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Grant boosts boat access to the Monongahela River

| Monday, March 26, 2012

A federal grant is going to give boaters more access to the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing $405,377 toward the cost of improving the South Side Works Marina through a Boating Infrastructure Grant. The project will involve constructing 16 transient boat slips and other amenities and services adjacent to the South Shore Riverfront Park on the Monongahela River.

The grant is one of many, worth $2.5 million, released for projects in 26 states. The money may be used to construct, renovate and maintain facilities with features for transient boats — those staying 10 days or less — that are 26 feet or longer and used for recreation. Grantees also may use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.

The grant will not cover the cost of the project; the total bill is $643,456. The remaining $238,079 will come in the form of matching funding provided by the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority in collaboration with Soffer Organization and Fox Chapel Sea Ray Inc.

Habitat gains

Roughly 28 acres of state game land 95 in Butler County underwent a makeover this winter.

Pennsylvania Game Commission land management group supervisor Jeffrey Kendall said areas around what is known locally as the Glades have been cut with a hydroaxe machine to create early successional habitat.

"The areas have all vegetation cut to ground level. These areas will be chemically treated late this summer to remove invasive species," he said. "Next year, these areas will look much better and, in advancing years, look great for many species of wildlife."

More facilities

Visitors to Forbes State Forest will see some improvements.

Vault toilet restrooms will be installed at the Route 31 snowmobile trailhead in Donegal Township. Another will be put in at the Lick Hollow Picnic Area in Hopwood Township in Fayette County. A bridge replacement will be done on White Oak Road over Wolf Run and Mud Run.

At Pymatuning State Park in Crawford County, a contract was awarded to connect the park's Jamestown campgrounds and cabin area to the Shenango Township sewer authority.

Board member

A Butler County man was named to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's national board of directors.

Rodger Fleming helped start the Foundation's Three Rivers Chapter in Pittsburgh, which has raised more than $3 million. He has been active on that chapter's committee for 23 years. He also has served as a state chair and board director in both the United States and Canada.

Fleming is a life member and benefactor habitat partner with the group.

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