Hyde Park Lake gets major shoreline restoration

NIAGARA FALL, N.Y. -- If you build it, they will come.

The popular movie line has been a mantra for the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper as they restored the shoreline on Hyde Park Lake. But instead of attracting phantom baseball players, the group hoped to attract wildlife to the Niagara Falls park.

Waterkeeper added 1,300 native plant species across more than 600 feet of the shoreline as a part of its living shorelines program.

"90 percent of all life in our lakes, rivers and streams, they all rely on a healthy edge and the health of our edges have been compromised. This is about creating nurseries for fish stalking environment for water fowl, but it also helps reduce nutrient loads, sediment loads, all entering our water body,” said Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Landscape Designer Charley Oddo.

While stopping erosion on the lake benefits the environment, officials say it adds to the aesthetics of the park.

"What we're trying to show here at Hyde Park is that you can have a top-flight recreational facility and offer all the amenities from rose gardens for wedding couples to bocce courts for our senior citizens and ice pavilions for those who like hockey and still have a very healthy ecology and a thriving water body right in the middle of the park,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

And the hope is the added environmental beauty will lead to a push for similar projects.

"Private landowners are going to want it, more parks are going to want it, golf courses are going to want it. It's going to be an asset and that's how you get real change by getting the overall acceptance of the entire community,” said Oddo.  

Waterkeeper says it is working on a similar restoration on Ellicott Creek that should be completed by early spring.

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