Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), Inc./Cecos International
Niagara Falls Facility, Niagara Falls, New York
Peter J. Schmitt
5600 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Niagara Falls, New York 14304
(716) 282-2676 ext. 222
The Niagara Falls treatment, storage, and disposal
facility covers 385 acres within the Town of Niagara and the City of Niagara Falls.
The site has a diverse history of disposal activity since 1897. In 1995, the present
owners, Browning-Ferris Industries, began to explore opportunities to form a wildlife
program. Aided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, BFI pursued a long-range goal of
increasing biodiversity by planning to provide a stable yet diverse ecosystem. However,
the consideration for biodiversity still needed to stay within state and federal criteria
for closed landfill maintenance.
To develop this ecosystem, an employee volunteer
wildlife team chose a three-pronged approach that focused on site reforestation,
enhancements to caps and ponds, and improvement in the administration building area.
Activities included the placement of nest boxes for eastern bluebirds, planting of
wildflower and hummingbird gardens, and the introduction of native trees and shrubs to
develop riparian corridors. Closed facilities on site offered additional
opportunities. A change in the cap maintenance would allow the development of
meadowlands; however, this type of change would require establishing a working plan in
concert with the state regulatory agency. After contacting Ken Roblee, New York
State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) senior biologist, a modification
to the site permit was made to incorporate a cessation of all mowing on the caps until
after August 31st . This allowed time for ground nesting birds to breed and raise
their young undisturbed. This was initiated as a test program in 1996 to promote habitat
for seven target special interest species. In the first year of the program, three
of seven species (grasshopper sparrow, Savannah sparrow, and eastern meadowlark) were
observed by a professional birder (Chuck Rosenberg, Beak Consultants). The reduced
mowing program has been allowed to continue and has been expanded to incorporate a portion
of the sanitary closed caps. Additional options were incorporated during final cap
construction. One option was the inclusion of wildflower seed mix into a portion of
an area of remedial cap work which resulted in a wildflower meadow on a portion of the
cap. This colorful improvement may very well be considered as being a regular
part of the cap vegetation in the future.
The evolution of the wildlife program through the
organization of a volunteer team and implementation of habitat management programs has
resulted in measurable success at the Niagara Falls Facility. The team will
encourage more employees to participate in the program and pursue communication with local
educators to develop availability for their students. The team will also take steps to
ensure that the community is aware of its activities and purpose, thus demonstrating BFI's
commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.
For information about the Wildlife Habitat Council
Corporate Wildlife Habitat Certification/International Accreditation, contact Peter
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