Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper (affiliated with Waterkeeper) covers and protects river and waterway issues all over the land. RFK Jr coined the term and found the legion, which continues to lead the cause worldwide.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, once known as The Friends of Buffalo River, held its 2007 Annual Meeting last Thursday at Harry’s Harbour Place Grille. A truly impressive gathering of citizenry was present. Executive Director Julie O’Neill (photo) stated that in addition to Riverkeeper’s active supporters, their knowledge of individuals actively engaged in some form of environmental protection in Western New York numbers over 100,000 individuals. The staggering number is a sure testament to our community fortitude to make things right here for our air, land and interactive waterways.
Lynda Schneekloth, President of Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper, spoke of the impending threats to our Great Lakes’ waters, while maintaining that we have the most precious body of the world’s 25% + fresh water reserves.
Keynote speaker Professor Martin Jaffe of the University of Illinois shed light on concerns for combating sewer overflows with proper Urban Storm Water Management – an issue recently brought to light by Buffalo News reporter Mike Beebe.
What if there weren’t a Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organization? Realizing how much the organization protects our waterways makes one cringe when wondering what would happen to our waters without them.
-Outer Harbor,AeiPreserving the Public Trust: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper proposes that Governor Spitzer helps create a large scale 100-acre public park on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor comprising the entire shoreline.
-Buffalo River Ecology and Remedial Action Plan raised over two million dollars to finalize studies of contamination and begin actual removal or treatment by 2009.
-Cayuga Creek Ecology: development of creek report card outlining next steps for clean up; maintenance of canoe trail.
-Riverwatch Program: engaged over 40 Riverwatch Captains monitoring 20 local waterways. Captains alert Riverkeeper on issues such as storm water run off, sewer overflow, debris and inappropriate land use. Campaigns for 2007 include stenciling storm drains, testing water quality, and monitoring wildlife habitats.
-WNY Waterways shoreline Clean-ups: Spring clean up scheduled for April 20-21.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is looking for more Riverwatch Captains. Contact them if interested and capable of once-a-month check-ups at your ‘surf and turf’ locale. Having joined them myself as a River Captain a year ago, I can tell you first hand that the group is key, the programs are wonderful, and the future of our waterways looks bright.
Photo credit Dr. Mark Donnelly