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Environmental Dredging of Buffalo River to Begin in August

8/11/2011- The Buffalo River Restoration Partnership, a group consisting of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), the City of Buffalo and Honeywell, Inc., will hold a kickoff event to highlight the upcoming landmark $5.9 million environmental dredging of the Buffalo River. The ceremony will be held on August 16, 2011 at 1:00 p.m., Erie Canal Side, adjacent to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park Museum and the Commercial Slip.

Keynote speakers will include: Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, USEPA; Rep.Brian Higgins, 27th New York Congressional District; Hon. Byron H. Brown, Mayor, City of Buffalo; Lt. Col. Stephen H. Bales, commander of the Corps’ Buffalo District; and Jill Spisiak Jedlicka, Director of Ecological Programs, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

“Revitalization of the Buffalo River is not just significant environmentally, it will shape our
economic future,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. “This project is a component of over $50 million in work happening this year alone in and along Buffalo’s waterways. This federal investment will continue our efforts to make Buffalo an attractive place for businesses to grow and create jobs.”

Dredging is being done under provisions of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a multi‐year, multi‐agency initiative to restore the Great Lakes. GLRI funds are administered and distributed through the USEPA. Using a combination of GLRI and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funds, the Corps is supporting the Obama Administration’s initiative through the strategic navigational dredging of approximately 600,000 cubic yards of sediments from the authorized limits of the federal navigation channel (450,000 cubic yards using $4.6 million of GLRI funds, and
150,000 cubic yards using $1.3 million of federal O&M funds).

This dredging will benefit commercial navigation and will also contribute to the ecological
restoration of the Buffalo River and the Great Lakes. While dredging operations are expected to have a localized and short‐term negative impact on water and sediment quality in the immediate dredging area due to turbidity, these impacts will be eliminated once dredging is complete. Moreover, the Corps dredging will contribute to the reduction of toxic contamination in the river, fish and wildlife, and will help move the Buffalo River closer to "delisting" as a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Dredged sediment will be placed in Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) #4 adjacent to the former Bethlehem Steel site. CDF #4 was constructed by the Corps for the placement of sediment that is unsuitable for open-lake placement in Lake Erie.

“I am optimistic that working together to leverage available resources, we will leave a legacy that we can all be proud of--a clean and fully restored Buffalo River that enables economic growth, recreational use and environmental and habitat restoration,” said Buffalo District Commander Lt. Col. Stephen H. Bales.

Dredging is scheduled to begin in August 2011 and be completed in November 2011.

"This project will get results for the Great Lakes, helping to revitalize the economy and take this Area of Concern off the binational cleanup list," said Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to USEPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "But we can't stop here. We’re looking for other partners to identify matching funds so we can accelerate cleanups in other AOCs around the Great Lakes."