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CommunityDriven Scajaquada Restoration Plan

Click Here to Take the Scajaquada Creek Community Survey

In June 2023, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create a community-driven, watershed-wide Scajaquada Creek Restoration Plan.

This plan will serve as a resource for future decision-making by providing a technical overview of the current conditions and projects along the creek. This includes advancing two projects identified from prior engagement/planning projects with the intention that they could be ready for near-term implementation, and identifying additional areas for ecological restoration and revitalization throughout the watershed. The plan will be completed by June 2026. 
Project Updates

Winter/Spring 2024

Here’s what we’ve been up to since the beginning of 2024: 

Community Advisory Group – At the end of 2023, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper opened “interest forms” for the Scajaquada Creek Restoration Plan Community Advisory Group (CAG). We had 94 candidates submit interest forms!! With the help of our community partners, BNW reviewed and offered a position and stipend to 25 candidates in January 2024. On Feb. 1, a truly diverse and representative group of partners, collaborators, and CAG members met for the first time together at the Parkside Lodge to get to know each other and the project. The energy as folks left was awesome and we are looking forward to the next steps in the process.

Literature Review – We’ve been hard at work pulling together historical documents from across the watershed, including planning, restoration, and remediation projects and work that has identified existing & historical conditions along the creek. We have reviewed the 2002 Scajaquada Creek Watershed Management Plan to identify gaps and what information needs to be updated. We will continue this research throughout 2024 and we look forward to sharing our progress when we have it further along!  

Coordinating with agencies, elected officials, and municipalities. BNW has begun coordinating with agencies, elected officials, municipalities, and other local nonprofits regarding this project. BNW met with GoBike Buffalo (a non-profit that is leading the development of a bike path over the buried section of Scajaquada Creek), the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Department of Public Works in the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Sewer Authority, a zoning officer with the Town of Lancaster, the Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor, Clean Air Coalition (a non-profit that leads the community to organize a remediation site above the buried section of Scajaquada Creek), a member of Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust (a non-profit landowner along Scajaquada Creek), and the Watershed Coordinator at Erie County. BNW has continued coordinating with the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (a coalition of community partners advocating for the downgrade of the 198-expressway adjacent to Scajaquada Creek), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) on our background research for this project, and the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) (which is leading a Feasibility Study for ecosystem restoration in the Town of Cheektowaga).   

The Spring Sweep – Behind the scenes we’ve been planning, coordinating, and executing our biggest volunteer event of the year – the Spring Sweep!! This year the Spring Sweep was held on Saturday April 20 and we cleaned up trash at five locations along Scajaquada Creek. 

Outreach and Engagement Strategy – Following the first CAG meeting, BNW CAG members to fill out a worksheet about an Outreach and Engagement Strategy we are creating for this project. The worksheet asked each CAG member “What strategies for building public and community support and for creating community awareness and interest in Scajaquada Creek Restoration would you like to see as part of our outreach and engagement plan for this project?” As we have processed CAG feedback received since the first meeting, the Outreach and Engagement Strategy for this project has evolved beyond what BNW originally anticipated. BNW has decided to not just list all the methods and general schedule of events and opportunities but also thoughtfully describe our approach, the context for the need for successful outreach and engagement, and the specific things the community influenced up to this point. BNW hopes it will help clarify our goals and be a guiding star over the next two years of this project. We anticipate the strategy will be finalized after the next CAG meeting and we will share it on our website. 

Community Advisory Group
The Community Advisory Group (CAG) plays an active role in the creation of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s Scajaquada Creek Restoration Plan. CAG Members, representing Scajaquada Creek watershed residents and stakeholders, are shaping decisions made during the creation of the plan. CAG Members are ensuring that the plan’s creation is as transparent and accessible as possible and driven by the needs and concerns of those closest to the creek.
Purpose of the CAG:
  • The CAG is devising strategies and assisting with implementation of community outreach and engagement to build public and community support for the Restoration Plan
  • Creating community awareness and interest in Scajaquada Creek Restoration
  • Providing a forum for resident and local stakeholder input into waterway restoration efforts, such as identifying creek focused issues important to the community, and providing feedback on potential project alternatives
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on the Scajaquada Creek Restoration Plan.
The first CAG meeting was held in February 2024. Check back soon for more information about the CAG Members.
Community Survey

Upcoming Events

View “Scajaquada Watershed Events” on our event listing page.

View Events Here

We’re excited to maintain consistent communication with the community throughout the life of this project and share how the process is moving along. 

In the meantime, check out our Scajaquada Creek Lunch & Learn video series to explore more about the watershed.

