Ribbon cutting ceremony for Unity Island project

The Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District, yesterday hold a ceremony celebrating the completion of the Unity Island Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project.

The ceremony celebrates the completion of the Unity Island project that restored 10 acres of coastal wetland habitat.

It is an example of a much larger campaign for beneficial use of dredged material in the Great Lakes region.

“The Unity Island project demonstrates the Army Corps Buffalo District’s keen ability to evolve with the changing environment to find innovative solutions to protect and restore the Great Lakes,” Congressman Brian Higgins said.

“It’s amazing to see the positive changes made to Unity Island as we usher in a new day for this restored natural area and celebrate the completion of the Unity Island Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project,” commented Buffalo Mayor, Byron W. Brown.

“It should not be lost on anyone that the appropriately named Unity Island is an ideal location where the fates are being rewritten for these two recovering waterways [Buffalo River and Niagara River], and demonstrates what is possible when a community carries a bold vision for cleaner, healthier water systems,” added Jill Jedlicka, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper executive director.

The project supports the following:

  • Contributes to delisting of the Niagara River Area of Concern by restoring 10 acres of wetland habitat;
  • Thanks to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded clean-up of the Buffalo River years before, over 56,000 cubic yards of clean sediment from the Buffalo River Federal Navigation Channel was used to shallow the depths within the North Pond of Unity Island to restore wetland habitat;
  • Invasive species management of over 10 acres followed by restoration seeding and planting has established a diverse native plant community;
  • Connecting the Niagara River and the waterbodies of Unity Island allows fish and wildlife access this habitat;
  • By reusing stone, cleared trees and installing porcupine cribs USACE has provided nursery and habitat for a diverse fish community.

The project was funded 65% by federal funds, and 35% by the Greenway Commission and was done in close coordination the City of Buffalo.

Photo: USACE