can make a difference! Check out DCNR’s resources on riparian buffers and the Lawn Conversion Program.

Thank you to all partners and volunteers who helped along the way:
  • PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Allegheny County Parks Department
  • Allegheny County Parks Foundation
  • Allegheny Land Trust
  • Bartlett Trees
  • Chase Bank of America
  • C Power Management
  • FedEx
  • Hollow Oak Land Trust
  • Lower Chartiers Watershed Association
  • Municipalities of Bethel Park, Coraopolis, Findlay, Monroeville, Moon, North Fayette, Oakdale, Upper St. Clair
  • Montour Run Watershed Association
  • Penn State Master Watershed Stewards
  • Peters Creek Watershed Association
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Turtle Creek Watershed Association
  • Urban Land Institute
  • University of Pittsburgh- Pitt Serves