Lunch & Learn Video Series
 Past meeting information 
Project Partners
BNW recognizes that our work is a small part of the larger work that is happening throughout the Scajaquada Creek corridor, and we understand that it takes more than one person, group, or organization to make a real change. We are partnering with other community members, leaders, and organizations with a footprint in the creek corridor. Our awesome partners include: 
Grassroots Gardens WNY
Black Rock Riverside Alliance
Ms. Ellen Harris-Harvey, President of Trinidad Neighborhood Association
BWELL/Buffalo Women of Environmental Learning and Leadership, Inc.
Buffalo United Front
Friends of Freedom Park
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Meet the Community Advisory Group Members

Amanda Almorabi (she/her)

Amanda is from Depew, where she grew up living with Scajaquada Creek in her backyard. She has countless fond memories as a child and teen playing in the creek and now her family lives in the house next door, she shares her love for nature with her daughter while spending time making new memories living alongside the Scajaquada creek.

Laurie Anderson (she/her)

Laurie serves as a Community Outreach Coordinator for a local non-profit organization in Buffalo, New York. A free-spirited woman who believes in creating opportunities for those who want to evoke change in their neighborhoods.

Sylvin Ashbrook

Land Stewardship Coordinator at Grassroots Gardens WNY. Sylvin moved to Buffalo in 2018 and instantly became drawn to the Scajaquada creek. At Grassroots Gardens WNY, they use their background in GIS and Native Plants to look at long-term community garden protection and impacts these green spaces have on managing water movement in an urban landscape.

Heather Ault

Heather is a graphic designer, volunteer activist who lives in Cheektowaga. She's passionate about improving the health and access to the Scajaquada Creek in Cheektowaga's Town Park and helping the watershed become a recreational destination for residents in the historic Pine Hill and East Side neighborhoods. Over the years, Heather has contributed to numerous political campaigns, women's rights initiatives, and local efforts and looks forward to future projects.

Emma Brittain (she/her)

Emma Brittain-Hardy (She/her) is an artist whose art focuses on the relationships between humans and nature. She believes in promoting action through hope and connection. She works with two nonprofits located on the East side of Buffalo near where the creek was buried.

Britney-Bay Croyle (she/they)

Britney is from Niagara Falls, NY but currently reside on the West Side of Buffalo near where the creek meets the Niagara River. I am a local artist and a mom to a daughter, River! Our local environment and the botanicals that grow wildly inspire my art daily and I love connecting with these spaces!

Ari Daniels

Ari’s connection to Scajaquada Creek is historical and spiritual. My family has old roots of living in the Cold Springs and my childhood home sits in the Pine Ridge area of the creek. Many of my passed loved ones are at Forest Lawn Cemetery. I spend a lot of time meditating and daydreaming by the creek. She connects me to my past and resets my focus on the present and future.

Kelly Dumas

Kelly Dumas is a licensed mental health professional and founder of Dumas R.I.S.E. (Restoration In Sound Environments), which focuses on increasing the number of mental health professionals of color to serve our communities. She is the proud wife of Reggie Dumas and Scajaquada Creek runs in their backyard.

Reggi Dumas

Reggie Dumas is a lifelong musician, father to three, and husband to Kelly Dumas. He enjoys hosting free live music concerts, especially behind the house. Scajaquada Creek runs in the backyard of the house and is often a topic of discussion for house guests.

Mike Ferguson

Gabrielle Graham (they, them, theirs)

Gabrielle lives on the Upper West Side near the daylight portion of Scajaquada Creek. Before moving to Buffalo in 2017, they lived in Florida and developed a lifelong interest in clean water, spring-fed estuaries, and public education on human-impacted natural resources. They are the Community Engagement Manager for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, and in their personal life they are a crafty ADHDer with a love of patterns, plants, animals, and food.

Deana Guarino (she/her)

Deana is a member of Buffalo Women of Environmental Learning & Leadership, sharing her love of hiking and connecting with women who want to protect the outdoors. She spends time enjoying nature in the city, which led to wanting to protect Scajaquada Creek, saying it offers a connection to the outdoors in so many ways!

Kate Haq, PhD. (she/her)

Kate is co-founder and Vice President of Operations and Curriculum Development at Mother Earth Literacies LLC., and has been a professional educator since 1985. Connected to the Scajaquada Creek through proximity and love of outdoor spaces in urban areas, Kate lives, works and plays primarily in the Parkside and Eastside neighborhoods of Buffalo, NY.

Nakia Harris

Ellen Harris-Harvey

Ellen is President of the Trinidad Neighborhood Association Block Club, located in a historic community in the buried section of the Scajaquada Creek. She is also a community representative and advocate with the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition, the NYSDOT 33 Kensington project, and the GBNRTC 198 Scajaquada project stakeholder meetings.

Stephanie Ibarra

Stephanie is the Urban Community Engagement Fellow at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Natural Resources: Conservation Biology. Growing up, she did not have much access to recreational activities in natural spaces. With this experience, she is dedicated to bringing support and resources to similar audiences.

George Johnson

George has lived in Buffalo his whole life. He enjoys spending his fee time down at Freedom Park. Mr. Johnson is the President of Buffalo United Front, Eastside Bike Club as well as the
Friends of Freedom Park.

