Modified: May 2, 2018 12:24pm

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The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning is partnering with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to present “Buffalo River, Past to Present: A Journey of Aesthetics”, an interactive public forum to be held tomorrow, Thursday May 3 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the downtown Central Library. The meeting will be held on the second floor in the Gallery Conference room. In 1987, the Buffalo River was listed as a hotspot of contamination in the Great Lakes through the Area of Concern (“AOC”) program. Remedial actions to improve water quality in the Buffalo River have now been met and the Buffalo River Remedial Advisory Committee (“RAC”) will recommend the removal of the river’s "Degradation of Aesthetics" Beneficial Use Impairment (“BUI”), a significant step towards delisting the Buffalo River as an AOC.  


“Removal of this BUI is cause for regional pride and celebration. It means that we are making progress towards fully restoring the Buffalo River,” said Commissioner of Environment and Planning Tom Hersey. “We will continue to work with partners like Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to protect and restore our waterways all around Erie County.”


“Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has committed to engaging the public on Buffalo River restoration for nearly three decades, and because of the unique partnerships that led to river restoration, we have reached this milestone where we can begin discussions on the removal of our first beneficial use impairments",  said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director. “The recovery of the Buffalo River is an international success story, and together with our community we are establishing a new legacy for this irreplaceable resource."


There are 43 AOCs in the Great Lakes, defined as "geographic areas designated by the Parties [IJC] where significant impairment of beneficial uses has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level." Up to fourteen BUIs, or indicators of degraded water and habitat quality, are used to evaluate the condition of an AOC. In March 2018, the RAC unanimously agreed to recommend the removal of (BUI) 11: “Degradation of Aesthetics” from the Buffalo River AOC from “Impaired” to “Not Impaired”. This BUI is given to waterways with excessive debris, oil sheens, or other causes which degrade the waterway. The removal process requires a formal report to confirm all actions necessary to remove this BUI have been met.



Thursday’s public forum will present the formal report for public comment, which will be accepted through May 31, 2018 and is available online at . Copies of the document are also available at all Buffalo & Erie County Library branches.



Written public comments on the document will be accepted from May 1-31, 2018 and can be submitted through email at  or through mail to 721 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14203; ATTN: Buffalo River RAC.



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