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The Mon Water Project aims to conserve, restore, enjoy and protect water

By Annie Quinn

I would like to introduce myself and a new organization in our area. My name is Annie Quinn and I am a freshwater ecologist and environmental scientist living in Greenfield. I am pleased to introduce The Mon Water Project, which will be helping our area advocate for sustainable water policies and practices. We receive fiscal sponsorship from New Sun Rising, a non-profit incubator in Millvale that helps programs like mine grow and launch. We are just starting out and I want to introduce the project to everyone!

Our Mission

The Mon Water Project and its coalition will conserve, restore, enjoy and protect our neighborhood’s tributary waters to the Monongahela River. We will educate and activate individuals as we plan, partner and build science-based solutions in our shared watershed.

Our Vision

We believe that flooding is solvable, creeks are restorable, rivers are for recreation and urban land use practices can be a part of a sustainable restoration and conservation movement in the City of Pittsburgh and its rivers.

But that mission and vision will take a lot of work, partners and community-focused advocacy. Fortunately, in the city of rivers we have a rich history of fighting for environmental protection.

The Clean Water Act

In 1972, the United States government took its biggest step toward federal water protection by passing the Clean Water Act (CWA). Some claim it was local environmentalist Rachel Carson who helped spearhead the movement that led to that legislation. Some say it was our sister city Cleveland and its Cuyahoga River catching fire.

Did you know the Mon caught fire too? Just as Pittsburgh was known for smog and soot in the air, Pittsburgh rivers were severely polluted and just as flammable.

The world is a complicated place; all these factors and more led to the environmental movement and clean water legislation that legally protects our waters. The act has resulted in federal, state and local laws that are helping rivers thrive again. When we see bald eagles nesting in Hays Woods, and flourishing fish colonies in our rivers, we can celebrate how far we have come.

Even so, how do we know our rivers are thriving? Are our rivers clean? Is our water safe? Would you swim in the Monongahela River? Would you let your kids?

The world remains a complicated place and our river systems reflect that complexity, but they have not fully recovered. The CWA has not been fully achieved, enforced and respected in its 50-year history. Pittsburgh still has a long way to go to restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable water to its three rivers and many tributaries.

Solutions through community advocacy

Our city, our neighborhoods, houses and parks are surrounded, built around and built over these water systems. As a result, our city is also constantly managing these hidden water resources, like a heart maintains its blood pressure. Right now, our infrastructure is not well. Our water is sick.

Environmental movements and solutions must come through community activation and advocacy. Leaning on our rich history of social movements and citizen scientists, we too, as the neighborhoods of the Monongahela Peninsula in the city of Pittsburgh, demand action! We demand clean rivers, floodproof neighborhoods and basements, and sustainable land use practices that protect our cricks and hollows.

We do not have to invent the wheel, we just need to join the party! Communities all around us have worked together to let their voices be heard about water issues in this city. To our north, the Negley Run Task Force helps Larimar, Point Breeze, East Liberty, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, and Homewood take coordinated and direct action to address the history of deadly flooding on Washington Boulevard. The task force is working in both the basin, park, and upper neighborhoods toward solutions. Across the Mon, Watersheds of South Pittsburgh is working with municipal leaders and City Planning to redesign and rethink Saw Mill Run and Route 51. To our east, Upstream Pittsburgh has worked for decades to protect, restore and invest in the restoration of Nine Mile Run and Frick Park.

We, the neighborhoods of Oakland, Squirrel Hill, Greenfield, Hazelwood and Glen Hazel, can no longer remain silent about the struggles and devastating water issues in our region!

Make your voice heard!

The Mon Water Project is here to amplify your voice, advocate for environmental protections and address water issues in the region. We are looking for people to volunteer for our leadership committee and help guide our priorities and activities. To get involved, visit our website, and sign up for our newsletter.

Join the Mon Water Project's first advocacy event!

Make your voice heard with the Mon Water project at a PWSA Stormwater Strategic Plan community meeting on Feb 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the IUOE, Local 95, 300 Saline Street, Pittsburgh PA 15207. A meal and childcare will be provided.

Annie Quinn is an environmental scientist living in Greenfield and the founder and director of The Mon Water Project.


February: A most succinct month

By Vicar David L. Wenndt

February: as with all months, February carries many connotations for different people. It is the shortest month of the year, having only 28, or in the case of leap years, 29 days. It is also the second full month of winter; gone are the nostalgic winter memories where we walked in a winter wonderland, or dreamt of a white Christmas, and instead are just left with the cold realities of winter, making it a difficult month for many.

February is a month that has positive celebrations as well! February is Black History Month, where we pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society in a variety of ways. February is also the month that has Valentine's Day. As the story goes, St. Valentine secretly married couples during a period of Roman persecution in the third century. In modern days, many people honor that day with a celebration of love.

We here at Holy Cross love our neighborhood, and love each and every one of you! Whatever comes to mind for you when you think of February, whether positive or negative, we’d love to see you and talk about it with you. We would love to spend time with you, and help you with anything you need help with. Feel free to stop by, whether for a service, a Bible study, to get some food or clothes, to pray, or just to talk. We look forward to seeing you, and continuing to be involved in your life!

David Wenndt is vicar at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Chapel in Hazelwood.


War, peace and connection in a commandment, a quote and poem

By Jim McCue

Jim McCue. Screenshot from

I remember my mom saying, "It takes two to make a fight."

We need to wake up to the incredible beauty all around us - despite the terrible things - and our reliance on each other.

Thou shalt not kill.

– Exodus 20:13

No war is ever won. There is no just war. War is a habit. The way to win a war is to make friends with the enemy. We so often assume we have to fight. If we only remembered the oneness with the Universe we felt when first born, we would get along with everybody. We are all one family, as difficult as that is to imagine.

I don't know [what weapons will be used in the Third World War]. But I can tell you what they’ll use in the Fourth: rocks!

– Albert Einstein

We are so used to the assumption that we are separate from the rest of the Universe that we think we have to fight. For thousands of years now we have disrespected Earth. Now we are dealing with the wrenching changes interacting with each other. Each person is good at heart, I think, regardless of what they've done.

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him in!

– Edwin Markham

Read more from Jim McCue at


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