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Buffalo awarded $500,000 EPA grant to improve quality of Lake Erie

Buffalo has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund green infrastructure projects along a one-mile stretch of Niagara Street that is, ultimately, aimed at improving the quality of Lake Erie.

The city and the Buffalo Sewer Authority will use the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, along with another $500,000 in funding from Empire State Development, to install porous asphalt, storm water planters and rain gardens to help reduce the incidence of untreated storm water draining directly into the Black Rock Navigation Channel and the Niagara River, which flow into Lake Erie.

Through these projects, the city aims to capture storm water from about 15 acres along the Niagara Street right-of-way, which will control up to 4.9 million gallons of storm water runoff annually, and result in a significant reduction in the amount of road salt, oil and grease sediments that flow into the river.

“Through continued collaboration, this project will invest in Niagara Street, creating a more attractive gateway to our city and continuing our ongoing momentum to preserve and enhance our waterfront,” said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, said the project will not only protect the region’s freshwater resources, but showcase Buffalo as an innovative leader in Great Lakes protection and urban waterfront revitalization.