Big Sewickley Creek Watershed Rivers Conservation & Stewardship Plan
In 2021, our Community Conservation team finished producing a Rivers Conservation and Stewardship Plan (RC&SP) for the Big Sewickley Creek Watershed (BSCW). The goal for the watershed was to create a better public understanding of: the watershed’s natural and cultural assets; the threats to water quality and property due to flooding, natural resource exploration, residential and commercial development, outdated municipal codes, infrastructure buildout, and other threats; of the conflicting interests in land use and potential resolutions to those conflicts; and the opportunities to maintain the watershed as a beautiful and healthy place to reside and recreate.
The BSCW encompasses approximately 30-square miles across parts of 12 municipalities in three counties. Economy Borough (Beaver County) and Marshall Township (Allegheny County) have the largest percentage of land area in the watershed. The headwaters reach as far east as Bradford Woods and Cranberry. The main stem of the creek itself is considered the boundary between Allegheny and Beaver Counties for the majority of its course to its mouth at the Ohio River between Leetsdale and Ambridge.
The watershed is rich with recreational and environmental assets with eight municipal parks, two Sportsman Associations, several privately-protected conservation areas, and a 1,200-acre State Gamelands No. 203 within the watershed. Plenty of off-road trails are very popular with equestrians and mountain bikers, and road cyclists are often seen riding in groups with team colors on the local roads. Fishing holes and stream habitat attract anglers of all ages on Opening Day of trout season, and the large tracts of green space are popular for small game and deer hunting. The watershed also contains critical habitat for several plant and animal species, as noted with the Six Natural Heritage Areas have recently been identified or reverified in 2020.
As a result of a watershed festival, several passionate residents connected to form a watershed association. The Big Sewickley Creek Watershed Association’s mission is to bring together the community to promote actions that benefit our waterways, and our world, as a whole and to conserve the Big Sewickley Creek for the enjoyment of current and future generations. For the latest activity, visit the Big Sewickley Creek Watershed Association’s Facebook page.
We want to thank the watershed group, researchers, municipal officials, interns, contractors, and neighbors within the watershed for the support provided during the planning process. To find more details on partners and supporters, please review the plan.
We welcome you to review a final version of the executive summary (link to come soon) or the full plan (link to come soon). You can find a map of the watershed below; please note that the map may take a while to load depending on your browser.