BUFFALO, NY --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, awarded a $1.6 million contract to Bidco Marine Group on June 23, 2021 for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative fish passage demonstration project along the Niagara River, adjacent to Broderick Park in the City of Buffalo, NY.
The emerald shiner is a small prey fish and a critical component of the Niagara River and Lake Erie food web. Hardened shorelines along the Niagara River create high water velocities that strictly limit the ability of emerald shiner to migrate into Lake Erie, posing a threat to populations of these prey fish and the larger fish and wildlife populations that depend on them.
The project will repair approximately 78’ of the existing seawall and install baffles designed to reduce the water velocity below what is necessary to support emerald shiner migration. Post construction monitoring of the project will demonstrate the ability to apply the design in future settings.
“Protecting New York’s natural beauty and resources will always be a top priority. The Niagara River is a staple of Western New York and this federal funding will help protect the river’s natural ecosystem and the emerald shiner fish – a critical player in the river’s food web,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “With these resources, the Buffalo community can begin restoring the Niagara River shoreline and protect the river’s diverse habitat for years to come.”
“Broderick Park is one of the best used and most historically significant public access points on Buffalo’s entire waterfront,” said Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26). “In addition to improving habitat and the quality of the fishery, this important project will prevent future sinkholes along this stretch of the Shoreline Trail to make it safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, anglers and other park users.”
“Everyone knows a big fish story but this is a great tale about a tiny fish! At just a few inches long, emerald shiners are foundational to the Lake Erie food web. Species like the common tern, which is a protected animal, feed on the emerald shiner. These little fish have a huge impact on the ecosystem,” said Lt. Col. Eli S. Adams, commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District. “Unfortunately, the Niagara River remains an Area of Concern – with a Beneficial Use Impairment due to degradation of fish populations. So, as the Nation’s environmental engineers, we are proud to work with partners and stakeholders to fulfill Fish Community Objectives such as improving habitat. Since our work affects Lake Erie and the Niagara River, this project is also an opportunity of international significance.”
The project is intended to contribute to habitat objectives identified to restore the Niagara River Area of Concern.
The contractor will begin work this summer with anticipated completion of earthwork by early winter. The Buffalo District will monitor the project for one year following construction.
This project is funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with no cost share sponsor for implementation. To create government efficiencies, the USEPA partnered with the Corps of Engineers to contract out the work and oversee its implementation.
The project is the result of previous technical assistance provided by the Buffalo District in partnership with the City of Buffalo, the Great Lakes Center of SUNY Buffalo State, the Niagara Greenway Commission and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.
The Buffalo District delivers world class engineering solutions to the Great Lakes Region, the Army and the Nation in order to ensure national security, environmental sustainability, water resource management, and emergency assistance during peace and war.