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Waterkeeper Completes 3-Year Restoration Project on Spicer Creek at River Oaks

Mother Nature has a way of making things perfect. It’s was she does best.

Mankind has a way of screwing up Mother Nature’s creations, royally.

Thankfully, we have learned a lot from Mother Nature’s blueprints, to understand what needs to be done to take the many “wrongs” and make them right.

Recently, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper conducted a tree planting on Grand Island that helped to restore the shorelines that have been eroding for years. This erosion process occurs when there are no hard materials to prevent the waters from washing the land away. This type of restoration process is also aesthetically pleasing and provides shelter to wildlife.

The three-year shoreline restoration project on Spicer Creek at River Oaks (at River Oaks Golf Club), culminated with a tree planting event. Additionally, the initiative saw the installation of salvaged boulders, live stakes, and native plants, all of which help to curb the erosion, as well as alleviating non-point source pollution runoff. Runoff was also curbed by the addition of step-pools that slow, filter, and capture the runoff, according to Waterkeeper.

“Too many of our creeks and streams have degraded shorelines, which is why Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s Living Shoreline’s Initiative has targeted restoration work throughout our community to improve water quality, and create healthier habitats,” explained Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka. “Our project on Spicer Creek at River Oaks is a great example of innovative collaboration between a non-profit organization and a private golf club who share the goal of making our environment healthier and more sustainable for all. The fact that we were able to involve community volunteers to complete the restoration of this shoreline makes the whole endeavor even more rewarding.”

Altogether, the project entailed the restoration of two acres and 5,280 linear feet of shoreline, to a tune of planting 8,000 native plants and trees. The funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Waterkeeper touted the public-private aspect of this project, as an example that can be set in other instances. Golf courses are about as unnatural as it gets, so when there is an opportunity to infuse natural elements into the designs, it’s a big bonus for the community, the region, and even the golfers who get to feel that they are actually interacting with a more natural scape.

“We hope that the restoration practices implemented through this project can be transferred to other golf courses throughout the watershed,” said Director of Ecological Programs Emily Root. “The improvements not only improve water quality and habitat, they also create visual interest within the course and the course has received overwhelming positive feedback since restoration was complete. We are thankful for our partnership with River Oaks on this project and for their contributions throughout project implementation.”

Hopefully we will see more of these types of joint-restoration initiatives put into place, especially when there are natural water features close by. It is especially nice to see a working relationship established by two groups that might typically be considered working on different sides of the fence when it comes to environmental concerns.

“Here at River Oaks Golf Club, we have had the great pleasure to welcome such an amazing project on our property. We take pride in revitalizing the waterways passing through the golf course and would recommend others to do the same,” said River Oaks Golf Course Superintendent Ricky Johnson, Jr. “This has been such an easy transition for me to maintain the course and help complete this project. We would like to give a special thanks to the Buffalo Waterkeeper for making this all happen here at River Oaks Golf Club.”

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, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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