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Frog Island Habitat Restoration


While enjoying a recent afternoon of boating, one BRO reader sent along a photo of what looked to be a man made island being constructed near Strawberry Island in the middle of the Niagara River. I confessed that I was not aware of the project that he happened upon, and figured that if anyone knew anything regarding the development that it would be Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

After reaching out to Riverkeeper’s Nicole Lipp, she in turn replied with the answer. It was Tim DePriest, Niagara River Habitat Specialist (New York Department of Environmental Conservation) who provided the following:

This is a Niagara River Habitat Improvement Project (HIP) funded by Greenway funds. It’s known as the Frog Island Habitat Restoration.

Frog Island Restoration: Creation of approximately five acres of diverse habitat conditions at the site of a former island in the Niagara River. The habitat will be created in a high-energy environment consisting of coarse (boulders, cobbles and gravel) and fine (muck, silt, clay and sand) substrate at variable depths that will support fish and wildlife. Planning and design began in 2007.

The following is from a Remedial Action Plan – Stage 2 Addendum – Niagara River Area of Concern January 2012. PDF from the DEC:

During the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project, the New York Power Authority agreed to complete eight habitat improvement projects, most of which are currently under way:

Strawberry Island Restoration

Frog Island Restoration

Motor Island Shoreline Protection

Beaver Island Wetland Restoration

Invasive Species Control – Buckhorn/Tifft Marshes

Osprey Nesting on the Niagara River

Common Tern Nesting (complete)

Installation of Fish Habitat/Attraction Structures (complete)


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Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

7753 posts

Strawberry Islands dredging was conducted in the center of the island forming the lagoon area. There is no severe erosion, just erosion. The island was there in the first place by the balance between erosion and replenishment. The natural ice flow supplied the island with an equal amount of sand that balanced the loses. The island has lost about 8 to 10 feet of height as well as circumferance or area. Strawberry Island was the Canary in the coal mine for me and lead to "Ice Boom theory".  JBB

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

@jbbiceboom- My grandfather was born in Black Rock in 1889 and remembered when Strawberry Island extended south to almost the foot of Hertel Ave. The dredging began at the head of the island around 1900. A sand and gravel company operated at the foot of Hertel from that time until around the late 1960's. There were large sand piles there until the 1970's,  the Watergate Apartments now occupy the site. Strawberry Island also was impacted by the destruction of the Cornelious Creek flood plain. Cornelious Creek presently has as outlet at the foot of Ontario St but was once a wide creek valley extending east to the area of the North Park Theater. Hertel Ave (originally the Cornelious Creek Road) still follows the historic creek route resulting in the bends between Niagara St and Delaware Ave.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

A 1916 map shows Strawberry Island, two small islands labeled "two sisters",and Frog Island which was later called Motor Island. The two sisters are between Strawberry and Frog in the area of this project.

Strawberry Island was once over 100 acres and was the site of a hotel. The island was dredged for sand and gravel resulting in the severe erosion that reduced the island to its present size.

Stan Da Man
Stan Da Man

You would think getting that giant boat out of the mud would be good for the environment.


@Stan Da Man I am equally confused...   

there's a water intake in the middle of the river at the Peace Bridge, I highly doubt that has an detrimental effect on the niagara river ecology.  
There is also a rogue barge grounded at the falls, which also is not likely harming the ecology.  

Did frog island deteriorate naturally under the stresses of the niagara river? or was it by human intervention? if it deteriorated naturally, why restore it?


@hockeyhips83 @Stan Da Man there were many islands here historically, and Strawberry Island was much larger, all removed by us, even strawberry was completely treeless as early as the 50's