Published on October 9th, 2014 | by GrowWNYAdmin


Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s “Rust to Blue Initiative” is part of the global HSBC Water Programme


The Buffalo Niagara region has become a focus of national and international leaders who recognize the socio-economic value of clean water for resilient communities.  The momentum continues with HSBC announcing its selection of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper as one of five U.S. partners in the HSBC Water Programme.  HSBC will invest $300,000 over the next two years into Riverkeeper for their “Rust to Blue Initiative,” which seeks to raise citizen awareness and engagement in water protection and restoration efforts.

“At a critical time in our region’s waterfront revitalization and Buffalo River restoration work, HSBC’s investment allows Riverkeeper to expand citizen, corporate and youth engagement programs for key water restoration initiatives,” said Jill Jedlicka, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director.  “We are honored to be recognized globally for our efforts and to become a part of a worldwide water program that is making the critical link between clean water and socio-economic growth.”

The announcement comes at a time when significant attention has been focused on the region’s water. Last week, the Great Lakes Commission convened in Buffalo for a meeting on one of the world’s largest initiatives on clean water, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, investing $3.2 billion in the Great Lakes. Commission leadership toured sites of Buffalo River restoration work, deemed one of the nation’s largest restoration success stories. In addition, last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper $4.7 million to continue Buffalo River shoreline and habitat restoration progress at Riverbend and six other sites.

“Building on the successful partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, HSBC will continue to provide support for fresh water initiatives in the Buffalo region with a total commitment of nearly USD$1m in partner support,” stated Ray Johnson, HSBC Vice President – Community Investment.  “It is an honor to contribute to the impactful work being accomplished by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and HSBC is excited to launch this partnership as part of the HSBC Water Programme.  As 20% of the Earth’s fresh water resides in the Great Lakes region, it is imperative we all work together to protect this critical natural resource.”

The HSBC Water Programme is a global program that mobilizes citizen scientists in various regions around the world.  The program includes the non-profit partners: Earthwatch, WaterAid, and World Wildlife Fund.  Funding to Riverkeeper will support citizen action programs that mobilize citizens to cleanup local waterways, provide educational opportunities for under privileged youth, connect people to local waterways through tours, and continue water quality testing.

Supporting the fourth largest economy in the world, the Great Lakes fresh water is increasingly recognized as a global asset as communities face issues on pollution, access, scarcity, and drought.  Recent success of the approximately $75 million Buffalo River restoration effort has strategically identified Buffalo as international water restoration model.  To continue the paradigm shift towards the value of clean water in a thriving economy, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Riverkeeper recently held a business roundtable to identify the strategies for enabling the region’s blue economy.

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper celebrates twenty five years of work that seeks to elevate community values for our water assets through habitat restoration, eco-tourism, support for sustainable business practices, and implementation of urban planning strategies that create resilient communities in the face of climate change.

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