With nine parks encompassing over 12,000 acres, Allegheny County boasts one of the largest regional park systems in the country. An array of abundant recreational activities makes each park a unique destination. Nature is the common thread that connects our parks and is our most treasured asset. The abundant resources found in our parks' forests, meadows and streams provide vital habitat for flora and fauna that clean our air and water, pollinate our plants and connect the web of life. We are stewards of these natural sanctuaries and are working to protect them for future generations.

Using state-of-the-art mapping and data collection techniques and on-the-ground field observations, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy staff identified several plant species in Boyce Park that deserve special protection because they are on the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program watch list and could become rare without further conservation action. These include the Glade fern and Crepis rattlesnake root, James' sedge and the butternut tree. Of particular note is a small population of Shumard oak that is designated a Pennsylvania endangered species.

Among its other recommendations, WPC suggested converting some mowed areas to restoration meadows to increase wildlife habitat, planting additional trees to restore native species, constructing bioswales to manage stormwater and developing a sustainable trail plan. Each of these recommendations is described in greater detail in the report. The Allegheny County Parks Foundation is working with Allegheny County to develop a prioritized set of implementation actions.

We are deeply grateful to the PNC Foundation for providing the funding to make this report possible. We also thank the outstanding staff at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Allegheny County Parks Department for their expertise and insightful contributions to this report. We look forward to working with the County Parks staff and other partners to implement these recommendations and to continue this important work in all of the Allegheny County Parks.

Download the final report.

Section I: Introduction, Background and Methods

Section II:  Ecological Overview

Section III:  Objectives, Issues and Opportunities

Section IV:  Recommendations

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