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$2.8 Million Scajaquada Creek Project Underway

Today was a big day for Scajaquada Creek. Mayor Brown held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a $2.8 million project to restore Scajaquada Creek between Main Street and Elmwood Avenue. The project will help to tackle the issues of odor, trash, flooding and other problems related to the creek, which has been in a state of turmoil for decades. 

“This project is the fruit of a multi-year partnership involving my administration and several government and community entities, all of whom have looked forward to the day when we could say with certainty that this portion of Scajaquada Creek would be properly restored. This important environmental project will enhance the visitor experience in Forest Lawn Cemetery, along the shores of Hoyt Lake, and Mirror Lake’s Japanese Garden, behind the Buffalo History Museum. The garbage, debris and related odors will be gone,” Mayor Brown said.

Instigators and partners in this effort to clean, dredge, plant, etc., include the City’s Sewer Authority and its Public Works, Streets and Parks Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation, Forest Lawn Cemetery, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Environmental Facilities Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.  

The 2017 Scajaquada Creek Restoration Project involves:

  • Improved trash collection upstream of Forest Lawn Cemetery to reduce debris and trash in the Creek;
  • Selective dredging throughout to address historic sediment accumulation, reduce water temperatures and improve creek flow ;
  • Earthwork and plantings within the cemetery at the Chapel Meadow to reconnect the floodplain to the creek;
  • Restoration of the Creek’s banks to address invasive species, stabilize soils and provide overhanging vegetation and shade;
  • Wetland enhancement of the former Swan Lake area of Forest Lawn Cemetery immediately east of Delaware Avenue, adjacent the creek and within the floodplain, to provide sediment storage, reduce flooding, and improve water quality by acting as a biological filter;
  • Educational signage and improved trail connections to the water;
  • Aesthetic improvements where the Creek enters the bypass around Hoyt Lake.

The Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) has committed $2,866,525 to this endeavor and will take the lead on daily construction and administration. The crux of the money came from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovations Grant program – $1,815,000 grant, of which 80 percent was sourced from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation also stepped up by contributing $896,155 in project match funding.

“As part of our watershed approach to restoring the health of Scajaquada Creek we are dedicated to eliminating the negative effects of stormwater. We understand that each segment of the Creek has a different set of problems, and this $2.8 million project will clean and restore the Creek as it runs through Forest Lawn, Delaware Park,  and adjacent to the Buffalo History Museum. While Scajaquada Creek’s pollution concerns will not be changed overnight, this restoration effort is complemented by the Authority’s documented promise to deliver over $80 million in clean water projects to restore the Scajaquada Creek watershed.” Oluwole A. (OJ) McFoy, P.E., Buffalo Sewer Authority.

Mark Cerrone, Inc. was awarded the contract. The company, located in Niagara Falls, has a track record working with similar projects. The construction project officially commenced in December of 2016, and is expected to be completed in 2017. 

“Scajaquada Creek is an important waterway and DEC is committed to addressing threats and improving water quality to this critical Great Lakes tributary,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Governor Cuomo recently proposed the $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act to protect and revive our state’s irreplaceable waters, and New York has already committed nearly $24 million to water quality improvements in the Scajaquada Creek and Hoyt Lake watershed. The $1.8 million from New York’s Green Innovation Grant Program will further help restore Scajaquada Creek and capitalize on the economic potential of restoring this waterway.”

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “A generation ago, the Buffalo River was so contaminated that you could literally light it on fire. It took determination and tireless effort to clean up the Buffalo River and turn it into a catalyst for economic development. The water quality and health of Scajaquada Creek is our next big challenge. This is an issue where collaboration between the city, the state, and the federal government is essential. A healthy and thriving Scajaquada Creek will be a significant victory for Buffalo’s future, and I am excited for this important work to begin.”

“We are fortunate to have Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the Buffalo Sewer Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Facilities Corporation teaming with us at the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation to take this first critical step in what will ultimately be a comprehensive clean-up and restoration of Scajaquada Creek,” said Joseph P. Dispenza, President of Forest Lawn and the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation. “It is appropriate that the effort to breathe life into this essential waterway is beginning in one of the nation’s premier cemeteries, where life surrounds memories in a protected, peaceful, sacred place.”

“The team at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has spent the last five years researching, planning and designing projects that will create a clean and healthy future for Scajaquada Creek”, said Jill Jedlicka, executive director. “We are energized by the significant commitments and leadership exhibited by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, City of Buffalo, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the Army Corps of Engineers, to advance this shared vision. This unusual partnership builds upon the successful Buffalo River restoration model, and Riverkeeper remains committed to accelerating restoration efforts of Scajaquada Creek into other parts of the community. We thank Mayor Brown and the Buffalo Sewer Authority for their continued dedication to our local waterways.”

