USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair

McLaughlin Run Project

Specifics of the McLaughlin Run Project

More development means more roads, driveways, roofs and other impervious surfaces and less vegetated land to absorb water. Where does the water go? It still flows into our streams but does so ever more quickly through stormwater drains and culverts. After heavy rains, the rapid, high flows surge into streambeds. Water and debris pound against the channel and banks, tearing away soil and eventually collapsing the banks. A walk along McLaughlin Run reveals the damage that can occur from storm water flows.

The CLS and the Township have received a grant through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319 Grant Program for stream stabilization and enhancement. The program’s goal is to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and reduce flood impacts through stream channel management.

The grant involves the completion of a streambank stabilization/riparian improvement project along McLaughlin Run in the area of the Recreation Center and the 3-hole golf course. The work will allow banks to be graded and stabilized with native plantings, rock gabions, and long sausage-like rolls of coconut fiber called biologs. Additional plantings of shrubs and trees will enhance the riparian corridor creating wildlife habitats, increasing soil retention and providing a pleasant and interesting view along McLaughlin Run.

CLS sees this opportunity as a way to begin tackling the problems that have long plagued urbanized streams like McLaughlin Run. Stabilizing the banks helps to check erosion and sedimentation. Plantings of trees and shrubs helps to control water levels and filter runoff from highways, parking lots, and construction. Ultimately, these efforts will translate into improved water quality for Chartiers Creek and the Ohio River. They will also complement the work that other municipalities, organizations and people in the watershed are undertaking. The Chartiers Creek Watershed Coalition (CCWC) is one such group and is working to unite interests in the watershed to work toward common (water quality) goals. USC CLS is a member of CCWC.

Work began this spring with the clearing of Multiflora Rose and the planting of native species along a portion of the stream beside the Gilfillan trail, planting of native species on the bank of McLaughlin Run behind the township building, and the planting of trees and bushes near the golf course during community day. The majority of the work is expected in the fall of 2000. The work project team includes CLS, the Township, the School District, the Boy Scouts, and other community service organizations. Many volunteers will be needed to help with plantings and other work. If you would like to lend a hand and help in this exciting community conservation project, please visit our Volunteer page.