Buffalo Green Infrastructure Rain Check 2.0

Buffalo Rain Check 2.0

The Next Generation of Green Infrastructure in Buffalo

Buffalo’s stormwater challenge is to protect its water resources and public health as its aging combined sewer network continues to collect and treat increasing amounts of rain and melting snow. Like many combined systems, combined sewer overflows in Buffalo Sewer’s system cause wastewater to flow into the region’s streams and rivers, and Lake Erie. Green infrastructure is part of Buffalo’s solution to manage runoff, improve waterways, increase resiliency, and enhance quality of life in the city.

evolveEA worked with an extensive team of local stakeholders and professional consultants for approximately a year to collect and analyze data for Rain Check 2.0. The report identifies potential green infrastructure projects to reduce runoff from over 500 acres of impervious surface, fulfilling Buffalo Sewer’s obligations under the federal Long Term Control Plan (LTCP).

Buffalo Sewer Authority has identified priority sewer basins where implementing green infrastructure will make the greatest contribution to achieving the LTCP goals, support existing planning efforts, and provide additional benefits to the community. Our in-depth report summarizes the preliminary effort to identify opportunities for green infrastructure on sites within the priority combined sewer overflow (CSO) basins and includes recommendations for how green infrastructure can be deployed throughout the City.

Rain Check 2.0 includes a tool kit of green infrastructure technologies that can be deployed in Buffalo and identifies various strategies for structuring green infrastructure to maximize stormwater, environmental, equity and economic benefits.

Successful green infrastructure requires a supportive culture in Buffalo — one that advocates for the implementation and maintenance of green infrastructure. Rain Check 2.0 also includes a robust strategy of engagement and a balancing of priorities to ensure that stormwater goals are met, and that the implementation of green infrastructure is informed by consideration of equity and the broader environmental context.

The work of Rain Check 2.0 confirmed that Buffalo Sewer can meet or exceed its stormwater goals in the priority CSO basins by employing green infrastructure. Meeting the goals requires investments in green infrastructure on both publicly-owned and privately-owned properties. Ongoing planning and outreach to identify partners, engage stakeholders, and build trust and shared values is critical to success. This Opportunity Report is a first step in that larger planning effort.

Rain Check 2.0 Goals:

  • Expand green infrastructure in Buffalo.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and protect public health.
  • Conduct rigorous, site specific analyses of feasibility and need.
  • Incorporate equity considerations as critical elements of green infrastructure decisionmaking.
  • Maximize economic, social and environmental benefits in implementing green infrastructure.
  • Educate and engage stakeholders on green infrastructure benefits and implementation.

Evolve EA