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Erie County Parks portfolio grows with acreage acquisition at Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park

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Mon, Oct 31st 2016 06:00 pm

10 additional acres at site increases park size to 25 acres, adds green space and habitat value

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced the acquisition of an additional 10 acres to Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park, one of the county's three such parks along the Buffalo River.

Erie County received a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the entire $325,000 price to purchase the land from Nexgen II Development Co. LLC. This purchase complements the 2014 acquisition of the half-acre frontage parking area at the site that went on the market when a senior housing development planned for the site was not built due to community resistance. A grant from the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for $75,000 was awarded to Erie County for that purchase.

These acquisitions have resulted in Erie County owning the full 25-acres of natural green space in the South Buffalo urban neighborhood at 1677 Seneca St.

"Parks are a vital asset to any community, and I thank the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning for their focus on securing the state and federal grants necessary to making this acquisition," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "We are entrusted with preserving and maintaining natural spaces like Seneca Bluffs for future generations, and this growth is a good example of our shared commitment to do that."

"The addition of this natural parkland is a substantial and meaningful contribution to the community. The park will add habitat value and beneficial uses for both the neighborhood and for numerous other restoration projects occurring along the Buffalo River," said Thomas R. Hersey, Jr., commissioner of environment and planning. "Seneca Bluffs will be operated as a passive-use natural habitat park and will remain as green space forever. Additional funding will be sought to control invasive species throughout the newly acquired property, as well as for plantings and other improvements."

Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Daniel J. Rizzo added, "The Erie County Parks system offers 10,000 acres to explore, and residents can have great natural experiences in our parks all year long. With strategic acquisitions such as Seneca Bluffs, we can grow our parks system in areas like the city, bringing nature to the forefront in the community."

Earlier this month, Seneca Bluffs was closed to the public until 2017 due to construction of shoreline and habitat restorations. The construction is being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with funding awarded to them by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The project will restore over 3,000 linear feet of natural shoreline using bioengineering techniques to reduce shoreline erosion, create in-water structural habitat, and include intensive invasive species management while establishing a new native plant community.

The land acquisitions and shoreline improvements will revitalize fish and wildlife populations, while helping to restore healthy ecosystems in the Buffalo River and provide an enhanced experience for all Erie County residents.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/; or for more on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/.

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