Green Infrastructure Recommendations for Western NY

July 27, 2017

On October 11, 2016, in partnership with local officials and community-based organizations, NYLCVEF hosted a forum on the topic of green infrastructure in the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan region. The forum featured two panel discussions of policymakers and green infrastructure experts:

Panel 1: Lynda Schneekloth, Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (Moderator)
Julie Barrett O’Neill, General Counsel, Buffalo Sewer Authority
Maris Grundy, Sustainable Landscaping Manager, PUSH Buffalo
Kathleen Buckler, Wetland Ecologist, Army Corps of Engineers
Scott Rybarczyk, Associate Principal and Senior Stormwater Engineer, Wendel
Sean Burkholder, Professor of Landscape and Urban Design, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning

Panel 2: Carley Hill, Safety Director and Environmental Officer, Union Concrete and NYLCV Education Fund Board Member (Moderator)
Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director and Riverkeeper, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
Justin Booth, Executive Director, Go Bike Buffalo
Brian Kulpa, Mayor, Village of Williamsville
Bart Roberts, Associate Director of Research and Faculty Engagement, UB Regional Institute

The first panel discussion reviewed the innovative work of the green infrastructure work being done by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, PUSH Buffalo, the Army Corps of Engineers, Wendel and the UB School of Architecture and Planning. Each panelist emphasized the importance of collaboration, and the City of Buffalo was recognized for its innovation and continued leadership on the issue. Drawing from varied experience in wastewater treatment, workforce development, wetland ecology, engineering and design, the multidisciplinary panel identified some early successes in the region’s efforts to capture and control stormwater runoff. Panelists also discussed some of the key challenges to implementing these projects in the future, including the need for maintenance funding and civic engagement to broaden public understanding of the importance of investing public funds in green infrastructure projects.

The second group of panelists from Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Go Bike Buffalo, the Village of Williamsville and the UB Regional Institute followed this conversation by taking a bigger picture view of the role that green infrastructure could play in future regional planning efforts and watershed management. Despite this different focus, panelists echoed many sentiments of the previous group. Specific projects such as the Niagara Street Gateway were lauded for including a complete streets model in design and implementation, a feature that can maximize the multiple positive effects of green infrastructure investments in the future. The importance of leadership from policymakers, another recurring theme from the first panel, was also raised as a significant opportunity for envisioning and implementing green infrastructure in local municipalities and across the region. Panelists agreed that continued public engagement will be essential for all of these reasons, ultimately enabling the region to capture the benefits of the One Region Forward planning process.

The forum was hosted by the Buffalo History Museum, generously sponsored by Roux Associates and Union Concrete, and featured by WBFO Buffalo.

Download our reccomendations here!

< Back to Publications

Related Articles

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced an aggressive carbon reduction goal for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In order to address some of the key topics and major challenges to reaching these goals, NYLCVEF hosted a 4-part forum series this summer to address the…

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is pleased to present this 2017 Green Guide as a resource for all candidates running for public office in New York City. This document, released at our Environmental Candidate School, is a one-stop-shop for candidates to learn about new opportunities and approaches to persistent sustainability problems….

Each year, NYLCV and the NYLCV Education Fund work closely with New York’s leading environmental, public health, conservation, energy, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify the state’s most pressing priorities on fighting climate change, conserving land and water, and protecting public health. The result of that effort is our 2017 New York State legislative…

NYLCVEF educational publications seek to help New Yorkers understand local environmental challenges and how they can be solved.

Last fall, we held a forum on Green Infrastructure in the Capital Region at Albany Law School. Today we’re excited to give you the first look at our just released recommendations that the Capital Region can follow to expand green infrastructure. Our key recommendations for executive offices at the municipal and county levels include: Implement…

Many of the biggest threats to environmental policy and funding in New York are coming from Washington, posing a significant challenge to local officials. Despite this, we see opportunity. New York’s congressional delegation includes leaders on both sides of the aisle who can play an important role in their respective caucuses in ensuring that New…

Children’s products sold in the United States are presumed to be safe by parents but recent studies have proven otherwise. Despite bipartisan support in the 2014 and 2015 state legislative sessions, the Child Safe Products Act failed to make it over the finish line. The bill would simply have identified and eliminated the most dangerous…

On October 9th, we kicked off our Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series with our forum on Green Infrastructure. Our panelists from a variety of government agencies and nonprofits discussed how the city can manage combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and use green infrastructure to mitigate flooding. New York City’s outdated infrastructure…

Our third and final forum in our Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series, focused on Organic Waste and Composting. Our panelists from a variety of organizations discussed different ways the city can make the most of composting and alternative methods on how to divert food waste from landfills. After the forum,…

Get Involved