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restore the gorge

The Niagara Gorge is comprised of unique ecological communities and is one of the most biologically diverse places in the Great Lakes.

Unfortunately, the gorge is being overrun by non-native invasive plants species. To address this problem, the Land Conservancy is leading “Restore the Gorge” project, a multi-year effort done in collaboration with many partners to maintain and enhance the ecological diversity of the Niagara Gorge.

The Niagara Gorge is home to the majority of the plant species found in the Niagara Frontier, many of them very rare. It is also part of a globally significant Important Bird Area and the lower Niagara River rapids are important spawning ground for freshwater fish, including the threatened Lake Sturgeon. Unfortunately, the health of this sensitive environment can easily be harmed by many factors, especially the threat of exotic invasive plant species.

To fortify the gorge and restore its health, the Land  Conservancy will remove invasive plant species, and replace them with native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Funding from New York Sea Grant will allow us to improve the health of wetland seeps at the base of the gorge walls. These are some of the most diverse features in the gorge.

The Western New York Land Conservancy has received multiple grants to undertake this habitat restoration project in the Niagara Gorge from the Gorge Discovery Center to Devil’s Hole State Park.


This project is made possible thanks to funding from Phase II of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Economic Development Initiative, the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, Empire State Development’s Yahoo! Community Fund for Niagara County, a New York Sea Grant, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This habitat restoration project is a separate and distinct effort from the removal of the Niagara Scenic Parkway (formerly the Robert Moses Parkway) from Main Street to Findlay Drive, but the two projects are occurring at the same time.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul gave young oak saplings to the next generation of conservationists announcing an additional $949,598 Greenway Fund grant to continue the land conservancy’s efforts to restore the Niagara Gorge. 

From left to right: Former City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Assemblyman Mike Norris, Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, Congressman Brian Higgins, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Juanita Leone, Maia Gibbo-Riggi, Land Conservancy Conservation Director Marisa Riggi, Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith, NY State Parks Western District Director Mark Mistretta, Former Land Conservancy Conservation Project Manager Graham Tuttle, and Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Executive Director Sara Capan

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