Volunteers needed to plant trees for water quality project in Niagara Falls

planting tree by water
Photo courtesy Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper

Community volunteers are needed to help plant trees along the shoreline of Gill Creek in Niagara Falls, which will be part of a larger creek-wide restoration effort.

The planting event, organized by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18. Advance registration is required. Register online or by contacting Wendy Paterson at (716) 852-7483, ext. 26.

All supplies for the planting will be provided by Riverkeeper.

In addition to 120 new trees, understory vegetation will be planted along the shorelines of Gill Creek. The trees and shrubs will absorb stormwater runoff before it flows into the creek, providing a critical riparian buffer along the banks and protecting water quality both locally and downstream. (Riparian refers to the interface between land and a river or stream.)

“Restoring shoreline ecosystems is a critical component in our efforts to protect water quality,” said Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. “We look forward to implementing this restoration project in partnership with the City of Niagara Falls and the US Forest Service.”

The project was announced last week by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Congressman Brian Higgins and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“These newly planted trees and shrubs will create a ‘living filter’ for the river by removing pollutants and sediment from rainfall, regulating stream and air temperatures and providing critical resource habitat,” said Karl Honkonen, a forest watershed specialist with the US Forest Service.

Trees and shrubs were donated by the City of Niagara Falls and its Niagara Beautification Commission from the Municipal Tree Nursery.

Technical expertise was provided by students and faculty at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Through this unique partnership, the students and faculty gained on-the-ground practical experience working on a current habitat restoration project.

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our most valuable natural asset, water. Over the past 26 years, they have tackled some of the region’s biggest fresh water challenges such as cleaning up toxic sediment, eliminating sewage overflows, restoring critical habitat, and advocating for the long-term health of the Great Lakes. Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s actions protect drinking water, connect people to waterways and contribute to a thriving water-based economy. The group recently received an international award.


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