New report shows problems in Buffalo-area waters

Aug 31, 2017
Originally published on August 31, 2017 4:07 pm

Several water-related issues were the highlight of a report released today by a Western New York environmental group.

The State of Our Waters Report offered showed a brief look into the current conditions of watershed health in the Buffalo-Niagara region, and the outlook wasn't good.

Water infrastructure, including the pipes and the systems used to transport drinking water and wastewater, was marked as poor. Similarly, the issue of toxic contamination from old industrial sites was listed as a problem.

But, it's not all bad. Areas of improvement include land use and public access.

The report was released by the renamed Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, a group that has been known as the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

Jill Jedlicka executive director of the group Waterkeepers says the region has a long way to go when it comes to restoration.  

"I think the message is to make folks aware that, yes we have enormous challenges, but we've made enormous progress so let’s continue that progress build from that and if we do collaborate on these solutions the problem," she said.

The waterkeepers also presented an action plan for the watershed improvements. It included addressing sewer overflow issues, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, and expanding citizen science.

"Ironically all of it is a priority I think that's the take home message, when you look at that action agenda it could certainly be three times as long of the things that we want to do and that should be tackled," Jedlicka said.

The report was revealed at a gathering of politicians and environmental advocates on the boardwalk of Buffalo's popular Canalside. 

The organization Waterkeeper also announced that it was changing its name revamping of the organization, which included a name change from the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.  also implementing an annual "Waterkeeper Weekend" to promote civic responsibility and stewardship towards the environment.

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