USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair, PA



2001 Governor's Award for Watershed Stewardship
2002 Enviro Star Award



  

Welcome!

USC Citizens for Land Stewardship (USC CLS) is a community conservation organization serving Upper St.Clair, PA.
Here you will find information about local conservation happenings and issues. CLS also offers a variety of outdoor activities
in celebration of our area's wonderful natural spaces  throughout the year!

Be sure to check this page often for news of what is happening or coming up in the natural world of USC!

AlT Cleanup

     Join us in a Cleanup Chartiers Creek event

                  April 17 | 10 am - 1 pm | Chartiers Greenway

Do you enjoy sloshing through muck and hauling trash? Well come out and help the Allegheny Land Trust stewardship team clean up Chartiers Creek at the Chartiers Greenway Conservation Area. This small landlocked green space sits in an oxbow curve of the stream and catches tons of trash from flowing downstream. Thanks to support from the Upper St Clair Citizens for Land Stewardship, we can beautify these woods and keep the creek healthy! COST: Free | AGES: All


Have you seen this?

While concern for land use is our primary concern as an organization, you can't be on the land without breathing the air and often you can see the effects of air pollution our own quality of life as well as on the plants and animals that reside with us.  For this reason, we want to bring to your attention a new resource which shows you on a map where bad air is coming from and where it is blowing.  We think you will be fascinated.  Click this link: Plume PGH - a project of CMU Pittsburgh


The Covid 19 Effect              



USC Citizens for Land Stewardship held its last public event in February 2020 when we hosted a very successful ROCIS program which enabled the participants to  measure the air quality in their homes and to develop strategies to make the inside air,  the air we breathe most of the time, as healthful as possible.  Right after the last ROCIS class, the Covid 19 virus reached Western Pennsylvania and USCCLS  shut down its programs and adopted all the recommended procedures to minimize the risk of spreading the infection.

It is now February 2021.  The people of Western Pennsylvania are gradually receiving one of the Covid 19 vaccines and the USC CLS Board of Directors believes it is time to plan for the day, sometime later this year, when we can return to our mission and begin to work again in the community..

The Board of Directors met via Zoom on Tuesday March 2nd.  Since the terms of office had all expired, new officers were elected.

The new officers are:
    • President           Jen Dalke
    • Vice President   Adam Wynne
    • Secretary           Mary Lee Maloy
    • Treasurer           Sam Bertenthal
Planning began for a clean up event  on the Allegheny Land Trust reserve adjacent to Frosty Acres Golf Club in Upper St. Clair on April 17th and for the Migratory Bird Count on May 8th in Boyce Mayview Park.  Watch this space for more details.

Everyone who has an interest in the preservation of township land, open space and preserving the natural enviroment in our community is encouraged to join us.  Click on this link: usccls@usccls.org  for information.


ROCIS Group Celebrates


USC CLS strives to serve our community   

As an organization, we are committed to promoting:
  • education on environmental issues

  • prudent and ethical land use policies to protect and enhance natural resources

  • awareness of the value of our natural landscapes

  • recognition of the enjoyment and benefits of natural spaces within our community

  • activities that promote harmony between people and nature

  • watershed restoration and re-introduction of native plant species


Current Issues: 

Strip Mining - The Risk is Past

Mayview State Hospital property is being developed without mining

South Fayette Township is working with Charter Homes & Neighborhoods of Lancaster to create a new development to be called Hastings.  The first phase will consist of 44 single-family homes, 49 townhouses and 260 apartments along with a restaurant, pool, clubhouse and day-care center.  Upper St. Clair Township is working with the developer to provide a connecting trail across or around this property so that the Boyce Mayview Park Perimeter Trail can connect to a proposed connection to the Montour Trail which is south of the site.

The developer does not plan to either strip mine or conduct fracking on the site.  USC CLS actively encouraged the South Fayette Planning Commission not to approve a zoning change which would have enabled the site to be strip mined before developed for longer term uses.  We are pleased that this is not going to happen.  We will be following the project as it develops and encourage responsible land use practices when appropriate..

light pollution

Light Polution

Boyce Mayview Park has become one of the most successful stories of conservation in Upper St. Clair, as well as a fantastic resource for our community with the Community and Recreation Center, many hiking trails, and The Outdoor Classroom. USC CLS is proud to have been a voice in the process that has allowed the Master Plan to come to life on the 450 acre site. However, while the development of the site into an accessible and popular park has been inspiring, it is important to consider the effects that any development have on the natural spaces nearby. One of the main issues that comes into play with any developed space is light pollution. As of July 1, 2013, Upper St. Clair Township has approved temporary lighting for the ball fields at Boyce Mayview Park, including the Miracle Field.

USC CLS understands the appeal of lighting the fields for evening ball games with bright, stadium-style lighting in the park. However, USC CLS is hoping to eliminate any unnecessary use of these lights in order to minimize the effects that light pollution will have on not only the habitats in Boyce Mayview Park, but also the wildlife and people living in surrounding areas.

What is light pollution and why is it a concern? Light pollution can be described as the often disruptive impact of artificial light on both the darkness of the night sky and the light-related biological rhythms of life in the lighted area. As stated in a 2008 National Geographic report on light pollution, “Ill-designed lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels—and light rhythms—to which many forms of life, including ourselves, have adapted. Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life—migration, reproduction, feeding—is affected.” You are likely already familiar with the effects of light pollution if you have ever compared the view of the night sky in a city to a rural area. However, the effects of light pollution are not limited to cities; the type of lighting proposed for the athletic fields at Boyce Mayview Park would bring the same negative outcomes of light pollution to the surrounding areas in USC. We are calling for a sensible plan for the management of these lights, including exploring options such as timers and pay per use similar to the successful setup of the township tennis bubbles.

Below are some useful links to learn more about light pollution, including the website of the International Dark Sky Association.

http://www.darksky.org/

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/Downloads/Athletic_Field_Lighting_draft0710.pdf
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/darkness-natural-resource-and-were-losing-it.html

Looking to get involved? Volunteer with us!

There are many volunteer opportunities with USC CLS.  Are you a student  in need of service hours? Are you retired and looking for a way to stay active and involved in the community? Do you have special skills that you could use to assist a small community group? Do you simply love the great outdoors? No matter what your interests, USC CLS can use your help! We are a friendly, passionate community and would love to have you on board. Please contact us at usccls@usccls.org for more information.

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