Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Congressman Brian Higgins Announce New Seabin™ Technology at Buffalo Harbor State Park with the Council of the Great Lakes Region and NYS Parks


Grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to Fund Trash Traps Complements Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s Volunteer Cleanups and Solo Sweep Pledge Campaign for Western New Yorkers.

BUFFALO, NY –  Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Congressman Brian Higgins debuted new Seabin™ technology at Buffalo Harbor State Park on Saturday in partnership with the bi-national Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) on behalf of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup and with NYS Parks. 

The installation of these innovative trashing trapping devices at the water’s edge of Buffalo Harbor State Park is a new tool for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s efforts to prevent garbage from polluting our region’s waterways.       

Funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program to CGLR on behalf of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, a joint initiative of CGLR and Pollution Probe, Canada’s longest-standing environmental organization, the devices will complement Waterkeeper’s existing on-land and on-water cleanups, while allowing the organization to collect important data on the types of debris trapped, and engage volunteers in marine debris solutions. 

“Our sweeps and in-water cleanups have been very effective programs for us, inspiring volunteerism and removing large amounts of unhealthy and unsightly debris from our waterways,” explained Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka. “This project with the Council of the Great Lakes Region and New York State Parks will expand this water stewardship model and prevent even more trash and debris from reaching our beloved Great Lakes. We are grateful to our partners and to the NOAA Marine Debris program for its funding of the installation of the Seabin™ technology at Buffalo Harbor State Park.”  

Marine debris is threatening the Niagara River marine environment, which is shared by Canada and the US and encompasses the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the town of Fort Erie, the eastern edge of Lake Erie, the Niagara River Area of Concern, the Buffalo River Area of Concern, the western edge of the Erie Canal, land and water of cultural significance for the Haudenosaunee and descendants of African American freedom seekers, lake sturgeon spawning habitat, and a migratory bird route recognized as internationally important. In 2022, Waterkeeper collected nearly 20,000 pounds of trash in a single morning region-wide cleanup event from shorelines across the Niagara River Watershed. 

“We are excited to support the work of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and the Council of the Great Lakes Region to remove debris from our Great Lakes,” said Sarah Lowe, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “With the hard work from dedicated partners and cleanup volunteers, we can all help to protect our communities, waters, and wildlife from the impacts of marine debris.” 

“The Buffalo and Niagara Rivers were deemed Areas of Concern by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1987 following years of industrial pollution,” said Congressman Higgins. “While significant efforts have been undertaken to remediate and restore these waterways, pollution from marine debris remains a persistent issue. By engaging Western New Yorkers in community clean-ups and utilizing new tools and technologies to better eliminate sources of pollution, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is ensuring that efforts to maintain the health of the rivers and lakes, as well as our waterfront, continue long into the future.” 

“The opportunity to work with the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to expand the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup to the United States, thanks to funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, is an exciting partnership,” said Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region. “Through this new collaboration, we will be able to capture and clean-up more plastic litter in the Great Lakes, as well as educate coastal communities about how we can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle material waste.” 

“Any measures that can be taken to protect our waterways and shores are important steps in preserving our amazing waterfront. State Parks is grateful to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper for spearheading these important efforts,” said Mark V. Mistretta, Niagara Region Director for NYS Parks

The Solo Sweep program encourages Western New Yorkers to clean up the areas around our waterways and collect data that can be used to determine which types of trash are more prevalent to formulate better pollution prevention solutions in the future. The pledge and information on it can be found at https://bnwaterkeeper.org/solo-sweep/ and Solo Sweepers are encouraged to use the Ocean Conservancy CleanSwell app to collect data during their cleanups. During a Waterkeeper Volunteer Ambassador event at Buffalo Harbor State Park on Saturday, solo sweepers and Volunteer Ambassadors were able to witness the new Seabins in action to help with the prevention of waterway pollution.  

About Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper 

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is a community-based non-profit organization that protects and restores our waters and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. For over 30 years, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has been the guardian of Western New York’s fresh water, protecting clean water, restoring the health of ecosystems, connecting people to the water and inspiring sustainable economic growth and community engagement. For more information, visit www.bnwaterkeeper.org

About Council of the Great Lakes Region 

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a binational network of organizations comprised of: (1) the Council of the Great Lakes Region USA, an Ohio-based trade association; (2) the CGLR Foundation, an Ohio-based public charity; and the Council of the Great Lakes Region Canada, a not-for-profit corporation. Together, these organizations, collectively referred to as the Council of the Great Lakes Region, are leading a new era of economic growth, environmental protection, and individual well-being by building the region’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability today. For additional information, please visit https://councilgreatlakesregion.org/.

About the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup 

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, an initiative of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and Pollution Probe with support from a network of funders and collaborators, uses innovative plastic capture technology to quickly capture and remove plastics and other litter from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior and everywhere in between and is one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the world. Through research, outreach and education, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is gathering data on litter entering our waterways and identifying how government, industry, and consumers can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle material waste. To learn more, visit www.greatlakesplasticcleanup.org 

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