Belinda Johnson

Belinda has lived in Buffalo her whole life. She loves spending her free time with her community work. She works with the organizations Buffalo United Front and the Friends of Freedom Park.

Mary Ann Kendron

Maryrose Kotlowski (she/her)

Maryrose lives across the street from Scajaquada Creek at the headwaters. There are plants and animals around it, but also garbage and litter. She’s hoping to make sure the start of the creek is clean so the rest of it, as if flows to Niagara River is in better condition for everyone else.

Marcia Ladiana (she/here/hers)

Marcia is a recently retired Environmental Engineer with a career focused on environmental protection and regulation. She has lived on Humboldt Parkway south of the covered section of Scajaquada Creek for more than 35 years and hopes to see a rehabilitated creek for all forms of life to enjoy.

Steve Lane

Steve traces his lineage back to Tonawanda’s first settler and has always been invested in the community. He and his wife Ellyn raised their family here. He is the Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, upholding the legacy of one of Buffalo’s first historically black churches. Steve served as president at Buffalo First, and serves as a Chaplain for the Buffalo Police.

Stephanie Lee (she/her)

Stephanie was raised and currently works in Buffalo. She comes from a large family and compassion was instilled in her at an early age by her parents. This guided her professionally and as a community representative. She is on advisory boards for Buffalo AKG Art Museum, GOBike, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, University of Buffalo Citizens for Regional Transit and more.

Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux

Katrinna is a mother of four who lives in the Genesee-Moselle community. She is a registered nurse with an extensive travel history as a contract nurse, working between New York and California. Her career has given her a unique outlook into different styles of urban development, community planning, wellness initiatives, government & corporate responsibility, community engagement and how it impacts a region. Her goal is to see equity for the people and communities adjacent to waterways.

Anne K.C. McCooey (she/her)

Anne’s passion for environmental stewardship was fostered as a child when her mom would let her plant weeds and things in the yard and spent summer days playing in the woods and creek behind her house. As Executive Director of BRRAlliance, her dedication to the environmental health of the North District waterfront of Scajaquada Creek and the Niagara River over the past five years led to an award winning Habitat Project as well as participation in the Erie County Community Climate Action Plan.

Paul R. Nevergold

Paul is a geologist by trade and a teacher by compulsion. He has a B.A. in Geology and an MEd in Science Education from the University of Buffalo. Paul has taught in junior high school, high school, college, and, after several retirements, taught in after-school programs at grammar schools.

Cassie Pelz

Cassie is a board member of Buffalo Women of Environmental Learning & Leadership and spends time outdoors hiking, kayaking, or reading a good book in a hammock. She loves sharing the wonder that is nature with others! While Cassie does not directly live in the Scajaquada corridor, she wants to lend a helping hand to better other communities.

Terrence Robinson

Eve Shippen (she/her)

Eve is a mother, environmental science teacher, and resident of the Grant-Amherst neighborhood who lives near the creek. She would like to take what she learns from the CAG back to her classroom to provide place-based education about local waterways and how to better protect these resources. She wants to see Scajaquada cleaned up and restored so more people can enjoy its beauty and recreational opportunities.

Ryan Sjadak (he/him)

Ryan is an ardent advocate for environmental stewardship, teaches Environmental Science and Chemistry at McKinley Vocational High School, situated on the banks of the Scajaquada Creek. Ryan envisions the restored waterway as a living classroom that inspires both his students and the community.

Aurora Sliwinski (she/her)

Aurora is an aspiring environmental biologist. Growing up in Cheektowaga allowed her to create a unique bond with Scajaquada. This group continues her passion for the environment and dedication to making a positive change for all future generations.

Dr. Cortasia Solomon-Carter

Cortasia has lived in the Schiller Park area for 30 years and has a strong connection to Scajaquada Creek. She is committed to improving the quality of life for its residents, believing that community service is fundamentally about serving this overarching purpose.

Loc Tran (he/him/his)

Loc is the program manager at Grassroots Gardens. As a part of Grassroots Gardens, he believes in serving the community and helping connect people and nature. He also believes in using gardening as a way to uplift and empower communities.

Mohammad Uddin

Mohammad is an architect who worked six years for the New York City Department of Buildings. He now lives near the Cheektowaga Town Park and is looking forward to supporting the Scajaquada Community Advisory Group.

Fran Wagner

Fran is a lifelong Buffalo resident and nature lover. He is a founding member and current president of the Scajaquada Canoe Club, an organization devoted to advocating for the environmental health and recreational accessibility of Scajaquada Creek.

Ken Young

Kenneth is a 30-year long Cheektowaga resident and his home overlooks the Scajaquada Creek where he and his wife raised a son and two daughters. He has a long history in public service, having been the President of the Town Park Community Association for 14 years and a member of the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals, Police Reform Task Force, and Board of Assessment Review, as well as a member of St Joseph's Patient Advisory Committee.