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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.

2023 Award Winners

The Erie County Environmental Management Council (EMC), an advisory board to the County on environmental issues, has announced its 2023 Environmental Excellence Award Winners:

This year’s winners are:

  • Environmental Ambassador Summit. This Niagara River Greenway project created a program that funded student environmental projects from eight high schools, which were presented at its Environmental Ambassador Summit on February 9, 2023. The event allowed the high school students to discuss their projects with environmental professionals and learn about pathways to environmental careers. The resulting projects include wildlife habitat restoration, pollinator garden planting and maintenance, trail restoration, education initiatives, and community cleanups among others.
  • Plant the Future of Farming and other programs. These Providence Farm Collective programs supported community-rooted agriculture and food systems for under-resourced people in our community. Highlights included: supporting 22 farm groups in 2022, welcoming new farmers from the Ethiopian and Bangladeshi communities, launching of its own farmers market in the City of Buffalo, providing assistance to farmers in the procurement of culturally-relevant vegetables by the Buffalo Public Schools, and partnering on a Plant the Future of Farming campaign to protect prime farmland for these programs.
  • Refugee Women’s Workshop and other programs. These Stitch Buffalo programs reduce waste and increase reuse in the textile industry. Its work includes operating a drop-off donation site for textile materials which rescues 15,000 lbs of material annually, some of which are then used by its Refugee Women’s Workshop in their work creating handmade items for resale to our community, and by its Community Class program, which training to community members interested in textile arts. These programs provide refugee women with both social and economic empowerment.
  • Buffalo Freedom Gardens.Buffalo Freedom Gardens provides support and free materials to local residents in under-resourced neighborhoods to create home vegetable gardens, building urban food resiliency and supporting the availability of healthy locally-grown food in our community. The program has provided materials for about 50 raised garden beds to Buffalo residents annually for the last three years. The program lifts up the gardening and farming expertise of Black growers, including gardening and nutrition expertise, information about growing food and herbs, and resources for self-care and COVID safety.

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

08/18/2023 - 12:25 pm