“Water views and interaction are such a critical components of the Frederick Law Olmsted designed park experience. Today’s announcement is a major step forward,” stated Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “We applaud this effort to address the various issues which plague the Scajaquada Creek and want to thank our partners at the Buffalo Sewer Authority, City of Buffalo, DEC USACE, Forest Lawn Cemetery, and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. We look forward to working together on continued efforts to restore the Scajaquada Creek Corridor.”

“This major restoration of Scajaquada Creek is not only good for the tens of thousands who visit Forest Lawn Cemetery, Hoyt Lake and Mirror Lake, and also for Delaware District residents, who frequent the creek area for recreation and reflection,” said Delaware District Common Councilmember Joel P. Feroleto.

Photo: Mayor Brown’s office

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Doug Wallis

    Scajaquada Creek from the Cemetery to the Niagara River should be part of Delaware Park. This restoration project should be part of the removal of the expressway because this should be part of the Cemetary and Buffalo State Campus and the Albright Campus instead its separated by an expressway. It would be like people in NYC choosing the westside expressway over Central Park. Our failure to think in these terms is why NYC looks down on us as bumbkins, stupid, easily to manipulate, easy to be bought off with trinkets and pacifying statements. Show Albany we know what we have in Delaware Park and the Richardson / Buffalo State Campus and we value it over an expressway.

    • dahood

      Hey were are you going to put all the traffic ? From the expressway Your driveway ?

      • Bringing back Buffalo

        People tend to forget there’s always been a road through Delaware Park.

        • 300miles

          No there wasn’t. Unless you think a bridle path and an expressway are the same thing?

          • Bringing back Buffalo

            You notice I said road, right? Also, calling something a bridal path is disingenuous to what it actually was and what it accomplished. I’ve seen old pictures of cars driving down this “bridal path” you speak of.

          • NorthBuf

            Actually it started as a dirt trail “cow path” from Russell St to the lake to water the area cows, then it was upgraded to a city road and finally destroyed by the expressway we see today.

          • 300miles

            I wrote Bridle actually. Regardless, that sounds good to me. We revert back to a 2-Lane road and call it a day.

  • OldFirstWard

    “It took determination and tireless effort to clean up the Buffalo River and turn it into a catalyst for economic development.”

    While it may be cleaner, it is not clean. Drive by the foot of Hamburg St. on any warm day and see people fishing and pulling out bottom feeding carp for the dinner table.

    • Texpat

      Yes, carp, bottom feeding fish are native to the ecosystem. And just because the water is muddy doesn’t mean it’s polluted

      • OldFirstWard

        And the Love Canal was a safe place to live because the grass was green.

        • armyof100clowns

          OFW and Ray Bolger – never seen in the same room . . . hmm.

      • Meem

        The fish consumption advisory for carp in the Buffalo River and Harbor continues to be “DON’T EAT”.
        It will take years after cleanup before PCB levels in these and other fish are at acceptable levels for unrestricted eating.

    • BuffaloGals

      I suppose there hasn’t been any economic development either, right? They knocked down the thriving Erie Freight House (at least the part that wasn’t already in the river) for stoopid apartment buildings that are actually going to contribute to the city’s economy.

    • Michael Jarosz

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/348e3e871343ee65b43e0fa6ef91551b5496bedc9fdbf31f95aa46246cb4197d.jpg They’re probably making Carpe à la Juive, from their well-worn copy of the Larousse Gastronomique.

  • OldFirstWard

    Looking at that lead photo has an Erie Canal feel to it. The stone walls, pathways, hills, trees and water.

  • Rand503

    Is that abandoned shopping cart still on the banks of the creek near Grant St?

    • breckenridge

      I remember that cart. I think it was removed in a cleanup. Probably a new one there by now.

  • BufChester

    It’s great that this project is starting. I hope that the funds have already been received from the EPA.

  • NorthBuf

    The creek itself should be dredged and widened from Delaware lake to the Niagara river for kayaks as well.

  • bburbs

    Why was Scajaquada Creek buried between Pine Ridge Road and Forest Lawn? Would it be prudent to try and dig up some of it and restore portions of it? With all the talk of burying expresways, etc ( nothing wrong with that) why not do the opposite with the creek? Just wondering.