Cayuga Creek

Stream and Floodplain Restoration Project

This project restores habitat along Cayuga Creek, mitigates downstream flooding and improves community access within a 30-acre parcel located in the Town of Niagara. 
Restoration

THE PLACE

The Cayuga Creek Restoration project is located in the Town of Niagara just south of the Niagara Falls Airport and Air Reserve Station.

Over many decades, a combination of water pollution, surrounding land use, and creek channel alterations have left the creek’s water quality and habitat in an impaired state, and the surrounding community with persistent flooding issues.

We’ve worked for years to develop an approach to simultaneously restore this wetland habitat, reduce the flooding issues, and eventually connect residents and visitors with this natural waterfront site on Cayuga Creek through a unique trail system. In addition, a long-term stewardship plan for maintenance of the site will be developed. Additional fundraising is needed in order to establish a long-term stewardship fund for the site, and ensure that the site is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

PROTECTION

In 2018 after over 10 years of coordinated efforts, approximately 30-acres of land was donated by Joseph C. Weber, Inc. to the Town of Niagara.  More recently, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is working with the Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust to apply a conservation easement to this land, and acquire an additional 11 acres of undeveloped high-quality floodplain forest adjacent to the already protected land. 

Working with the Town of Niagara, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper spent several years securing funds, collecting and analyzing data, and developing project designs with flood mitigation and habitat restoration as the main focus. 

The Cayuga Creek Stream and Floodplain Restoration project was finally implemented in Spring of 2022 and is currently the only project in WNY of this kind, seeking to mitigate flooding through channel reconstruction.   

The Property

The Cayuga Creek Restoration project is located in the Town of Niagara just south of the Niagara Falls Airport and Air Reserve Station.

Over many decades, a combination of water pollution, surrounding land use, and creek channel alterations have left the creek’s water quality and habitat in an impaired state, and the surrounding community with persistent flooding issues.

We’ve worked for years to develop an approach to simultaneously restore this wetland habitat, reduce the flooding issues, and eventually connect residents and visitors with this natural waterfront site on Cayuga Creek through a unique trail system. In addition, a long-term stewardship plan for maintenance of the site will be developed. Additional fundraising is needed in order to establish a long-term stewardship fund for the site, and ensure that the site is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

GOALS

Flood mitigation – BNW along with its partners constructed an entirely new channel east of the previously channelized and bermed channel.  This new channel flows through the creek’s historic floodplain and newly created vernal pools which provide a large area for energy within the stream to dissipate and interact with the surrounding floodplain during high volume flooding events. 

Habitat Creation – Along with flood mitigation, the project created valuable aquatic, riparian, and upland habitat throughout the project area.  Root wads, toe wood, and riffle features were installed within the creek to create important in-water habitat. Native planting and seeding was completed throughout the site.  Monitoring of invasive species on site will continue into the future. The knowledge gained through monitoring will be used to complete management actions to ensure native plants are establishing.  

Community Engagement and Stewardship – BNW plans to engage with the community to complete stewardship activities on the restoration site.  This will help to ensure the long-term success of this project.   

Public Access – BNW is currently seeking funding to complete a full trail system that will provide formal access to this site for enjoyment as well as educational and stewardship events.  

Funding

Funding for this project is provided by  the Environmental Protection Fund Title 15 – Climate Smart Community Projects as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Love Canal, 102nd Street and Forest Glen Mobile Home Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration Trustees; New York Power Authority – Niagara Power Project Relicensing Settlement Agreement and the Fish and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Fund; the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; Sustain our Great Lakes Program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; the Host Community Greenway Fund Standing Committee; the US Environmental Protection Agency; and the Coors Seltzer Change the Course Partnership. 

Links to Cayuga Creek Articles 

Check out these articles and Cayuga Creek resources.
Restoration project planned for Cayuga Creek wetland area

Niagara Gazette

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper working to fix flooding, improve creek access in Town of Niagara

WKBW

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper acquires Weber Property in Town of Niagara

Niagara Frontier Publications