Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and U.S. Army Corps Buffalo District Commander Lt. Col. Adam Czekanski announced $4.6 million in federal funding for improvements along Buffalo’s outer harbor including breakwater repair and dredging.
“The potential for our waterways to serve a much larger role in this community’s environmental and economic health is dependent on continual maintenance and protection of the water,” said Congressman Higgins. “The professional team at the Army Corps Buffalo District continue to serve as the stewards of the Buffalo Harbor providing long-term stability and improvements to allow for the seamless flow of commerce and a growing recreational interest in the water and along the water’s edge.”
Lt. Col. Adam Czekanski, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District Commander said, “Harbor infrastructure requires continuous reinvestment in this region due to the extreme weather and lake conditions. I appreciate the strong advocacy of government representatives, especially Congressman Higgins, who have worked to secure funding to repair the Buffalo Harbor south breakwater this year. These repairs will enable safe and efficient navigation for an important asset for our region and the Great Lakes Navigation System.”
Four million dollars in federal funding will go to the South Breakwater for a construction project to restore the protective armor stone on the lakeside of the structure, helping to ensure that it fulfills its mission of protecting safe navigation in Buffalo Harbor for the next 120 years and beyond.
The South Breakwater in Buffalo Harbor is 10,200 feet long, and protects the southerly portion of the outer harbor, including commercial slips, the Small Boat harbor, and a private marina. Situated at the east end of Lake Erie, this breakwater is routinely exposed to the some of the most severe wave and ice conditions on the Great Lakes, and exhibits significant damage to the armor stone protection on the lake side.
The southern portion of this structure consists of a timber crib with a concrete cap and armor stone protection on the lakeside, and was originally constructed from 1898-1900. In the 117 years since construction the South Breakwater has been repaired several times to address damage from waves and ice, and settlement related to unfavorable foundation conditions. However, the period of major investment in repair of this structure concluded in the 1950’s, and only a small amount of work has been performed on it since then.
An additional $250,000 will allow for engineering and design work toward future North Breakwater repair and $350,000 will be provided for dredging. The Buffalo Harbor requires dredging every two years. This funding will support the removal of 135,000 cubic yards of material. In 2015 110,000 cubic yards of material was dredged out of the Buffalo Harbor.
Higgins pointed out this $4.6 million project brings total investment in Buffalo’s outer harbor over the last 9 years to over $120 million. Additional projects, Higgins helped secure, include:
- $825,000 Outer Harbor Ferry Landing (NYPA Settlement – 2016)
- $15 million for Buffalo Harbor State Park including a playground, picnic pavilions, improved breakwall with fishing platform (State Funds – 2015)
- $4.2 million for the Industrial Heritage Trail, Tifft Street Pier & Lake Kirsty Pier (Federal Funds – 2014)
- $3.3 million at Wilkeson Pointe (NYPA Settlement – 2013)
- $11 million U.S. Coast Guard Buffalo Sector (Federal Funds – 2013)
- $2 million at Union Ship Canal Promenade (Federal Funds – 2012)
- $1.4 million at Times Beach and Gallagher Beach (Federal Funds – 2012)
- $6.1 million public access project at the Coast Guard Property (Federal – 2011)
- $179,000 for Buffalo Lighthouse Restoration (NYPA Settlement – 2011)
- $9.2 million Ship Canal Commons (Federal/State/County/City – 2011)
- $60 million infrastructure project transforming a one-way and crumbling Fuhrmann Boulevard into the Buffalo Outer Harbor Parkway (Federal/State – 2010)
- $13.5 million for the Outer Harbor Greenbelt (Federal/State – 2008)
Buffalo Harbor is a critical Great Lakes harbor, with 5-year (2008-2012) average of 1.18M tons shipped/received. The Harbor generates approximately $50M/year in direct revenue and $18M/year in personal income.