New plans laid out for Scajaquada Creek

Posted at 1:23 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 13:59:50-04

For decades, the team at Buffalo Niagara RiverKeeper has worked to improve the quality of water in Buffalo's Scajaquada Creek.

Years of pollution, urban development and disturbances have caused that damage, but Kerrie Gallo says help is on the way.

"This can be a catalyst; Just like we had a catalyst in investment in the Buffalo River partnership. This is the same thing. It takes an initial investment and initial buy-in to a partnership to leverage initial dollars, leverage interest to really get that snowball building."

Tuesday, Gallo, her colleagues, officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Forest Lawn staff provided a tour of the creek in the cemetery. They outlined improvements they hope to make over the next few years.

The waste and problems don't necessarily stem from the cemetery, but Joe Dispenza, Forest Lawn President, says this is vital for all of Western New York.

"One thing that's very unique about Buffalo is our immediate connection to the water. That's why we developed, that's why we grew that's why became a great city and that's why we are a great city."

This has been a focus for RiverKeeper since 2013, when they started a 12-phase improvement project. Approximately half of the phases are complete or underway - but it's not cheap.

"The cost estimate is still a work in progress but it's hovering $2 million right now," Bryan Hinterberger, Project Manager from the Army Corp of Engineers told 7ABC.

Officials said the Buffalo Sewer Authority will also play a big role in the project. They weren't at Tuesday's tour because of a scheduling conflict.

There's no firm timetable on the completion of the project at the point.