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Rivers and Watersheds

See also: Water Quality & Conservation, Boating, and Paddling.

Selected Books

Burns, Daniel J.
Pittsburgh's Rivers
F159.P643 B87 2006x
Using archival photographs and maps accompanied by detailed captions, freelance writer Burns describes how the Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela Rivers contributed to the economic and social development of Pittsburgh.
Dennis, Jerry
The Bird in the Waterfall: A Natural History of the Oceans, Rivers and Lakes
GB661.2.D46 1996
Nature writer Dennis bring together his own personal experiences, scientific explanations, mythology, folklore, and history in this discusssion about the earth's water system.
Hood, Mary A.
Rivertime: Ecotravel on the World's Rivers
QH97.H66 2008
Poet and biologist Mary A. Hood gives us a travelogue of our world's rivers, including the Mississippi, the Danube, the Amazon, the Yangtze, the Ganges, and the Nile.
McGuinness, Marci Lynn
The Explorer's Guide to the Youghiogheny River Region, Ohiopyle & S.W. Pennsylvania's Villages
F157.Y72 M33 2000x
This is a travel guide to the white water rafting area around Ohiopyle.
Palmer, Tim
Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation
QH76 .P355 1994
Protecting North American rivers should be the centerpiece for conservation movements, suggests writer and conservationist Palmer. He lays out what he sees as the fundamental reasons for river conservation efforts.
Palmer, Tim
Youghiogheny, Appalachian River
F157.Y72 P35 1984
By canoe, raft, van, and on foot, Tim Palmer explores the river from its highest spring to its industrial end. He writes about the people - afternoon visitors and eigth-generation natives - and about their pasts and their hopes, about the shaping of the land, and the land’s inevitable shaping of them.
Pregracke, Chad
From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers
TD223.P73 2007
This is the story of Chad Pregracke's campaign to clean up the Mississippi River near his home. After failing to get government funding, he created a successful nonprofit organization called Living Lands & Waters with private funding.
Williams, Charles E.
Along the Allegheny River: the Northern Watershed
PENNA F157.A5 W549 2006
Along the Allegheny River: The Northern Watershed features over 200 historic postcards of the landscapes, people, industries, and events from the river's origin in Potter County to its juncture with the Clarion River near Parker, Pennsylvania.
Williams, Charles E.
Along the Allegheny River: the Southern Watershed
PENNA F157.A5 W55 2006x
Along the Allegheny River: The Southern Watershed features over 200 historic postcards of the landscapes, people, industries, and events that shaped the history of the southern Allegheny River Valley, from East Brady, PA, to Pittsburgh.

Selected Videos

Jacques Cousteau River Explorations
(DVD) GB1203.2.J335 2006x
This is a collections of 6 videodiscs covering Cousteau's explorations of the Danube, the Mississippi, and the Amazon Rivers.
The Mon, the Al & the O
(DVD) HE393.5.P4 M663 2007x
In this video, Rick Sebak looks at Pittsburgh's three rivers: the Monongahela, the Allegheny, and the Ohio.
Boating upon the Three Rivers
(DVD) GV776.P42 P548 2007x
Presents an overview of recreational boating, with special emphasis on boating on Pittsburgh's Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers.

Browse the Catalog

For additional resources browse the library catalog under the subjects:



  • 3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Program
    a partnership of ALCOSAN and the Allegheny County Health Department established to provide county communities with the institutional, technical and financial tools to eliminate wet weather sewer overflows.
  • Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan
    This 2010 vision plan (31 MB) from the Pittsburgh Mayor's Office represents the efforts of hundreds of neighborhood stakeholders working together to create a market-based vision for the future of the Allegheny Riverfront.
  • Clean Rivers Campaign
    The Clean Rivers Campaign supports the federally-mandated solution to the sewage overflow problem: stop stormwater runoff from entering the sewage system at its source. They support creating a green infrastructure, such as permeable streets and sidewalks, green roofs, trees, and rain gardens, which use vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls.
  • Find the Rivers
    Find the Rivers! is an effort to expand the Hill District's economic, social and cultural opportunities by linking residents and Hill-based organizations to Pittsburgh's three rivers. The project is a collaboration between Hill House, Community Partners Institute, Carnegie Mellon University and the Riverlife Task Force.
  • Friends of the Riverfront
    A membership based organization dedicated to improved public access and appreciation of Pittsburgh waterfront and the continued expansion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
  • Nine Mile Run Watershed Association
    The Nine Mile Run Watershed is a small urban watershed located in Pittsburgh's East End. The 6.5 square mile Nine Mile Run watershed includes the boroughs of Edgewood, Swissvale, Wilkinsburg, and part of the City of Pittsburgh. It is home to close to 48,000 people as well as 250 plant species, 22 different mammals, and 189 types of birds. Water from the Nine Mile Run Watershed flows into the Monongahela, then the Ohio, then the Mississippi River, and eventually reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Riverlife
    The Riverlife Task Force was a public-private partnership established in 2000 to guide and advocate for the redevelopment of Pittsburgh's riverfronts. Their primary vision is a Three Rivers Park, an expanse of hundreds of acres along 13 linear miles of waterfront that brings recreation, ecological restoration and economic opportunity back to our waterfronts.
  • RiverQuest
    RiverQuest is a non-profit educational organization that operates a river learning center for students, teachers and the community of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
  • Three Rivers Waterkeeper
    The Three Rivers Waterkeeper is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the water quality of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers along with their respective watersheds through water sampling, discharge and use permit review, community engagement, and active investigation of all potential threats to water quality.

