Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), Inc./Cecos International

Niagara Falls Facility,  Niagara Falls, New York   (Certified 1977)

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 J. Schmitt


Background related to subject matter:


Involvement with Wildlife Habitat Council program since 1995


Topics willing to speak about:


BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc./Cecos International) Niagara Falls site-related wildlife activities