The Healthy Niagara initiative represents Waterkeeper’s work in watershed planning, and regional water quality measurement and reporting.
Through this initiative, Waterkeeper has worked with local municipalities and agencies to develop a watershed management plan, consisting of a series of tools for implementers, stakeholders and the public to use to understand current conditions throughout the Niagara River Watershed, and utilize best management practices developed in conjunction with technical experts to address impairments of conserve lands within the region.
The Niagara River Watershed
The Niagara River watershed (in New York State) is approximately 903,000 acres and consists of eleven sub-watersheds in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties.
These sub-watersheds are: Buffalo Creek, Buffalo River, Cayuga Creek, Eighteenmile Creek, Ellicott Creek, Lower Tonawanda Creek, Middle Tonawanda Creek, Upper Tonawanda Creek, Murder Creek, Niagara River, and Smoke’s Creek.
Waterkeeper approached the watershed planning process through a two-phased approach, with the first focusing on completing an initial assessment of the watershed, by performing an ecological inventory, desktop GIS analysis, municipal code review, and ranking sub-watersheds within the Niagara River Watershed based on water quality, habitat and land use metrics. The second phase consisted of developing implementation plans for five priority sub-watersheds based on field data collected over two years.