The Buffalo River currently has a “Class C” designation. According to NYSDEC, historically, the best use of the Buffalo River has been identified as “fishing, with waters suitable for fish propagation and survival.” In addition, “water quality shall be suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation, although other factors may limit the use for these purposes.” The stream classification of the Buffalo River continues to be debated within the Remedial Advisory Committee, as the actual river use (swimming, wading, fish consumption, etc.) is not reflected by the current designation.
溶解氧氣（DO）– the NYSDEC water quality standard for non-trout waters, such as the Buffalo River, is “the minimum daily average shall not be less than 5.0mg/L, and at no time shall the DO concentration be less than 4.0mg/L.” DO levels in the AOC are routinely less than 4.0mg/L particularly in the dredged portion. Low DO levels are detrimental to the survival of fish and wildlife populations.
Turbidity——NYSDEC標準“丙級”流“沒有crease that will cause a substantial visible contrast to natural conditions.” The Buffalo River is generally turbid due to the low flow rates and inputs from upstream sources and gets more so after storm events. High turbidity may result from increased sedimentation linked to the lack of vegetation and wetlands throughout the watershed. Shoreline vegetation and wetlands act as filters to reduce the amount of sediment entering the water from surface runoff and also help to prevent streambank erosion.
Heavy Metals– inactive hazardous waste sites and discharges from industrial wastewater treatment facilities have been linked to heavy metals in the water column. The metals of concern include arsenic, barium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, zinc, and cyanides.
Bacterial Contamination– even though there are no officially designated bathing beaches in the AOC, and no official impairment of BUI #10 – Beach Closings, primary and secondary contact with the River frequently occurs in the warm weather months. Fecal coliform continues to be a problem in the Buffalo River and have been linked to non-point sources in the upper watershed (from failing septic systems and stormwater runoff). Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) are point sources of fecal coliforms to the Buffalo River. There are 33 CSOs in the watershed that ultimately discharge into the River.
From the late 1800s through the chemical revolution of the 1940’s and 1950’s, industry boomed along the Buffalo River. One unintended consequence was the legacy of highly contaminated river sediment. The River was used as a water supply for industrial cooling, shipping, and waste disposal and the sediments became contaminated with numerous metals, pesticides, PCBs, PAHs, and industrial organic materials.
Since the Buffalo River is a navigable channel maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, navigational dredging occurs every two to three years. While this dredging activity removes some of the contaminated sediment from the center of the River, it also allows for the temporary re-suspension of contaminants into the water column and the exposure of the worst-contaminated “hot spots” adjacent to the navigation channel.
Writings by European missionaries and explores from the 1600’s describe the lower Buffalo River as an extensive marsh with temporary hunting and fishing camps built by native peoples along its shore. The area began to rapidly develop in the late 1700’s and the River provided a suitable spot to dispose of sanitary wastes. The Buffalo River was a small stream with intermittent flows during the summer that was just deep enough to float a canoe. The River originally spread out to form large cattail marshes at its mouth.
In 1820, the River was dredged to allow it to be used as the terminus of the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal was built and the industrialization of the River began. Grain elevators were built along the River and commerce spread up the river. A variety of small manufacturing enterprises were built along the River which was dredged wider, deeper, and further upstream. The wetlands that had surrounded the River and provided critical habitat were eliminated due to the dredging and development.
Hardening of the shoreline in much of the AOC has greatly limited the available habitat for upland wildlife. Attempts have been made in recent years to improve the quantity and quality of riparian habitat along the River. The Buffalo River Habitat Restoration Demonstration Project created four natural habitat parks on formerly industrialized land. These areas are now more hospitable to upland wildlife and waterfowl. Efforts are ongoing to acquire more land adjacent to the River to be used as wildlife habitat.
雖然人口可能在河裏改善，但魚的健康是值得懷疑的。NYS健康部目前有一個健康谘詢，建議由於PCB水平升高而建議從水牛河和港口吃鯉魚。常規發現水牛河的魚類患有腫瘤和其他異常。目前正在判斷來自河流的遊魚中的金屬和其他汙染物水平的魚類衛ld乐动体育官方网站生研究（Buffalo Niagara Waterkeer）正在進行中，結果應在2008年底公開提供結果。
Historically, land use adjacent to the AOC was largely industrial which did not provide suitable habitat for wildlife. As industries left the area and the land became vacant, vegetation grew and wildlife began to repopulate the area. No official survey has been done to determine the types and numbers of mammals in the area but deer, raccoons, and other small mammals are often observed. A recent study of birds performed by The Buffalo Ornithological Society identified over fifty species inhabiting the AOC. A survey of herpetological populations (i.e.: amphibians and reptiles) is currently underway to assess species richness and diversity along the River.
While fishing access points are available upstream of the AOC, there are limited places available within the designated AOC. The most frequented access points include CSO outfalls and rail bridges. As fish health and populations increase, additional access is needed for the public to adequately enjoy this natural resource.
- Seneca Bluffs自然棲息地修複項目
This 15 acre floodplain area was restored and passive recreation opportunities (such as fishing access and walking trails) for citizens were created. The site is located in the upstream edge of the AOC near Seneca Street.
- Bailey Avenue半島– this 3.8 acre site is located at the confluence of the Buffalo River and Cazenovia Creek. The area was predominately wooded and need little restoration. Public access was improved by upgrading the existing trail system and constructing a river overlook area.
- Smith Street
這個3.7英畝網站前傾倒了debris and automotives. Restoration activities included the construction of a backwater wetland, improving aquatic habitat, and planting of native vegetation. Public access was improved with the creation of a fishing overlook, nature trails, and a canoe docking area.
- Ohio Street Boat Launch
This parcel (approximately 2 acres) was developed as a launch area for The Buffalo River Urban Canoe Trail. The Habitat Restoration Project allowed for replanting of native vegetation and constructing public access facilities.
建立了水牛城城市獨木舟道指南，允許CAZENOVIA CREEK COMPOUNT到俄亥俄州街道橋的CANOE旅行。開發的發射站點是為了使訪問更容易，促進河流的使用，並且沿著StreamBank的標記對應於由NYSDEC開發的自行引導手冊。