Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Year-long study will focus on restoration of gorge from Falls to Lewiston

Year-long study will focus on restoration of gorge from Falls to Lewiston

That's the June 9, 2010 Niagara Gazette article link. Our residents and readers deserve to know "the rest of the story." The actual press release that was emailed to the newspaper is below. Please note the differences:

[1] The city of Niagara Falls, NY endorsed the project, not just the Mayor. New York State Parks and The Town of Lewiston also endorsed the project. The endorsement letters are on the Wild Ones Niagara website and in the Greenway Proposal.

[2] The emphasis in the Wild Ones Niagara press release was about information, cooperation, the economic benefits open space preservation, and working outside of the local political constraints.

[3] Wild Ones Niagara does advocate for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway, HOWEVER, this study is not about removing it. It's an ecological and economic evaluation by environmental research experts of what the Niagara Gorge Rim and what the Niagara River Greenway could be if the the area were ecologically restored.

Are there potential economic benefits for the region? Preliminary research conducted by Wild Ones Niagara revealed that it's absolutely feasible. In the billions, if done correctly. Again, the documents are on the Wild Ones Niagara website, under Advocacy. Why was that information omitted?

[4] The Wild Ones study will only offer suggestions for area municipalities, not enforce them. This was clearly stated in the phone conversation with the newspaper.

[5] The end result of the study is an interactive, "fly-over" media presentation so people could see the possibilities and realize what a jewel the Niagara River Greenway could become. That was left out of the  newspaper.

[6] The Wild Ones Niagara press release also states that history was made several times. That information was omitted in the article.

[7] It's also interesting how the newspaper left out the fact that Eastern Hospitality Advisors builds major chain hotels and has global associations in the hospitality industry.

[8] The article focused on the road, the Robert Moses Parkway. The Wild Ones Niagara project and press release focuses on the Niagara River Greenway Principals, Goals and Criteria as outlined in the Niagara River Greenway Plan.

The Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter of Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes (Wild Ones Niagara) has contracted Environmental Research and Design, PC (EDR),an environmental consulting and design firm with offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, to prepare an ecological restoration plan for the Niagara Gorge Rim area.

The restoration plan will identify the current imbalances within the ecological and man-made (built) environments and will recommend restoration projects to reinvigorate both the ecological and built communities in this area. The Restoration Plan recognizes that the natural and man-made environments are required components to a sustainable and vibrant community, which must be measured, managed, and put in balance with each other. To this end, the Restoration Plan will provide a natural resource-based approach to guide environmental and community restoration in this area.

The Restoration Plan area will cross multiple jurisdictional boundaries. The purpose of the Restoration Plan is to provide a unifying tool for bringing the multiple jurisdictions together through projects that work to achieve the following:

• To protect and restore the Gorge and Gorge Rim’s botanical uniqueness, significant wildlife habitat, and the watershed for future generations,

• To create riverfront access by breaking down physical boundaries between the adjacent neighborhoods and the Gorge Rim area,

• To improve the long-term economic outlook of the region through adjacent neighborhood revitalization, increased ecotourism, and Creative Tourism, and,

• To develop the means for telling the many compelling stories of our region: natural history,  geology, ecological and cultural history, hydroelectricity, civil engineering, industry, and

• To reestablish Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s vision for the waterfalls of Niagara and the gorge.

The Restoration Plan will identify specific projects that can be pursued by different entities within the area, such as: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York Department of Transportation, Niagara County, the City of Niagara Falls, the Village and Town of Lewiston, the New York Power Authority, Niagara University, and local neighborhood groups.

The fully-funded Wild Ones Niagara project created history within the Niagara River Greenway. Wild Ones Niagara bridged political constraints, opened municipal boundaries of co-operation, and obtained a major private investor with global associations in the Hospitality Industry, Eastern Hospitality Advisors (EHA), a construction management firm that builds hotels. EHA has a keen interest in the Niagara River Greenway and in preserving the natural landscapes of the Niagara Gorge Rim. The plan obtained the majority of its funding from the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee.

The City of Niagara Falls is the sponsor for this Niagara River Greenway project. The restoration plan received the mandated consistency determination from the Niagara River Greenway Commission in September 2009 and written endorsement from the Town of Lewiston Supervisor, Steve Reiter, and Mark Thomas, Western Director of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.<

Wild Ones Niagara is a member driven, educational advocacy organization committed to enhancing regional community efforts to establish or maintain natural areas. Chapters of Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes work with local schools, scout groups, and other organizations to create butterfly gardens, rainwater gardens, and other native plant projects. Wild Ones Niagara advocates establishing personal relationships with the natural world that invite native plants and wildlife back into our immediate lives.

EDR’s services include Landscape Architecture, Planning, Environmental Services, Engineering and Surveying. EDR is dedicated to having a profound, relevant effect on the environment while fulfilling end-user needs. Their methods incorporate all available historical, cultural, financial, and environmental resources into their designs while maintaining a hands-on respect for the land. EDR offers a variety of integrated disciplines to turn land use challenges into opportunities for lasting improvement to our living environment.

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