USACE, ECHDC: Milestone for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor wetland project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) have announced completion of the 2023 construction season’s work on a new wetland ecosystem being built in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.

U.S. Army photo by Avery Schneider

USACE and its contractor, Michigan-based Ryba Marine Construction Co., placed bedding stone across the mouth of the abandoned Shipping Slip 3, forming the first layer of a submerged breakwater to contain material dredged from the Buffalo River and placed in the slip to create the base of the new ecosystem.

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

This season’s construction, which started in September and concluded on Oct. 19, included placement of 17,200 tons of bedding stone in Slip 3.

According to USACE, the bedding stone is expected to displace silty sediment at the bottom of the slip and settle over the winter.

USACE and Ryba Marine will resume construction in 2024, with placement of additional bedding stone, followed by 4.8 feet of underlayer stone and 7.2 feet of armor stone.

The completed 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 (Phase 1) is expected to conclude in September 2024.