If Our Water Could Talk Part III: Fish & Wildlife

May 14, 2014

With its origins in the hills of Wales and Java, the Buffalo River, like most streams, begins in the highlands before flowing downhill into another body of water. Lake Erie serves as the mouth of the Buffalo River, providing the waterway with its unique character.

These fishermen say they routinely catch steelhead in this part of the Buffalo River.
Credit Jay Moran/wbfo news

Fish & Wildlife

"We're at one end of a Great Lake. If affects everything from our weather to the way our waters flow. For example, when you get a storm coming in, Lake Erie being the shallowest of the Great Lakes will actually rise up five, six, eight feet at times," said Martin Doster, Regional Remediation Engineer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Doster provided background information for the WNED-TV initiative "If Our Water Could Talk."

"That will really push water and sediments back into our water systems and our Buffalo River sometimes flows backwards."

That lake effect benefits fishermen who are offered a surprising selection from which to choose.

"We went for over four decades with no fish to now, 20 to 30 species, and people fishing and  healthier fish as well," said John Hartig, refuge manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.

Author of the book Burning Rivers, Hartig provided his perspective to WNED-TV producers.

"That’s impressive it’s gone that far."

Also interviewed for the production was Captain Tom Marks of GR8 Lakes Fishing Adventures.  

Fishing on the Buffalo River.
Credit Photo from WNED-Television from If Our Water Could Talk

"The Buffalo River is a really good spot to fish. I fish that in the early season most of the time. A lot of fish are heading up there spawning. It's an excellent spot, kind of undiscovered, so to speak," Marks said.

"People are surprised sometimes by some of the wildlife that you can see along the way, some of the,  overgrown areas now. You’ll get a glimpse into a field or a brushy area and you can see deer.  Occasionally, we’ll see an eagle or an osprey flying around.  If we’re lucky, we might see a peregrine falcon," Marks said.

"Bird life is really interesting along the way.  If you really look for it, you can see, quite a bit."
The DEC's Doster says the emerging wildlife offer positive signs for the Buffalo River

Catching a bass on Buffalo River.
Credit Photo from WNED-Television from If Our Water Could Talk

"People don't believe me when I tell then you can see deer with pretty good antlers," Doster said.

"I've seen mink on the river. We've seen the comeback of some endangered turtle species on the river"

Officials maintain the waters are getting cleaner by the day, and with that, the imagination flows with the possibilities of how a healthy river could carry Buffalo into the future.