At a Glance

A formerly industrial lakefront site transforms into an ever-increasingly rich, biodiverse setting for outdoor enjoyment.

Project Description

Located in the “Outer Harbor” section of Buffalo’s waterfront, this project encompasses over 165 acres along the Lake Erie shoreline within a protected harbor formed by an outer break wall built in the late 19th century. Historically, the Outer Harbor provided deep water port facilities and industrial uses, but the site has been vacant for decades. After surveying the public about potential use for the site, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation learned that the community wanted to preserve it as habitat and green space, with increased public access and amenities. The site now includes areas where pioneer vegetation has volunteered, attracting birds and other wildlife.

Proposed improvements include a visitor hub, bike path extension, recreational spaces, overlook/art installations, a bike park, signage, a large event space, and a flexible, multi-use space on the Michigan Avenue Pier.  Biohabitats provided habitat recreation/restoration and living infrastructure support services as a sub-consultant to Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects. A detailed ecological assessment was performed for the portion of the site with regenerated vegetation, including vascular plant and insect inventories and analysis with regard to system quality, plant community description, and species rarity. Services also included evaluating aquatic habitat restoration alternatives. Restoration priorities, implementation strategies, cost/budgeting information, and habitat potential for various elements were provided to help the team evolve the concept and inform the community engagement process. The concept plan was formally adopted, and Biohabitats will be providing continued ecological support as part of the TWM team for detailed design and construction of the next phases of capital improvements, including habitat restoration and the integration of green infrastructure elements into access, gathering, and interpretive features.



Great Lakes

Physiographic Province

Lower Great Lakes Plain


Buffalo-Eighteen Mile

Expertise Areas

Coastal, Community, Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Urban Ecology


Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation


Buffalo, New York, United States

Project Team
  • Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects, LLP
  • Conservation Research Institute