ORWC Short Film by Andy McAllister

A film short about the Ohio River Watershed Celebration, a free cruise aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet in Pittsburgh, PA  that discusses the water quality improvements that have occurred in the Ohio River Basin due to the hard work of grassroots watershed groups. Written, Edited, and Directed by Andy McAllister. Featuring music by Ken Bonfield. 

 

 

“CONNECTED THROUGH OUR STREAMS” Ohio River Watershed Celebration

North Park Boathouse
ORWC Atendees

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the 13th Annual Ohio River Watershed Celebration (ORWC) held a wonderful and encouraging get-together!!!  This year we tried something new and really shook things up by taking the event onto LAND at the 3,000-acre North Park in Allegheny County.  We could not have asked for nicer weather!  A variety of activities were in several locations within the park including the Rose Barn, the pool, the Boat House, and “Lake Lane”.  About 40 different displays from local watershed groups, conservancies, nonprofits, governmental agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and industry had the opportunity to explain how we all are working together to make a positive impact on our environment.  We especially want to thank all of our Sponsors who donated so generously to make this event possible.  We could not have done it without them.
 
The event, which focuses on both wise energy use and watershed restoration, kicked off with music from “Acoustic by Dale Mangold” followed by a wide range of special guests with very welcoming and encouraging remarks including: 
 
Allegheny County - Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Colonel Bernard Lindstrom, Commander, Pgh District
U.S. Coast Guard – Lt. Ariana Mohnke & Marine Sci. Tech. First Class Jennifer Haggins, Pgh Waterways Branch
Allegheny County Parks Foundation - Caren Glotfelty, Director
PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources - Kristen Carter, Econ. Geol. Div. Mgr. & Nathan Flood, Dep. Sec. 
PA Department of Environmental Protection - Ronald Schwartz, Asst. Regional Director, Southwest Region
Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds - John Dawes, Executive Director
Town of McCandless - Toby Cordek, Manager
 
In addition, several speakers provided interesting and informative presentations throughout the afternoon in the Rose Barn on a variety of topics including:
 
“The Pine Creek Story” – Bill Moul, North Area Environmental Council
“History of DEP’s Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Efforts” – Pam Milavec, PADEP Div. of Watershed Res.
“Progress Toward a Sustainable Southwestern Pennsylvania” – Matt Mehalik, Carnegie Mellon University
“Restoration of Heth’s Run” – Bob Haney, Morningside Area Community Council
“Microhydropower Facility Utilizing Mine Drainage” – Tim Danehy, BioMost, Inc.
 
While a few displays were set up at the Rose Barn, most of the displays were located along “Lake Lane” where people could take a nice stroll and visit with all of these great organizations to learn about all of the good work they are doing!  Other activities along “Lake Lane” included macroinvertebrates with the Kiski-Connemaugh StreamTeam and a demonstration of a water sampling drone hexcopter by Russ Stutzman.  (We were honored to host the first-ever (!!!!) public demonstration of the water-sampling drone.)
 
At the Boathouse, people could take advantage of free canoeing on the lake thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.  We heard from several people that it was their very first experience canoeing!  In the parking lot in between the boat house and “Lake Lane” were a variety of electric and natural gas, alternative fuel vehicles including vehicles from Peoples Natural Gas, Blue Bird Bus Sales, Veterans Taxi, ProGas Inc., Giant Eagle, and McCandless Sewer Authority.  Star Transportation Group provided a $100,000 Tesla that is part of their limousine fleet.   In addition, the PA DEP’s Radiation Protection vehicle was on-site.
 
The propane-fueled Blue Bird Bus was also used for the Pine Creek Watershed Tour which provided the participants the opportunity to learn about the efforts of the Pine Creek Watershed Association and the North Area Environmental Council that are certainly making a difference.  Highlights of the tour included:
Habitat improvement & streambank restoration at Hampton Sewage Treatment Plant
Natural Stream Channel design for erosion prevention & streambank restoration at Shaler Twp. soccer park 
Innovative stormwater capture at Etna Borough 
Rain garden at Shaler Twp. Municipal building
 
Once again this year, there was a special section of the ORWC set-aside just for kids and their families.  The Imagination Station was organized this year by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania and was held at the pool area.  There were 13 different activity stations hosted by 11 different organizations providing a variety of educational opportunities and information on topics such as bird walks, native seeds, macroinvertebrates, urban watersheds, littering, green walls, rain barrels, etc.  In addition, there were live animals from the Pittsburgh Zoo and a falconry demonstration by the National Aviary.