8/08/2011- Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced the award of $167,000 in federal funding for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. The grant, provided through the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, will support Phase II of the Buffalo Riverbend project.
“These federal funds will continue our efforts to preserve and enhance the water’s edge,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. “Beyond the clear environmental benefits this work will continue the transformation of Buffalo’s old and industrial image to one that is new, exciting and welcoming to the public and innovative economic development.”
Jill Jedlicka, Director of Ecological Programs for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper added, "Riverkeeper is thrilled to be able to continue our work in the transformation of a former industrial brownfield that will provide improved riverfront access for the South Buffalo community. We have been very pleased to bring federal investment and restoration jobs into Buffalo in recent years and we are fully committed to the continued ecological and economic revitalization of the Buffalo River."
Last fall Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received $657,245 through a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant toward the Riverbend project. Riverkeeper will use the additional funding for the creation of design and engineering specifications of shoreline restoration of 1,520 linear feet of Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC) Shoreline. An additional 3.5 acres of habitat will also be targeted for restoration design.
The Riverbend project sits adjacent to Riverbend Commerce Park, a “green” business hub. The South Buffalo site was formerly the home of Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke facilities. The area’s heavy industrial past contributed to contamination of the land and water. The Riverbend project is a component of the South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Act (BOA), which is transforming almost 2,000 acres along the shores of Lake Erie and the Buffalo River.