Our free and inclusive Waterkeeper Ride this coming Monday, June 24th, will end in Broderick Park on the Niagara River (1170 Niagara Street, 6:30pm start) as part of being named for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the nonprofit that protects and restores our waterways and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. For 30 years, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has been the guardian of Western New York’s fresh water, protecting clean water, restoring the health of ecosystems, connecting people to the water and inspiring economic growth and community engagement.
This Monday’s 10-mile roundtrip route includes stops at Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park as well as Waterkeeper’s downtown headquarters, where their staff will educate riders on what they do there and how to get involved. See below for a head start on that education, thanks to their Director of Community Engagement, Chris Murawski.
What inspired the founding of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper?
The Buffalo River needed an advocate. It was declared dead and a group of volunteers refused to accept that death sentence as permanent, so they began the fight 30 years ago that we continue today.
What are the greatest challenges to achieving your mission?
Everyone has a different lens on what’s important. The environment takes a back seat sometimes in people’s minds, but in reality it supports everything else in life. Spreading awareness is a challenge.
What is BNW’s greatest accomplishment to date?
The Buffalo River was declared dead in the 1967. Thanks to a great deal of restoration work and dredging from partners at the local, state, and national level, it is on its way to getting delisted as an Area of Concern.
What are your favorite fun facts that few know about BNW?
- There’s a trout head mask that floats around sometimes and gets taken to events.
- We got second place at the Hope Chest Buffalo Dragon Boat races in 2018 -none of us had ever raced a dragon boat before!
- We participate in goofy things like Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day
How can community members get involved?
We have a variety of events throughout the year. Waterway cleanups, plantings, tours of the River, volunteers that sample our area waterbodies, and volunteers that help us to table at events. We’re always excited to see people join the effort to protect the waterways. Community members can also support us in our grassroots fundraising. Much of our project work is grant supported, but the crucial advocacy work that we do is 100% grassroots funded.