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Earth Day sees more than 15 tons of litter cleaned up on local shorelines


BUFFALO -- Spring cleaning was in full-effect on Saturday -- Earth Day -- as over 2,000 Western New Yorkers participated in tidying up the shorelines across Erie and Niagara County for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper's annual Spring Shoreline Sweep.

The event targeted 40 shoreline sites in need of stewardship and litter removal throughout Erie and
Niagara counties.

In one day, over 2000 volunteers successfully removed more than 15 tons of litter from local waterways. At a media event overlooking Hoyt Lake, a strong attendance of local Elected Officials and WNY leaders welcomed volunteers to the park and thanked them for participating in the event including, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka, Congressman Brian Higgins, Senator Timothy Kennedy, Senator Chris Jacobs, Assemblyman Sean Ryan, Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, Delaware District Common Council Member Joel Feroleto, Olmsted Parks Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt, and Buffalo Sewer Authority's Green Program Director Julie O'Neill.

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka said, "Riverkeeper is overwhelmed by the record-setting level of volunteerism from thousands of residents in Western New York who care about water quality in our community. This event not only encourages folks to get up close and personal with their regional waterways, but just a few hours of work results in major improvements to our local environment. Over six months of intense planning and coordination is needed to prepare for this annual event, and we are grateful to our numerous sponsors and the over 2,000 citizens who are supporting this year's Shoreline Sweep."

Congressman Brian Higgins said "Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper leads by example in stewardship of Western New York waterways and greenspace. This Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on the environmental progress made in recent decades and the great deal of work still ahead of us. We applaud each and every volunteer for recognizing the unique role we all can play in making the world around us a better place."

Senator Timothy Kennedy added "The spirit of the City of Good Neighbors is truly reflected in today's event. With thousands of volunteers joining today's Spring Shoreline Sweep, it's clear that Western New Yorkers are dedicated to protecting our environment and our waterways. I thank Riverkeeper for not only leading this important event, but leading a greater conversation about the preservation and restoration of our most valuable resources."

Senator Chris Jacobs said "Shoreline Sweep is another great initiative from the Buffalo Niagara
Riverkeeper that has a tremendous impact on the 40 shorelines targeted for cleanup and I'm proud to be a part of it. Our waterways and shorelines are some of our greatest natural assets and resources, and I am extremely pleased that so many citizens whose quality of life is enriched by them chose to participate and help again this year."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said "I thank the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper for continuing their great tradition of the Shoreline Sweep. On this Earth Day, this important event is not only a hands-on experience to improve our local waterways, but also a reminder of the importance of protecting and preserving them."

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke said "The people of Erie County are committed to protecting
our lakes, rivers, and streams. We know how fortunate we are to be a part of the Great Lakes
community, and we will collectively ensure its long term viability. The level of volunteerism on this day is a testament to our region's commitment and also to the hard work done by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director, Jill Jedlicka and her outstanding staff."

Delaware District Common Council Member Joel Feroleto said "I was happy to have my office participate in the clean-up at Hoyt Lake, last year.  I couldn't be prouder to again stand among Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper as we target forty shoreline sites this year.  I applaud the remarkable amount of time and effort put forth by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper that is required for such a successful event."

Following the Spring Shoreline Sweep, community members attended a Volunteer Appreciation Party, hosted at Lakeward Spirits. Volunteers enjoyed live music, light snacks, Lakeward beverages at one of the Buffalo River corridor's newest hotspots in the Old First Ward.

The Spring Shoreline Sweep is made possible by support from Honeywell International Inc., Lakeward Spirits, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Labatt USA, Royal Bank of Canada, Key Bank, Dunn Tire, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Corr Distributor, and Praxair. Support of outreach and educations efforts is provided by the Buffalo Sewer Authority.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organizes the largest single day Shoreline Sweep in Western New York. Thanks to thousands of community members who continue to give back to the community at this event. The Sweep impacts over 40 waterfront sites throughout Western New York by removing over 15 tons of litter from shorelines. This direct form of citizen action reconnects the public with our local waterways, increases awareness and encourages long term stewardship activities.