Project Progress

The development of the Buffalo River ERMP is a multi-step process, driven by stakeholder input. The Project will engage in the following activities in development of the Plan:

  1. Acquire, review and integrate information on the existing conditions of the ERMP focus area
  2. Develop restoration targets
  3. Conduct field assessments
  4. Identify and evaluate reference sites and restoration sites
  5. Prepare a draft and final ERMP

Project update: Spring 2010

 

Acquisition, Review and Integration of Existing Information

A desktop analysis and review of background information is underway to generally describe ecological and cultural characteristics of the study area and more completely the focus area, and of sites previously identified for restoration by other projects and groups (e.g., USACE, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Great Lakes Legacy Act project, etc.). This includes all forms of historical and current information, (e.g., scientific, local knowledge, innovations and practices).

 

Baseline condition categories under review include:

  • Wetlands and waterbodies
  • Watersheds and water quality
  • Soils and sediment conditions
  • Land use and land cover
  • Fish species
  • Bird and wildlife species
  • Threatened and endangered species

Next, the Project team will develop restoration targets. These targets will be developed as outgrowths of the stakeholder coordination process. The stakeholder project “kick-off” meeting took place in June 2010 and included representatives of local municipalities, state and federal agencies, interest groups and businesses. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project, establish preliminary goals, and solicit input on restoration opportunities and challenges.

 

Project update: Summer 2010

Summer Kickoff Meeting

During the June 2010 project kickoff meeting stakeholders were asked to help refine the ERMP mission statement, identify broad opportunities and challenges of ecological restoration along the river, and provide input on potential restoration sites.

 

The feedback the project team received regarding the opportunities and constraints associated with the development of the ERMP has been organized and categorized into a master list. Feedback fell into the following main categories:

  • Habitat Restoration/Protection/Enhancement
  • Education/Awareness
  • Human Use/Future Enjoyment
  • Stakeholder Collaboration
  • Pollution Control
  • Precendent for other AOC's 
  • Funding
  • Outside Influences/Future Threats
  • Project Support/Landowner Consent

The categorized list can be found at http://www.buffaloriverermp.ene.com/Documents.

Stakeholder Outreach

The project team reached out to specific stakeholders, such as local municipalities and businesses, to follow-up on sites within the ERMP project area. Meetings were scheduled and/or hosted with the stormwater management officers for the towns of Cheektowaga, West Seneca, and Lancaster. Additionally, the project team met with representatives of the Tonawanda Band of Senecas and the Tuscarora Nation. Further meetings were scheduled to round out the ERMP focus and priorities. 

 

Project update: Fall 2010

 

Evaluation of Potential Restoration Project Sites

The project team compiled a list of over 60 distinct areas with potential for habitat improvement.  The team used GIS and other data to determine which sites had the greatest potential for positive impacts on habitat conditions in the Area of Concern. The following characteristics were used to identify sites that were best suited to habitat restoration and therefore warranted detailed evaluation in the field:

  • distance to the River or its tributaries;
  • the suitability of the existing uses or land cover for restoration
  • the presence of floodplain or wetlands; and
  • connectivity to high quality habitats.

The project team evaluated the 38 best sites in the field in October and early November. As a result of the field assessment, 26 sites were identified as having the best potential for contributing to the delisting of the habitat-related BUIs. The project team is developing project concepts to be included in the ERMP for each of the 26 identified sites.

 

Stakeholder Outreach

Meetings were conducted with the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, and Buffalo Green Energy.  A meeting was also held with local business that have a vested interest in restoration and development along the Buffalo River.  The meetings served to provide valuable information to the project team regarding local priorities and ongoing or planned activities on candidate restoration sites.

   
   
            

Timeline

DateWhat's happening
Spring/Summer 2010 ERMP project initiated
  1st stakeholder meeting and follow up one-on-one meetings
Summer/Fall 2010 Desktop analysis, reference site criteria development, and field assessments
Spring 2011 Draft ERMP (available on website--opportunity for public comment) and 2nd stakeholder meeting
Summer 2011 Final ERMP (available on website)