The battle for the Outer Harbor, between conservationists and developer interests, has shifted. Not that either side has backed down – it’s just that one side (the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation – ECHDC) has moved forward with its initiative to forever transform the land via its multi-phase General Project Plan (GPP). As can be seen in the accompanying photos, the ECHDC has made its first move, which the Outer Harbor Coalition is now countering with a Change.org petition.
“We are trying to get 10,000 signatures on a petition to designate the Outer Harbor a State Park by early January to protect what’s left of its great worth as a coastal ecosystem,” said Margaret Wooster, of the Outer Harbor Coalition. “The first step is to transfer ownership from the ECHDC, a development corporation, to an agency whose mandate is consistent with protecting, restoring and maintaining Buffalo’s greatest natural asset–our Lake Erie coast and water supply. As of now 9,300 people have signed. We need just 700 more to reach the magic 10,000 which may help sway our Governor and State legislators to listen. We are asking people also to share with their friends and networks.”
On Winter Solstice-Christmas week 2021 the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation bulldozed over 100 trees plus all other plants and 1-2 feet of soil from 5+ acres of Outer Harbor land to prepare for this year’s major project–a music amphitheater with a capacity for 8,000 people. The attached photos show the area in front of Terminal B at last Summer Solstice and then again on Christmas eve. This was naturally regenerating habitat for many creatures, including snowy owls who roost there in winter, several species of swallow who nest there in summer, fox, deer, pollinators, etc. It also served as a buffer against Lake Erie storm surges, seiches and high winds.
Please support a petition to designate Buffalo’s Outer Harbor a state park in 2022. A development corporation mindset is not consistent with the Outer Harbor benefits of providing all people with access to the natural beauty, water quality and climate resilience; and local, regional and global wildlife biodiversity with healthy, connected habitat.
For more information about these benefits and to sign the petition, please follow the link here: www.change.org/p/designate-buffalo-s-outer-harbor-on-lake-erie-coast-as-parkland