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Great Lakes Toxic Hotspots: Organizing the Cleanup

Decades of industrialization along the banks of the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, as well as Lake Erie, have left our community with a poisonous legacy. The multimillion dollar price tags, debate over remediation methods, and the seemingly never ending battles lead many to believe that the condition is too large to change.

This is not the case. Across the Great Lakes region, communities have been struggling their own toxic legacies, overcoming pollution and pessimism, alike.

At the center of many of these efforts are citizens. Dissatisfied with inaction, they have championed clean up efforts, and sparked real change. On Friday June 12th, at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts, Great Lakes United is exploring these efforts in a day-long workshop entitled Great Lakes Toxic Hotspots: Organizing the Cleanup.

This event emphasizes the ongoing role of community and citizens in the clean up of the most threatening toxic hot spots in the Great Lakes region. These places, designated by the International Joint Commission as Areas of Concern (AOCs), have developed Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) to address problems like contaminated sediment and damaged shoreline habitats. While plans are in place in nearly every Area of Concern, many are struggling to get those plans acted upon.

In our city, both the Buffalo River and Niagara River are Areas of Concern. And each of them has a Remedial Action Plan to address their clean up needs. The steadfast work of grassroots groups like Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has led to funding and progress in clean up projects along the Buffalo River. Progress on revitalizing the Buffalo River and Lake Erie waterfront would not be possible without the work of dedicated citizens collaborating with agencies, political representatives, and the private sector.

Great Lakes United invites you to join us on June 12th to learn more and explore how increasing citizen action can help us repair and reclaim the waterways that are the life blood of our communities. For more information, or to register visit here.

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