New York — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the award of a $500,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the City of Buffalo to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in Lake Erie.
“Through this EPA grant, the City of Buffalo will be able to use green infrastructure to prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into Lake Erie,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Green infrastructure projects make both fiscal and environmental sense, especially for communities that need to adapt to the growing effects of climate change."
The City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sewer Authority will use the $500,000 EPA grant, along with $500,000 in funding from Empire State Development to construct green infrastructure projects along a 1-mile section of Niagara Street. The projects include the installation of porous asphalt, stormwater planters, rain gardens and the reduction of impervious pavements. This section of roadway, which is a part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail/National Scenic Byway, currently generates untreated stormwater that drains directly to the Black Rock Navigation Channel and the Niagara River. The green infrastructure projects will capture stormwater from approximately 15 acres along the Niagara Street right of way, resulting in the control of up to 4.9 million gallons of stormwater runoff per year and a significant reduction in the amount of road salt, nutrients, oil and grease and sediment flowing into the Niagara River.
Buffalo is one of 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA’s new GLRI Shoreline Cities grant program, which is designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin. These grants can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of green infrastructure projects on public property.
Some 30 million Americans get their drinking water from the Great Lakes, and the lakes also support a multi-billion dollar economy based on fishing, boating and recreational activities. The lakes face significant challenges, including pollution and the threat of harmful species that threaten their health. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched at the start of President Obama’s first term to coordinate the work of 16 federal agencies to protect and restore the Great Lakes.
To find more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative or Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grants, visit www.glri.us.