Environmental Management Council

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The Erie County Environmental Management Council (EMC) is an advisory board to the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning

The Council was established in the Erie County Charter in 1971 under Article 47 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.  Members of the Council represent many of the cities, towns, and villages within Erie County, as well as 12 at-large members from throughout the County. Their mission is two-fold:

1) Advise county government on local environmental concerns; and

2) Provide a liaison between the community and county government.

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The Erie County Environmental Management Council strives to effect environmental improvement within the inter-governmental system. EMC projects often take the form of studies that provide recommended courses of action of decision makers. Some of the highlighted accomplishments of the EMC include:

  • Provide a resource for both the County of Erie, New York Executive and the Erie County Legislature in their understanding and resolution of environmental issues which affect the residents of Erie County
  • Assisting the Western New York Stormwater Coalition in reaching out to inform and involve the public in assisting their municipalities in protecting and improving water quality in our waterbodies
  • Developing brochures and other educational materials to encourage citizen's and governmental agencies to eliminate or reduce the use of chemical pesticides in caring for their lawns and gardens
  • Helped co-sponsor, develop, and implement plans for public education efforts surrounding the 30th anniversary of Earth Day.
  • Played a principal role in the phosphate detergents ban legislation (1974 - 1975)
  • Lobbied for returnable container and deposit legislation
  • Developed and delivered a training program for local elected officials, code enforcement officers and municipal planners to help them better use the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) to mitigate and avoid environmental impacts in their communities.

Annual Recommendations Reports

The EMC Environmental Excellence Awards Program

Started in 2015, this program recognizes exceptional projects carried out by municipal and non-profit organizations in Erie County that stand to have a significant and lasting positive impact on the natural environment. The awards program is designed to showcase and promote projects that can be replicated in communities across Erie County and beyond.  Projects could be in the areas of Planning & Design, Land Use and Zoning, Natural Resource Protection, Air and Water Quality, Ecosystem Health, Energy and Transportation, Agriculture and Forestry, Solid Waste Management, Contaminated Sites, Community Action & Education, Climate Change or any other related subject area.  Application forms are released in January each year with applications due in early March and an award ceremony near Earth Day, at the end of April.

2022 Award Winners

The Erie County Environmental Management Council (EMC), an advisory board to the County on environmental issues, has announced its 2022 Environmental Excellence Award Winners:

“The Habitat Project” - This Black Rock Riverside Alliance project resulted in the certification of both the City of Buffalo and Erie County as National Wildlife Federation Wildlife (NWF) Habitats.  This work had a significant positive impact on ecosystem health, community action and education, as well as wildlife welfare. To date there are over 900 NWF Wildlife Habitats certified in Buffalo and Erie County, including parks, community gardens, private residences, schools, colleges and businesses. Erie County is now the 6th largest NWF Community Wildlife Habitat in the country and the largest in NY State.  http://brralliance.org/

“Grand Island Recreational Trail Network” – The Town of Grand Island has established a network of recreational On Street Bicycle Network, Multi–use Pedestrian Bicycle Trails, Hiking Trails, and River Paddle Course (Blueway Trails) to provide access to natural places. The result is about 30 miles of trails on land and about the same distance of the Blueway Trails on water. These trails also connect to national and international trail systems like the Bruce Trail in Canada, the Finger Lakes Conservation Trail and the statewide Erie Canalway Trail. https://cms5.revize.com/revize/grandislandny/Departments/Engineering/Grand%20Island%20Hiking-Blueway-Bikeway%20Map%2010-19-21%20FINAL%20Approved.pdf

“Pollution Prevention through Art” - The Buffalo Zoo, Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, and Buffalo Museum of Science were the main drivers of this two-year program that involved teacher development days held at the Buffalo Zoo about the negative impact plastic pollution and ways to create art using discarded single-use plastic. This led to 2,000 students in 40 schools creating works of art and writing narratives explaining the issue they were illustrating. Each year a jury selected pieces to be displayed at a month-long exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science.  https://www.solution2plasticpollution.com/

Learn about previous winners! 


Healthy Lawns

The EMC has a Healthy Lawns Campaign called "A Safe Home for the Gnomes".  Follow the link for details on how to reduce pesticide and other chemical inputs to your lawns and help make our community healthier.

Community Climate Change Task Force

The EMC established a Climate Change Task Force in 2019 to address this pressing issue.  The Task Force was recognized by County Executive Mark Poloncarz in Executive Order 20.

EMC Community Climate Change Task Force Members



Natural Places of Erie County was produced by the Environmental Management Council and others.

This fold-out brochure includes a map of 44 of the County's natural places and a grid showing the amenities of each location.

Additional Information

For copies of the meeting minutes, upcoming agendas, or other information, please email Josh Wilson at Peter.Wilson@erie.gov

04/27/2022 - 12:12 pm