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Climate and Coastal Resiliency

The effects of climate change on water resources in Western New York impact what we all care about.


Our region is already experiencing the effects of climate change—trending warmer weather, less ice cover, more erratic weather events, and more frequent and bigger storm events.

These conditions lead to increased stormwater runoff, which result in erosion, flooding, and more sewage overflow into our lakes and rivers. Toxic algae blooms are on the rise, due in part to excessive run-off of nutrient-rich stormwater, and ecosystems and habitats may be permanently altered. New York State is responding to the Climate Crisis with a series of legislative actions and like the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and the Environmental Bond Act to name a few.


Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is working with local government and community partners to build resiliency to the impacts of climate change, like flooding and erosion, within the WNY and Great Lakes regions. As guardians of New York’s freshwater coast, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper works to identify opportunities to enhance community resilience through policy, partnerships, and nature-based solutions. 


One effort is the ongoing Buffalo Coastal Resiliency Study. It is an assessment of flood risks along the Lake Erie coastline. The project area includes the City of Buffalo waterfront and the lower reaches of the Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek.
View the Ongoing City of Buffalo Coastal Resiliency StudyRead a Business First Article About Buffalo's Need to Manage Coastal Resiliency
Our Living Shoreline program aims to restore both hardened and degraded shoreline areas to their natural, resilient, and self-repairing form which will better support a sustainable, protective, and higher-functioning ecosystem.
And we continue working to protect the undeveloped headwater forests and wetlands that serve as a filter for drinking water flowing into Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario. By preserving this critical acreage, the health of the entire region will be protected for future generations. Our Headwaters page details more of our efforts in preserving this important resources.


Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA): NYS legislation signed into law in 2019 that codifies carbon emission reduction standards.

Climate Resiliency: The ability of a community to prepare for, and react to, the impacts of hazardous events, or weather patterns related to climate change.

Coastal Resiliency Tours
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is working with the City of Buffalo to study our shorelines. To promote this, we hosted several tours along our shores, from walking to a boat, and talked to people about coastal resiliency, living shorelines, climate change, regional climate action, water quality, and increasing safe and equitable public water access.
We visited Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park, Wilkeson Pointe, Broderick Park and Scajaquada Creek. The tours ended with a boat tour along the Miss Buffalo II at the end of August.
With perfect weather we set off to explore the Niagara River with over 120 community members. BNW staff gave an overview of our work implementing the City of Buffalo’s Coastal Resiliency Study and developing a plan to protect vulnerable shorelines as we address climate change.
The boat tour went along to view the ongoing changes at Ralph Wilson Park, passed by the water intake stations and explored the natural features of the Outer Harbor. People were able to talk about their memories of the lake and earn some prizes in our Coastal Resiliency Bingo game.
View photos from the day along with a video of guests sharing their favorite water spots in Western New York and what “resiliency” means to them.

How Can You Help?
Other Advocacy Focus Areas

Reduce Contamination of Great Lakes Waterways

NY Is a Great Lakes State

Leverage Funding for Community Impact