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Today we can enjoy time along the Buffalo Blueway because of the progress made toward cleaning up decades of pollution along the Buffalo River. Organizations like Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and the Department of Environmental Conservation, and stewards of the river from our local communities, have overseen this restoration and are working to continue to take the Buffalo River from gritty to pretty!
To provide some context, in 1967 the Buffalo River was declared dead and in 1987, the Buffalo River was designated an “Area of Concern” or one of the 43 most toxic hotspots in the Great Lakes. In 2003, the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office selected Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (then called Friends of the Buffalo Niagara Rivers) to oversee the Remedial Action Plan. The Plan includes various strategies to clean up and restore the river, some of which are water quality monitoring, contaminated bottom sediment assessment and action determination, combined sewer overflow assessment, and fish and wildlife beneficial use restoration. Today, the Buffalo River is getting closer and closer to being delisted from being an Area of Concern!
That is why the Buffalo River Sweep is so important! Did you know that since Covid hit, plastic pollution has increased by 250%?! Cleaning up areas near the river helps prevent trash from entering the Buffalo River and makes the Buffalo Blueway a place that everyone (including wildlife) can continue to enjoy!
If you’re interested in helping to clean up the Buffalo River, you have a couple of options. Choose to sign up for a Small Group Cleanup where you’ll be cleaning up a designated site along the Buffalo River on Saturday, June 26th or Saturday, July 3rd. If you aren’t free on those days, you can sign up for a Solo Sweep. A Solo Sweep allows you to choose whatever time and location works best for you and report your data online afterwards!
To sign up for the Buffalo River Sweep, click here!
If you can’t make it out for a sweep this year but still want to have a positive impact on the river, reducing your usage of single use plastics is a great place to start! Click here to learn more!