After decades of heavy industrial pollution, the Buffalo River was considered biologically dead. In 1989, the river was designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern—one of 43 “toxic hot spots” in the United States and Canada.
Since 2013, NOAA has worked through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to support the Great Lakes Commission's efforts to enhance and restore nearly two miles of shoreline and twenty acres of habitat across eight sites in the Buffalo River Area of Concern. These restoration projects helped restore habitat, stabilize shorelines, manage invasive species, and reduce erosion.
The Great Lakes Commission partnered with the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others to complete the restoration work. The projects are expected to ultimately help lead to the delisting of the Buffalo River as an Area of Concern.