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On April 21, 2023, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka was joined by U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins to announce federal funding to support restoring habitat in the highly-impaired Scajaquada Creek watershed.

The $901,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate-Ready Coasts initiative will allow Waterkeeper to collaborate closely with community members in the Black Rock, Riverside, East Side of Buffalo, and western Cheektowaga neighborhoods.

“Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has been committed to the restoration of Scajaquada Creek for more than 30 years, and with this latest momentum we are finally on an accelerated path to replicate the collaborative success we had in the Buffalo River,” said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. “Restoring Scajaquada Creek’s habitat and resilience will in turn reconnect many communities along its corridor, but this is no small task. The transformational return to a healthy waterway requires complementing technical studies and planning with the inclusion of diverse community voices as a cornerstone to this work. NOAA has played a significant role in many other restoration efforts in the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, and we are thankful and excited to continue to work with our federal partners on Scajaquada Creek.”

“We must address climate change in order to create a better future for our community. This means making long-term investments that improve our freshwater systems and restore their natural habitats,” said Congressman Higgins. “Thanks to historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, NOAA is providing the Western New York community long-overdue resources to restore the Scajaquada Creek watershed. Serving East Buffalo, Riverside, Black Rock, and parts of Cheektowaga, funding will create a healthier future for thousands of Western New Yorkers living in these communities.”

NOAA is recommending nearly $25 million in funding for 35 new projects that will advance the coastal habitat restoration priorities of underserved communities. These projects were selected through the Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities funding opportunity. They will support community-driven habitat restoration and help build the capacity of underserved communities to more fully participate in restoration activities.

The Scajaquada Creek watershed is a 29 square mile area that includes the City of Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Depew and Lancaster. The Creek itself stretches 13 miles west from its headwaters in Lancaster to its mouth at Black Rock Canal in the City of Buffalo. Significant portions of the 13-mile creek have been altered or impaired in some way – including hardened shorelines, straightened channels, buried sections, polluted brownfields, and sewage overflows.