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Allegheny County


Western Pennsylvania



  • Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
    The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, formerly known as the Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program, is a grant-making foundation that invests in efforts to protect and restore watersheds.
  • PA Watersheds
    Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) is the Pennsylvania Commonwealth's only statewide river conservation and watershed networking organization. POWR works with a diversity of groups, individuals, agencies, and educational institutions to maintain and enhance Pennsylvania's 83,000 miles of streams and rivers and their associated watershed resources. Their Watershed Weekly is online.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources: Rivers
    Each year the DCNR provides funding for "river sojourns" on Pennsylvania Rivers. Check here for information about the sojourns in various areas of the state. June is Pennsylvania Rivers Month.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: Watershed Management
    Includes "PA Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual".
  • Pennsylvania Water Resources Education Network (WREN)
    A project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. WREN publishes a quarterly newsletter, Water Policy News, maintains a Resource Center in the LWVPA office in Harrisburg, provides funding for local coalitions to carry out community based educational projects and provides information on local water resource projects throughout the state.
  • StormwaterPA
    StormwaterPA has been developed to help municipalities throughout Pennsylvania apply the most effective, proven techniques in stormwater management to their community's needs. StormwaterPA is an initiative of GreenTreks Network, Inc., a Philadelphia-based non-profit communications organization whose mission is moving people towards a more sustainable world.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency: Surf Your Watershed: Pennsylvania
    Search a database of environmental resources about your local watershed. Also check the water quality throughout the state of Pennsylvania

Nearby States

  • Canaan Valley Institute
    CVI is a not-for-profit, non-advocacy organization committed to clean water, healthy streams and watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (including portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and all of West Virginia).
  • Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
    The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge conserves the "wild Ohio" within one of our nation's busiest inland waterways. Established in 1990, the refuge extends along 362 miles of the upper Ohio River with 22 scattered islands and three mainland properties.
  • Ohio River Radio Consortium
    The Ohio River Radio Consortium, hosted by WFPL, Louisville’s NPR news station, is a regional environmental news service, dedicated to covering the environment in the Ohio River Valley watershed.
  • ORSANCO: Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission
    Established on June 30, 1948 to control and abate pollution in the Ohio River Basin, ORSANCO is an interstate commission representing eight states and the federal government. Member states include: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • West Virginia Rivers Coalition
    WVRC is the second largest river conservation group in the country and the largest east of the Mississippi, with over 1,500 members and 46 affiliate organizations.

Web Sites

  • American Rivers
    North America's leading national river-conservation organization whose mission is to protect and restore America's river systems and to foster a river stewardship ethic. Includes a list of most endangered rivers and links to related sites
  • International Rivers Network
    The leading organization working to halt the construction of destructive river development projects and to promote sound river management options worldwide.
  • Izaak Walton League of America
    Founded in 1922 by Chicago anglers to combat stream pollution, IWLA's top goal continues to be water quality. Currently with more than 330 local chapters nationwide, including a Greater Pittsburgh Chapter.
  • National Park Service: National Center for Recreation and Conservation (NCRC)
    Serves as the National Park Service's focal point for working with an array of public and private partners in providing close-to-home recreation opportunities throughout the nation.
    • Rivers, Trails & Conservations Assistance Program
      "The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (Rivers & Trails) program of the National Park Service helps local groups and agencies undertake conservation projects -- like protecting rivers or developing trails -- in their community." The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the Ohio Greenways have received their support.
    • Land & Water Conservation Fund
      Provides matching grants to States and local government for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.
  • National Wetlands Research Center
    Part of the US Geological Survey providing information and research for the understanding and conservation of the nation's wetlands. Headquartered at the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

  • National Wild and Scenic Rivers
    The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by the US Congress in 1968 to protect rivers from abuse and preserve the character of the river.
  • River Network
    River Network and River Watch Network combined forces to provide support and advocacy to local grassroots watershed organizations.
  • USGS: Water Resources of the United States
    Information from the US Geological Survey
  • US Geological Survey: Ecological Status and Trends of the Upper Mississippi River System 1998
    A detailed report on the condition of the Upper Mississippi, including the Illinois River.
  • The Waterkeeper Alliance
    The Waterkeeper Alliance is a grass roots organization with individual waterkeeper programs both nationally and internationally. Riverkeepers are citizen river advocates who monitor rivers by means of a patrol boat and bring attention to problems such as illegal dumps, abandoned vessels, sewer overflows, pollution sources, etc.
  • The Waterfront Center
    A non-profit education and urban planning organization, headquartered in Washington DC, whose mission is to assist communities and professions in making the wisest and best long-term uses of waterfront resources for maximum public benefit.