Niagara Gazette — Once the amounts representing salt water, polluted water, ice and the amount trapped in plant life or buried too deep to collect were discounted, there was barely a drop left in the glass to drink; a poignant illustration easily understood by all and highlighted again this week in Buffalo as local politicians and environmentalists gathered on the Central Wharf to debate the value of the $44 million dollar Buffalo River’s remediation project which is now being threatened by a proposed 80 percent cut in Great Lakes cleanup fund by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Declared “biologically dead” by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1968, the river is beginning to recover as the result of the removal of a million cubic yards of contaminated sediment according to Congressman Higgins who also claims that “the river will be swimmable in five years and the fish caught there suitable for consumption.”
Niagara’s wastewater catastrophe and the Buffalo River project are both part of the same ecosystem and should serve as fair warning to the entire Great Lakes community in particular, and to New York state and the rest of the planet in general; climate change is real.
One exhaustive study on the subject by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region “explores the potential consequences of climate change, good and bad, for the character, economy, and environment of the Great Lakes region during the coming century. It also examines actions that can be taken now to help forestall many of the most severe consequences of climate change for North America’s heartland”.
Bragging that the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada “is a land of striking glacial legacies: spectacular lakes, vast wetlands, fertile southern soils, and rugged northern terrain forested in spruce and fir” the study also recognizes that the Region is “home to 60 million people whose actions can profoundly affect the region’s ecological bounty and the life-sustaining benefits it provides” the study concludes that there is sufficient evidence that the region is already changing: