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2021 was a year full of progress! On behalf of the Waterkeeper Team, we’d like to thank you for your support and highlight some successes we’ve experienced as an organization. Progressed our efforts to establish a 3.75-acre wetland/floodplain within Cemetery.

Developed ecological enhancement plans for the Cemetery and secured a contractor to install 2,600 square yards of pollinator meadow, 2,500 square yards of cold season grass meadow, and over 1,600 wetland plants throughout the project areas.  Partnered with our friends at Environmental Advocates New York to help the Environmental Rights Amendment to our State Constitution Led the first Great Lakes Cleanup across the Great Lakes Basin.

Designed, built, and opened a fully accessible fishing pier on Ohio Street at the Buffalo River as part of our Buffalo Blueway public access project.

Broke ground at, and fully completed, a one-of-a-kind Buffalo Blueway public access site at the NYSDEC Ohio Street Boat Launch.

Designed and implemented two Buffalo Blueway public access sites with amenities at Erie County habitat parks along the Buffalo River. Dozens of teams joined BNW for the inaugural Scajaquada Scavenger Hunt. Over 75 volunteers participated in our Riverwatch Citizen Science Program.

Volunteers collected photographs of waterway conditions using the Water Reporter app, collected thousands of plastic nurdles from waterway shorelines, reported Harmful Algal Blooms, and collected baseline water quality data at over 50 sites throughout the Niagara River Watershed.  Waterkeeper staff also sampled for E. coli Bacteria at over 20 sites in the Niagara River Watershed and uploaded results to Swim Guide.

Led over 40 place-based environmental lessons for local middle and high school students in Western New York reaching over 500 students.

Resources for educators can be found here.

Water Academy Lessons focusing on Environmental Justice Topics in Niagara County. 10 local teachers participated as well as SUNY Erie Students.  Led 8 online webinars for community members and students on topics including environmental justice and career readiness.

Engaged 306 people across 21 tours this season.

Organized 7 volunteer events and engaged 182 volunteers at sites to clean bird/duck boxes, perform trail maintenance, invasive species removal, tree/shrub plantings, and general tree care.

In addition to stewardship tasks, volunteers planted 86 container shrubs and 36 bare-root trees along Ellicott Creek, providing much-needed habitat and improved water quality.  Finalized and completed a Living Shoreline restoration project on Tonawanda Creek at the North Tonawanda Botanical Garden.

North Tonawanda Botanical Garden. Finalized the design for flood mitigation and habitat enhancement as well as public access along a degraded section of Cayuga Creek in partnership with the Town of Niagara, in preparation for completing work in 2022.

Through the Buffalo Blueway designed and installed an ADA accessible fishing dock at the newly renovated site at the NYSDEC Ohio Street Boat Launch.

Finished all Year 5 fish sampling needed for our Beneficial Use Impairment Removals to be on our way to having the Buffalo River delisted as an Area of concern. 

Engaged over 7,000 community members in our work.

Progressed on land acquisition through the NYSDEC Water Quality Improvement Program.

 Developed robust BNW Source Water Protection Program which includes an economic benefit analysis.