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Oct 4, 2016
Press Release
Congressman Brian Higgins and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster announce new project, which will improve water quality and natural habitat in Niagara County


Gill Creek, Niagara Falls – Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Congressman Brian Higgins and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster announced today that new life is coming to Gill Creek: 120 new trees and understory vegetation will be planted along the shorelines of Gill Creek, as the beginning of a larger creek-wide restoration effort. The trees and shrubs will absorb stormwater run-off before it flows into the creek, providing a critical riparian buffer along the banks and protecting water quality both locally and downstream.


“Restoring shoreline ecosystems is a critical component in our efforts to protect water quality,” said Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. “We look forward to implementing this restoration project in partnership with the City of Niagara Falls and the US Forest Service, and we thank them for their support and collaboration on this effort to improve Gill Creek.”


Community volunteers are needed at a volunteer event organized by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper on Tuesday October 18, 4:00-6:30PM.   Volunteers will help plant new trees along the shoreline, and all supplies will be provided  by  Riverkeeper.  Advance  registration  is  required,  and  is  available  at, or by contacting Wendy Paterson at 716-852-7483 extension 26.


“Preserving waterways that feed into the Great Lakes is vital to their long-term sustainability,” said Congressman Higgins.  “The project to restore Gill Creek is yet another proactive step to protect and preserve the largest supply of fresh water in the world.”


Mayor Paul Dyster stated, “As Vice-Chair and Lower Lakes Regional Director of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, I believe I speak for many of my fellow members when I stress what a critical role living shorelines play in protecting and improving the water quality of the surrounding community and our Great Lakes. Thanks to the award-winning work of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and our partners in Congressman Higgins and the US Forest Service, Gill Creek now has the opportunity to play its part in creating a greener, cleaner waterway not only for the residents of the City of Niagara Falls, but our entire Great Lakes Region.”


Funding for this project was provided by the United States Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Trees and shrubs were donated in-kind by the City of Niagara Falls and its Niagara Beautification Commission from the Municipal Tree Nursery. Technical expertise was provided by students and faculty at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Through this unique partnership, SUNY ESF students and faculty gained on-the-ground practical experience working on a current habitat restoration project.


“The US Forest Service is proud to support the Gill Creek Riparian Restoration Project,” said Karl Honkonen, a forest watershed specialist. “A strong partnership has formed between Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and SUNY ESF to restore critical riparian zones and reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff into the Niagara River. These newly planted trees and shrubs will create a “living filter” for the river by removing pollutants and sediment from rainfall, regulating stream and air temperatures and provide critical resource habitat.”


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — the Great Lakes. As one of the initiative’s 16 task force members, the US Forest Service uses GLRI resources to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and accelerate progress toward long-term restoration goals.  Within the 20-state Northeast Area, $3.7 million in funds were allocated in fiscal year 2016 for tree planting in the Great Lakes basin.


Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our most valuable natural asset. Over the past 26 years, they have tackled some of the region’s biggest fresh water challenges such as cleaning up toxic sediment, eliminating sewage overflows, restoring critical habitat, and advocating for the long-term health of the Great Lakes. Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s actions protect drinking water, connect people to waterways and contribute to a thriving water-based economy.


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