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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2014 Archives > March 2014 > Grant To Improve Water Quality In Lake Erie

Grant To Improve Water Quality In Lake Erie

MAYOR BROWN ANNOUNCES $500,000 GREAT LAKES GRANT FOR GREENER INFRASTRUCTURE TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN LAKE ERIE

March 24, 2014 - On behalf of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and the Department of Public Works, Mayor Byron W. Brown today thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approving a $500,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the City of Buffalo to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in Lake Erie.

"Water quality improvement is crucial - for our environment, ecosystem, and our residents’ quality of life and this particular project is part of a much larger effort to revitalize Buffalo’s Niagara Street neighborhood,” said Mayor Brown.  “Today’s announcement is another example of how collaboration is creating green development opportunities along Buffalo’s waterfront, while strengthening a highly visible corridor that adds to the great progress underway in our city.”

The City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sewer Authority will use the $500,000 EPA grant, along with $500,000 in funding from Empire State Development, to construct green infrastructure projects along a targeted 1-mile section of Niagara Street.


The project will:

  • Build upon private investment in Niagara Street businesses like Rich Products, D’Youville and Urban Family Practice;
  • Increase Niagara Street property values and invite new investment;
  • Create an attractive Gateway to the City, welcoming visitors such as those visiting the Broderick Park Underground Railroad site;
  • Reconnect City neighborhoods to the waterfront;
  • Link  the City’s west side waterfront parks from LaSalle to Black Rock Canal Park, helping to achieve the Niagara River Greenway vision; and
  • Implement the City’s complete street ordinance, making the corridor safer for pedestrians and bicycless.

Niagara Street drains directly to the Niagara River Black Rock navigation channel – a component of the Niagara River Great Lakes Area of Concern.  The channel is actively utilized by the community for subsistence fishing and recreational and commercial
boating.  The adjacent neighborhood is a New York State Environmental Justice area, home to many immigrants who rely upon the River’s fish as an important protein source. 

The Niagara Street project includes the installation of porous asphalt, stormwater planters, rain gardens, and the reduction of impervious pavements. The entire Niagara Street project has the potential to control over 16 million gallons of storm water runoff per year from approximately 50 acres of land. 

The Buffalo Sewer Authority has committed approximately $2.6 million in funding to implement green infrastructure on Niagara Street as part of its Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plan.   The Niagara Street project is one of seven green street projects included in the first phase of the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plan green infrastructure strategy.  The other streets include Carlton Avenue, Fillmore Avenue, Allen Street, Ohio Street, Genesee Street Gateway, Kenmore Avenue and Kensington Avenue.

At the same time, the City of Buffalo DPW is working on awarding contracts for the first segment of the Niagara Street project and expects to see construction this summer.  The second phase of the project, including the Hispanic Heritage District, is in final design and construction is planned for this fall. 
 
Buffalo is one of 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA’s new GLRI Shoreline Cities grant program, which is designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin. These grants can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of green infrastructure projects on public property.

To find more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative or Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grants, visit www.glri.us.