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Winter at Riverkeeper and Boat Building Begins at Buff State

The ice boom, goes in, the ice boom comes out, and in between, there’s a lot of planning to be done. 
 
Along with letting us know that Boom Days would be held this April 15th through 17th, Riverkeeper Executive Director Julie O’Neill is making plans for 2010. Know there’s a Polar Bear Swim coming up in February sponsored by Riverkeeper (date TBA), and they’ll have a presence at the Powder Keg Festival as well.
She writes, “This year, we will reap the fruits of seeds sown many years ago.  This year, we will begin construction – cleaning up decades of pollution on the bottom of the Buffalo River.  This year, we will see construction on two Buffalo River park sites.  This year we will create at least ten new habitat areas and install hundreds of rain barrels to help reduce water pollution.  This year, we will continue to revitalize parks along Buffalo’s Riverwalk.
 
“Moreover, living within the Great Lakes system, our entire community remains rich in one of the world’s most scarce and precious resources.  Not only does our fresh water allow us to grow food, move goods, generate power and recreate; but it feeds our spirit – helping to calm anxiety and restore hope in troubled times.”
This past year, Riverkeeper was covered by Reuters, in an article that recognizes the tremendous achievements Riverkeeper has made, along with their endeavor to do good in a way that impacts Buffalo, our environs, and all of the Great Lakes.  
 
Buffalonians who want a close-up look at our waterways may want to get in on the winter boat building sessions offered at Buffalo State College’s Maritime Center, starting January 13th. Reservation information here.  Former RK board president, Richard Butz, was also co-founder of the Maritime Center, where he teaches boat building classes. In addition, Butz led the effort by the Maritime Center and the Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boat Society to restore a 1950’s classic runabout that will be Riverkeeper’s patrol boat come spring. 

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Butz brought a Black Rock Skimmer (top image), a special boat he designed for ease of construction for the classes, as a raffle item for Riverkeepers 20th birthday bash this past November.  The winner, UB Professor Robert Shibley, gave it right back to Butz, saying he was still trying to figure out what to do with his family’s newly acquired kayaks.  Happily, those who are boatless can join Butz’s class this winter and have their own boat ready for the waters this spring.
Above: Julie O’Neill announces the winner.
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