Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER® is a community-based organization dedicated to protecting the quality and quantity of water, while connecting people to water. We do this by cleaning up pollution from our waterways, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, and enhancing public access through greenways that expand parks and open space.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is a non-profit leading a regional transformation from a rust belt region to a blue economy, showcasing an international restoration model for the Great Lakes. For over 25 years, Riverkeeper has brought together multiple partners, community leaders and other non-profits to advance solutions for complex environmental problems. We currently have twenty-one professionals working in over 40 program areas based out of our offices at 1250 Niagara Street. Download program overview brochure.
In 1989, the New York State Department of Environmental Concern (NYSDEC) completed the first Buffalo River Remedial Action Plan (RAP). That same year, concerned citizens formed “The Friends of the Buffalo River”, a group focused on the environmental health of the Buffalo River – one of the 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs). The group worked throughout the 1990’s protecting areas along the river from conversion to industrial use and collaborating on three habitat restoration projects along the river.
In 2000, the group expanded its mission to include the Niagara River, and a year later hired its first paid employee a year later. In 2003, Friends of the Buffalo and Niagara River (FBNR) became the first nonprofit organization in the Great Lakes Basin to receive funding and authority from the USEPA to coordinate and manage the implementation of a RAP.
By mid-decade, FBNR became a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance and changed its name to Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER. Over the next five years, RIVERKEEPER:
- Became the first non-profit to sign a Great Lakes Legacy Act Project Agreement with the USEPA-GLNPO in the upper Buffalo River
- Signed a $3 million Great Lakes Legacy Act project agreement with USEPA-GLNPO and Honeywell
- Was awarded $1.9 million of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants
- Began various projects in partnership with the Buffalo Sewer Authority
- Moved into new office space at 1250 Niagara Street
- Began a rain barrel and River Tours program
RIVERKEEPER has since grown into an organization with 21 employees, a budget of $2.8 million, and a wide supporter base in the Buffalo-Niagara community. Riverkeeper is a science-based, community focused, advocacy organization in Western New York dedicated to protecting and restoring the quality and quantity of our most valuable natural asset, our water.