Five year effort makes for a grand view
November 22, 2011
Thanks to a five year effort by the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation and its partners to sustainably restore the view and reestablish a native hillside habitat, the view from Grandview Avenue is grand once again.
These restored areas will now require little maintenance and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars less to maintain over the long run than the previous maintenance regime.
In 2006, tall and invasive trees growing in Emerald View Park were blocking the view from Grandview Avenue and other wellvisited parts of the Park. The MWCDC and their partners, the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Cooperative Extension, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and Civil and Environmental Consultant, Inc. created a sustainable and environmentallyfriendly methodology that involved replacing tall and invasive trees with low growing native trees and shrubs that would never block the view.
The methodology was meant to replace the previous management technique and restore the vegetation over a five-year period. This fall, the pilot project area has completed this five-year cycle, and data is showing significant success both at the pilot project and at three additional areas that are being restored.
The Five Year Program update shows the following results:
• 5.5 acres of prime viewshed are currently being restored;
• More than 3,200 trees and 2,500 pounds of native grass seed were planted in the restoration sites;
• Storm water retention has been improved by 20 percent across many of the sites;
• Dramatic declines in the presence of invasive plants were recorded annually;
• The pilot project has experienced a striking reduction in management cost from $3.39/square foot in the first year to $0.14/square foot in the fifth year;
• Over the long-term, the sustainable methodology will cost up to 19 times less than the previous management practice.
The findings point to a sustainable practice to protect the economically important view of downtown Pittsburgh in a more ecologically sensitive manner, but it protects it in a more economically responsible manner, saving considerable money for the people of the City of Pittsburgh over the long run.
This project was supported through the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Colcom Foundation, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, TreeVitalize