Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that he has secured $275,000 for the South Park Lake Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project in the House Energy & Water Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2006. The funding was included under the Army Corps of Engineers Construction General - Section 206 Account for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)/Buffalo and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy in the measure, which was passed by the House of Representatives last night.
The preliminary planning for this study recommended dredging and habitat restoration of the 24 plus acre South Park Lake and shoreline, all of which fall under the Corps’ environmental restoration mandate. Through this project, the Corps will evaluate and identify possible beneficial uses of the estimated 100,000 cubic yards of organic material that may be dredged from the Lake.
“As one of only three lakes in the city of Buffalo, the earmark of these federal funds toward the ultimate restoration of South Park Lake is a tremendous quality of life victory for Buffalo as well as for the neighboring City of Lackawanna. This will provide another boost to the growing cultural and natural tourism opportunities that also include Our Lady of Victory Basilica and the Botanical Gardens.”
This Restoration Project will assist in realizing this waterway’s full functional capacity as an urban resource for scientific, educational, cultural, habitat and recreational activities. It addresses the issues of environmental justice and returns recreational opportunities for urban residents, especially youths, to once again be able to explore and discover an appreciation for ecology and natural systems.
This funding will provide for South Park Lake’s return to a self-regulating ecological system with enhanced water quality for fish and waterfowl, eliminate invasive plant species, and restore the physical and biological characteristics of the lake shoreline including vegetation for beneficial public use.
“This adds another reason for people to visit the renowned Buffalo Olmsted Parks to take in the beauty, structure and sites of the extraordinary interconnected park system which is a true regional asset,” said Congressman Higgins. “Without this restoration, a key component of the uniqueness and heritage of the Olmsted Park system would be lost. South Park Lake now has a future as a destination for exceptional wildlife habitat and education.”
The South Park Lake Project site lies within South Park at the southernmost area of Buffalo. The site is a 155-acre, multi-use public park that is part of the city of Buffalo Olmsted Parks system.
The Senate will now consider its version of Energy and Water Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2006. The bill will then be taken up by a House-Senate conference, after which it will be voted on in both chambers before it proceeds to the President for signature.