Ohio & Lower Allegheny Region
The Ohio River and Lower Allegheny River are integral to the social, cultural and economic fabric of Western Pennsylvania. Much of our region’s identity is derived from the rivers that run through it. Beyond their important economic and recreational value, the Ohio River and its tributaries represent one of the most diverse freshwater ecosystems on earth. For this reason, the Ohio and Allegheny rivers are high-priority conservation targets, from their headwaters in Pennsylvania and across the Midwest.
The quality of plant and animal habitats and ecosystems vary significantly along the 981-mile course of the Ohio River, the 321-mile length of the Allegheny River and their tributaries. Certain reaches of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers and particular tributaries such as Little Mahoning Creek and the Shenango River represent ecosystems of high quality – as demonstrated by a richness of fish and mussel species. In other sections of these waterways, however, human development has degraded water quality and affected ecosystems. These impacted sections present challenges to the viability of the entire river system and the life it harbors.
WPC seeks to restore these waterways while working within the present framework of human uses. We support innovative, cost-effective efforts that conserve and restore the health of these river ecosystems.
- Working with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop creative ways to maintain and improve aquatic ecosystem viability in the “working river”
- Conducting inventories of existing freshwater mussel populations in the Allegheny and Ohio River navigational pools
- Mapping the river bottom to contribute to building a comprehensive River Information System that can be used by government agencies, academia, and recreational users to study and manage the river
- Identifying opportunities to treat acid mine drainage pollution
- Monitoring water quality monitoring
- Implementing agricultural best management practices
- Stream-bank stabilization projects
- Working with local municipalities to implement dirt and gravel road best management practices
- Facilitating Watershed Conservation Planning to support local conservation initiatives