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Nine Mile Run Watershed Association puts to work $50K grant

Nine Mile Run Watershed Association (NMRWA) has received a $50,000 grant from Aquarius Spring, a Coca-Cola brand that is providing grants to community watershed organizations in 10 national markets.

This grant will aid in NMRWA's goal of restoring and protecting the Nine Mile Run Watershed through demonstration projects, advocacy and citizen engagement, including community clean-up events and the Rain Barrel Initiative, which is now about halfway to its goal of placing 4,000 rain barrels at homes around the watershed by the end of 2010.

The 6.5-square-mile watershed underwent a $7.7 million ecosystem restoration in 2006. It spans Edgewood and Wilkinsburg, portions of Swissvale and some areas in Pittsburgh, including parts of Point Breeze, Squirrel Hill and all of Frick Park, where NMRWA is holding events this week in partnership with Aquarius Spring.

On Saturday, volunteers did a "stream sweep" in Lower Frick Park, clearing away debris that's washed into the watershed as a result of recent storms.

"What people don't realize is that when you see litter in the stream, it's not necessarily because people are littering in the park," says Executive Director Brenda Smith. "Anything that's on the street anywhere near the watershed in heavy rain is going to be washed into the sewer and then directly into Nine Mile Run."

This Wednesday, NMRWA has organized a "restoration day" at Falls Ravine in Frick Park. Volunteers will be clearing sediment buildup that interferes with the natural draining process, and will be reinforcing the stream bank.

The Aquarius Spring grant is also going toward monitoring and building the Regent Square Gateway, an entrance to Frick Park that will clean stormwater and educate people about the watershed as well as stormwater problems in the region.

Writer: Caralyn Green

Source: Brenda Smith, executive director, NMRWA

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