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Watershed Management Plan

Regional Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan - Phase 3 Project

What is a watershed?

It is all of the land area that drains to one particular spot. Watch this quick video from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to learn more:

The New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) awarded Erie County $501,000 on behalf of the Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance (LEWPA) to create a Watershed Management Plan for the region that meets the nine minimum elements required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The project will run from 2020 through 2025 and is funded through the NYSDOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed is illustrated below.

watershed map

This project will synthesize existing water quality baseline monitoring data by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and LEWPA, modeling work completed by USGS, and stream visual assessments conducted by LEWPA throughout the watershed to determine where water quality issues are or where areas are in great shape and should be protected. This information will be used to create a Nine-Element Plan (9E Plan) for the Watershed.

A Watershed Advisory Committee has been developed to engage stakeholders and issue experts on this project. This team provides valuable feedback on the development of the Nine-Element Plan for the Niagara River/ Lake Erie Watershed.

Summary of the nine minimum elements to be included in watershed plans from NYSDEC website and status of 9E Plan planning efforts under this project:

  1. Identify and quantify sources of pollution in the watershed - LEWPA and USGS have conducted testing at 19 locations throughout the Watershed for nutrients, sediment, and bacteria as baseline monitoring.
  2. Identify water quality targets or goals and the pollutant reduction needed to achieve those goals - LEWPA will work with NYSDEC to assess the monitoring information and determine goals for waterways and desired pollutant reductions.
  3. Identify the best management practices (BMPs) that will help to achieve reductions needed to meet water quality goals - LEWPA will research BMPs and will work with stakeholders to recommend optimum BMP projects.
  4. Describe the financial and technical assistance needed to implement BMPs - LEWPA will work with stakeholders to estimate resources needed for proposed projects.
  5. Describe the outreach to stakeholders and how their input was incorporated and the role of stakeholders to implement the plan - LEWPA will create a Community Outreach Plan.
  6. Estimate a schedule to implement BMPs identified in plan - LEWPA will work with stakeholders to estimate a timeline.
  7. Describe the milestones and estimated time frames for the implementation of BMPs - LEWPA will work with stakeholders on developing milestones. 
  8. Identify the criteria that will be used to assess water quality improvement as the plan is implemented - LEWPA will work with stakeholders to identify criteria.
  9. Describe the monitoring plan that will collect water quality data need to measure water quality improvement based on criteria identified - LEWPA will work with stakeholders to identify or develop an ongoing monitoring plan.

Previous Project Phases:

Click for the Regional Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan - Phase 2 to find out more information on Phase 2 of the project.

For information on Phase 1 of the Watershed Management Plan, please visit Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper's Healthy Niagara website

This webpage was prepared with funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.