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Army Corps Recommends Restoring Ecosystem On Pittsburgh's North Shore

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommends restoring 7.3 acres of ecosystem on Pittsburgh’s North Shore along the Ohio River. 

Officials with the corps and its nonprofit partner Riverlife began a study of the area last year in hopes of restoring degraded riverbanks and improving the depleted aquatic and floodplain habitat.

President and CEO of Riverlife Vivien Li said the project could improve recreation in the 4,000-foot stretch between the West End Bridge in Chateau to the upstream corner flanking the Carnegie Science Center and address some important environmental needs.

“We’re going to be re-grading the existing high river banks to create a more natural, softer bank to encourage the return of native plants, fish, birds and other wildlife,” Li said. 

The completed, 10-month study, which includes both public and private land, also recommends removing invasive species and creating an additional wetland area to improve water quality by naturally filtering it before it enters the city's sewer system.

Li said these ideas reflect an evolving Army corps.

“They’ve moved away from really hard infrastructure into thinking about ways they can actually help communities restore their ecosystem," Li said. "And so this is going to create an eco-destination on the North Shore.”

The public is encouraged to attend a meeting on the proposed project from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9 at the Carnegie Science Center. Suggestions will also be accepted on the Army corps website through July 5. 

Li said she hopes the final report will be complete by this fall, so Riverlife and the corps can begin seeking funding for the multi-million dollar project. 

Construction could begin as early as 2018.