USACE takes next step to create new wetland ecosystem in Buffalo

The USACE Buffalo District awarded a $5.3 million contract to Michigan-based Ryba Marine Construction Co. on July 25 to construct a stone breakwater in the abandoned Shipping Slip 3 in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.

USACE photo

Construction of the breakwater marks the first major physical step in creating another new wetland ecosystem on Buffalo’s waterfront using material dredged from the Buffalo River.

“This is just the first visible step of a project that will revive the natural aquatic habitat on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor,” said Lt. Col. Colby Krug, commander of the USACE Buffalo District. “I hope all fellow Buffalonians and visitors to the waterfront will join us in envisioning the positive impact this project will have on generations of people, plants, and wildlife.”

“Under the leadership of the Army Corps Buffalo District, this project brings new life to the slip next to Wilkeson Pointe and continues to build on Buffalo’s waterfront revival,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “This is yet another example of how the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which saw funding boosted through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is directly benefiting Western New York.”

In partnership with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the overall $14.8 million project aims to reverse coastal wetland degradation in the Niagara River system and across the Great Lakes.

Decades of industrial development and hardening of shorelines has diminished fish nursery and spawning habitats in these areas.

The project is being conducted in three phases – construction of the breakwater, placement of dredged material, and formation of aquatic and sub-aquatic habitat.

Using approximately 44,000 cubic yards of bedding, underlayer, and armor stone, the breakwater will extend across the entire mouth of the slip, with a portion submerged to allow for connectivity to the Lake Erie and the increased health of the future wetlands.

Construction of the breakwater’s base is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed by November.

According to USACE, construction of the upper layers is scheduled for spring 2024.