For Immediate Release:
May 10, 2011
Erich Weyant, (716) 846-8258
ECHDC Hosts Presentation on Buffalo River Restoration Project
Unique, pubic-private-nonprofit collaboration will address issues
water quality, wildlife habitats
The Erie Canal Harbor
Development Corporation (ECHDC) today hosted a presentation on the
Buffalo River Restoration Project, a unique public-private-nonprofit
partnership to address a number of environmental problems affecting
the Buffalo River. The project is being conducted by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the United States Army
Corps of Engineers (USACE), the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER and
Honeywell. This partnership brings together diverse resources and
expertise and has developed plans for a comprehensive cleanup and
transformation of the river into a beneficial environmental,
economic and community resource.
“I want to thank Julie Barrett O’Neill for arranging this overview,”
said ECHDC President Thomas P. Dee. “The waterfront is going to
determine Buffalo’s role to the 21st Century, and this project is an
important step in making a key component, the Buffalo River, safe
and accessible for everyone.”
The dredging, capping and restoration efforts that are part of this
project address the challenges facing the Buffalo River, including
contaminated river sediments, lack of safe public access, poor water
quality and insufficient fish and wildlife habitats.
These initiatives emerged from the Draft Feasibility Study on
Remediating Contaminated Sediments (FS), which was completed in
November 2010 and evaluated five alternatives for remediating
contaminated sediments in the Area of Concern (AOC). The FS
recommends "Enhanced Protectiveness Dredging," which would include
targeted removal and isolated capping of contaminated sediments, as
well as habitat restoration.
The proposed alternatives were evaluated based on their potential to
accomplish four objectives:
- Reduce exposure to humans and wildlife from direct sediment
contact or through fish consumption by reducing the availability
and/or concentration of contaminants in the sediment;
- Reduce exposure of wildlife and aquatic communities to
harmful concentrations of contaminants;
- Reduce the potential for confined disposal of future dredged
sediments (for routine navigational, commercial, and
recreational purposes) by reducing contamination; and
- Implement a remedy that is compatible with the Buffalo River
Remedial Advisory Committee's goal of protecting and restoring
habitat and supporting wildlife.
Two large-scale dredging projects will be conducted over the next
two years. The first dredging project, conducted by the USACE in the
Federal navigation channel, will begin this spring. Funding for this
project will be provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
The second dredging project, scheduled to begin in 2012, will
address contaminated river sediments outside of the navigation
channel, mostly along a 6.2 mile stretch of the lower Buffalo River
and a 1.4 mile stretch of the City Ship Canal, which has been
designated as an AOC. This second project will be overseen by the
USEPA and will be funded through the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA).
In addition to advocating for and supporting the GLRI and GLLA which
is delivering federal funding to the Buffalo River, Congressman
Brian Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus,
secured $435,000 in direct funding for Buffalo River dredging
projects over the last three years.
These projects will address multiple contaminants that exist in
Buffalo River sediments, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH),
polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg).
Following the dredging project, habitat restoration will be
initiated in key locations, including Kelly Island, City Ship Canal,
Ohio Street shoreline, Katherine Street peninsula, Buffalo Color
peninsula shoreline, and the Riverbed parcel.
The following individuals may be contacted about issues related to
the Buffalo River AOC:
Director of Ecological Programs and Buffalo River Remedial Action
Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER
1250 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14213
Bruce I. Sanders
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207