At a Glance

The restoration of an industrialized shoreline regenerates shoreline and riparian habitat, reconnects people to the Buffalo River, and provides a proven model for future restoration efforts.

Project Description

Building upon its legacy of regional stewardship, the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received three federal grants to restore 4,320 feet and nearly 10 acres of shoreline habitat at RiverBend, an urban, sustainable, mixed-use redevelopment project. The site, once a steel manufacturing facility, is characterized by a barren landscape and impoverished soil conditions.

After participating in the development of the RiverBend plan, Biohabitats helped devise the restoration approach, which includes limited shoreline grading, soil amendments to improve planting success, and riparian plantings that accommodate site conditions. The team’s design will fully enhance the riparian plant community within and beyond a 100-foot buffer along the river. It will accommodate the RiverBend Master Plan layout while enhancing the aesthetics and ecology of the development’s green space.

The project also presents an opportunity to enhance the benefits of concurrent Buffalo River restoration efforts. It contributes toward the Buffalo River’s delisting as an Area of Concern (AOC) by addressing fish and wildlife habitat-related Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs), advance the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and reconnects people to a natural and cultural resource that has suffered more than a century of degradation. The restoration helps Riverkeeper meet these objectives while also maximizing ecological benefits and inspiring ongoing stewardship and education. The restored riverfront will attract and support native species, be resilient to climate change, and draw businesses and visitors who appreciate the benefits of green space in an urban setting.



Great Lakes

Physiographic Province

Lower Great Lakes Plain


Lake Erie

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Urban Ecology


Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper


Erie County, New York, United States

Project Team
  • Ecology & Environment