Ribbon Cutting Scheduled for a New Bioswale in Point State Park

WHAT: The Garden Club of Allegheny County (GCAC), Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) invite the public to a ribbon cutting for the new Point State Park Bioswale.

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, GCAC raised $100,000 to fund this special bioswale, which will help capture stormwater runoff flowing into the park from the roadway and bridge overpass. The project also serves as a community demonstration to help inform the public about the benefits and role of green infrastructure in capturing and controlling stormwater runoff. The garden club awarded a grant to WPC, which worked closely in partnership with the club, DCNR and the Penn State Master Gardeners to install the bioswale and plant native plants.

Bioswales are landscape elements designed and built to control and filter stormwater runoff. Often constructed near roadways and parking lots, these structures are typically wide, shallow depressions containing soil, native plants and vegetation, rocks and boulders with slopes that are steep enough to prevent ponding, yet gentle enough to encourage filtering. As part of the project, signs will be installed near the bioswale and along the park’s walkways to highlight the importance of green infrastructure projects and planting native vegetation that can help attract birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife.

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh
The event will be held near the new bioswale, which is located near the main entrance of the park underneath the Fort Pitt Bridge underpass. (White event tents will help alert the media and guests to the area.)

WHO: The Garden Club of Allegheny County
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Representatives from these organizations will speak as part of a brief program to highlight the benefits of this project and partnership. Speakers will be available for interviews after the event. There will be an interactive-watershed display about the effects of uncontrolled stormwater runoff and highlight ways community members can help prevent ponding and flooding events along local waterways and streets.

WHY: Bioswales offer green and less expensive stormwater-collection alternatives to installing traditional sewer pipes and drains under roadways. Green infrastructure projects, like bioswales, rain gardens and tree trenches, help to capture, filter and slow the release of stormwater. This process helps to reduce the rush of stormwater that can overwhelm and overflow sewer drains, which can lead to localized flooding or roadway ponding. Reducing the flow of stormwater also helps prevent non-point source water pollution like litter, pet waste and automotive fluids from entering sewer drains and eventually flowing into local streams and rivers.

Point State Park attracts nearly three million visitors annually for events, sightseeing and recreation, making it the second largest attended state park in Pennsylvania. The garden club wanted its centennial project to be in a highly visible and well-known location that also could benefit from a green infrastructure project. This new bioswale supports restoration and enhancement improvements to Point State Park that were completed in 2013.

Through the collaborative partnership, the project will serve as another attraction in the park, a community education project and an active bioswale that could potentially filter thousands of gallons of stormwater each year.


The Garden Club of Allegheny County (GCAC):
The Garden Club of Allegheny County was founded in 1914 by a group of civic-minded women who were passionate about the benefits of public and private gardening. Since that time, members of GCAC have devoted countless hours and resources to protect and improve the natural environment of the community we all share. GCAC has made over $1,000,000 total contributions to environmental projects and programs in our community.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC):
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 252,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,500 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of nearly 10,000 members. For more information, visit

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR):
As the steward of nearly 300,000 acres of land and accompanying facilities, the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks is the largest single provider of outdoor recreational opportunities in the Commonwealth. The primary purpose of state parks is to provide opportunities for enjoying healthful outdoor recreation and to serve as outdoor classrooms for environmental education. The bureau serves approximately 38 million visitors each year while protecting the resources found within 120 state parks. For information about volunteering in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forestlands throughout the year, visit For details on Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks, call 1-888-PA-PARKS between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; or visit (Select “Find a Park”).


GCAC: Maureen Young, 412-260-2456,

WPC: Carmen Bray, 412-586-2358,

DCNR: Tamara E. Peffer, 717-783-4358,