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For Release: Friday, May 12, 2023

DEC and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to Hold Virtual Outreach Event for the Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC) on May 24

Organizations will Provide a Progress Update and Invite Public Comments on the Continuing Restoration of the Buffalo River Area of Concern

What: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW) will hold a virtual outreach event to update the public about ongoing efforts to restore natural resources in the Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC), and the proposed removal of the 'Degradation of Benthos' Beneficial Use Impairment' (BUI). Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, in partnership with DEC and Erie County, coordinates these restoration efforts under the Buffalo River AOC Remedial Action Plan (RAP).

Benthos refer to the organisms that typically reside in the bottom substrate, including sediment, of water bodies like the Buffalo River. They are critical to life because they comprise the base of the food chain.

The Buffalo River AOC is located in the City of Buffalo, Erie County, New York and includes the historically industrialized portion of the river beginning at its mouth (where it outlets to Lake Erie), and continuing upstream approximately six miles to the Bailey Avenue bridge. The Degradation of Benthos BUI was originally designated as impaired in the 1980s due to low diversity and abundance of the benthic macroinvertebrate community and evidence of sediment toxicity. Extensive sediment toxicity and benthic community assessments completed after the removal of contaminated sediments in the river indicate no impairment to benthic organisms due to sediment contamination currently exist, and that the criteria established to remove the Degradation of Benthos BUI have been met.

A draft report, (link leaves DEC's website) which details the completed actions and assessments supporting the BUI removal, is available for public review. Public comments on the draft report and proposed BUI removal may be made at the May 24 virtual event and through BNW's website until June 11, 2023.

When: Wednesday, May 24, 2023, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: To participate in the virtual event online, go to:

Meeting ID: 842 2538 9696
Passcode: 732768
To join by telephone dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode.

For more information about the Buffalo River Area of Concern visit the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) websites (links leave DEC's website).

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