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The final phase of environmental dredging of the Buffalo River begins this week, to complete the removal of close to 1 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the river bottom, left over from the waterway’s industrial past. According to Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the cleanup is one of the largest of its kind nationally and a key part of building Buffalo’s “blue economy.”

Riverkeeper is part of the Buffalo River Restoration Partnership, which also includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Honeywell, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dredging cost of $22.7 million is being shared by Honeywell and the EPA.

Barges will travel up and down the river as the dredging continues around the clock through December, and river users are asked to use caution when navigating around them. According to Riverkeeper, the restoration will conclude in 2015 with capping of sediments in the City Ship Canal and habitat restoration along the shoreline.

More information and updates on the project can be found at www.BuffaloRiverRestoration.org.