Buffalo River Restoration Effort brings Partners Together at Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park

Modified: September 8, 2017 11:25am

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Erie County’s Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park on Seneca Street in Buffalo was the site today for a multitude of volunteers helping to beautify and protect the Park itself and the adjoining waters of the Buffalo River. Personnel from the Erie County Environment and Planning and Parks departments were joined by counterparts from Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, Labatt USA, Pegula Sports Entertainment (“PSE”), the Sabres, Try-It Distributing and WNY PRISM to clean up the habitat area, remove invasive species, plant native pollinators and grasses, and place new trees and shrubs at the site.

“Our Erie County Parks are precious natural assets, entrusted to us to protect and preserve as a community,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “We all have a role to play in creating a cleaner and healthier environment and we welcome our partners in beautifying the Seneca Bluffs habitat today. Collaborations like this empower people in the community to effect change and take ownership in caring for the natural world around them.”

Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District) as well as representatives and volunteers from Labatt USA, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and WNY PRISM in the morning event at Seneca Bluffs. Labatt USA has partnered with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to focus on Buffalo River restoration efforts and has “adopted” the Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park as a long-term site for similar corporate community volunteer events; that support also provides for native pollinator plants and grasses planted this morning.

“This natural habitat area is well-used by the residents in the neighborhood and provides a peaceful oasis right here on Seneca Street,” said Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District). “By working with partners we are able to protect and maintain this beautiful area for this generation and the next.”

Each year, Labatt USA employees are asked to volunteer between eight to 16 hours to help “offset” the company’s social and environmental footprints, and Labatt USA’s parent company North American Breweries will invest a minimum of 6,000 volunteer hours this year to impact communities all over the United States. As a part of their “Tap It Forward Day” initiative, approximately 75 Labatt USA, PSE, Sabres and Try-It Distributing personnel were on hand for the event, removing invasive species and helping to install new plantings to improve the health and flow of the Buffalo River. Hundreds of other employees nationwide are participating in similar activities in their own communities.

“Creating positive contributions to our riverways helps Labatt USA do its part for our local environment. The number one ingredient in beer is water. By cleaning up the banks and removing invasive species along the river, we can help improve our water footprint as a beer company,” said Glen Tibbits, general manager, Labatt USA. “Labatt USA and Pegula Sports and Entertainment are committed to supporting Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Erie County at Seneca Bluffs and making an impact on the city we call home.”

“The Buffalo River corridor is indicative of Buffalo's massive potential and this revitalization effort will have a very positive impact on our city’s future,” said Bruce Popko, COO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment. “Our partners at Labatt USA have been leaders in this initiative, and we are proud to have our employees join workers from Labatt, WNY PRISM and Erie County to further the Buffalo River cleanup and draw attention to its importance in our city’s development.”

Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Tom Hersey added, “Just as many hands make light work, many volunteers help to beautify our natural resources and we appreciate the work they do. Having dedicated partners in environmental protection expands opportunities for people eager to pitch in and gives everyone a better understanding of just how interconnected our land and water are.”

“The Buffalo River corridor has undergone an amazing transformation and is continuing its long recovery process,” said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. “Just as the restoration of this historic river system was driven by community action, the future stewardship of the river will require significant and sustained volunteer participation. We are thrilled to partner with Labatt USA as a corporate partner who is not only vested in this corridor as a private business, but as a concerned and dedicated member of our community.”

Personnel from the county Department of Environment and Planning and Parks also took part in the event, installing trees, shrubs and other plants from the county’s pilot greenhouse project at the Erie County Correctional Facility. Wheelbarrows and garden tools for the large volunteer group were loaned by the Tifft Nature Preserve.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/