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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

For 2023, Erie County's Community Climate Action Plan, which the EMC and its Community Climate Change Task Force played a major role in developing, serves as the EMS's Annual Recommendation Report.

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.

2024 Award Winners

The Erie County Environmental Management Council (EMC), an advisory board to the County on environmental issues, has announced its 2024 Environmental Excellence Award Winners:

This year’s winners are:

  • The Annual MLK Day of Service, a local project organized by the Monarch of Infinite Possibilities LLC, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, and the NAACP Buffalo Branch, focuses on improving the environment.  Over the past 4 years these organizations have grown the event from a handful of volunteers to hundreds of volunteers.  They have also increased partnerships, as well as expanded the number of sites and types of projects. Not only has this project improved the environment, it has also brought together the environmental organizations and groups on the East Side of Buffalo, strengthening relationships and building community.
  • The Frontier High School Elementary School Tree Project has been an annual program delivered for seventeen years by the school’s Ecology Club to teach the importance of trees through classroom-based presentations and a tree seedling distribution.  The project is sustained by fundraisers and with coaching from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County Master Gardener volunteers. The Club’s students prepare an education plan for teaching all classroom levels of elementary students about the benefits of trees and tree-planting and care, including hands-on experience by using skits, props, activity booklets, a seedling planting demonstration, and a coloring contest. Annually, Ecology Club students seek feedback to improve the program and to incorporate current environmental issues.
  • The Climate Connections for Buffalo’s East Side Youth Project led by the Omega Mentoring Program at Jonny B. Wiley Center builds relationships with organizations so that the students, as well as the mentors, can learn about opportunities to take climate action - both preparing for and working to reduce the impact of climate change.   In turn, the mentors and Just Buffalo Literary Center work with the students to synthesize this information and share it with the broader community. Sessions are held every other Monday evening during the school year to engage in programming, volunteer opportunities, writing projects, and tours that correlate to Erie County’s Community Climate Action Plan. 

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