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Fishing Boots
Mitigate & Adapt: Water & Soil

The Town of Aurora can protect water quality, soil heath, and prevent stream bank erosion by protecting forested lands, wetlands, and open space.  To that end the following are recommended:

 

Erie County's Hazard Mitigation Plan-

Green infrastructure strategies from Erie County include recommendations such as bioretention to collect stormwater runoff.  Bioretention is an adapted landscape feature that provides onsite storage and infiltration of collected stormwater runoff.  Stormwater runoff is directed from surfaces to a shallow depression that allows runoff to pond prior to infiltration in an area that is planted with water-tolerant vegetation.  As runoff accumulates, it will pond and slowly travel through a filter bed where it either infiltrates into the ground or is discharged via an underdrain. Small-scale bioretention areas are often referred to as rain gardens.

Healthy Niagara Watershed Management Plan-

The Healthy Niagara – Niagara River Watershed Management Plan Phase 1 (BNW, 2014) and Regional Niagara River Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan Phase 2 (Erie County, 2019) were authored by a collaborative effort between the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and the Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance (LEWPA). The Plans provide analysis in 25 Key Findings, as well as subsequent recommendations. The full list of recommendations can be viewed by clinking the button below

 

 

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper-  

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper staff and volunteers are known as "the guardians of our regional waterways." Their mission is to protect and restore our area's water resources and surrounding ecosystems.  They have classified the Town of Aurora as a critical location within the Niagara River Watershed, known as the "Headwaters Region".  Headwaters are the initial water source for a river or stream and serve as a filter for drinking water. The Town of Aurora's primary watershed sources are the main, west, and east branches of Cazenovia Creek, and Tannery Brook. Waterkeeper recommends the following strategies specifically for the Town of Aurora:

  • Explore funding sources for infrastructure replacement/expansion for both drinking water and sewage systems.

  • Maintain land conservation bordering Federal and State Wetlands and extend forest tracts that are not fragmented - a prime opportunity for land conservation through easements and/or acquisition in Emery Park and West Falls.

  • Develop restoration plans for severely failing banks to limit erosion and nutrient influx.

  • Engage with neighboring communities to develop a cross-municipal land conservation strategy to conserve shared resources (Holland, Elma, Wales, Village of East Aurora).​

  • Engage residents regarding septic maintenance to protect well water sources and ground water quality throughout Aurora.

  • Explore funding sources for living infrastructure and stormwater management.

  • Provide additional training for town employees performing road maintenance on Davis Rd and other roadways adjacent to waterways to prevent excess road salt runoff.

    Waterfront Landowner Outreach & Education.

    Elevated phosphorus and nitrate levels are present throughout Cazenovia Creek (all branches) in Aurora. Through targeted education and best management practices, nutrient runoff from farms and residential lands can be reduced.

  • Improve Fish Passage & Flow of Waterways. Improperly sized or placed culverts can impede the passage of fish and other wildlife through a stream. Culverts and other barriers can prevent these species from reaching food sources, spawning locations, or cold water habitats. 

  • Work to eliminate NYSDEC classified impassable barriers along the East and West Branches of Cazenovia Creek.

  • Explore solutions to erosion issues, beyond the use of rip-rap, with partner organizations including NYSDEC, USGS, and Erie County Soil and Water.

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper also lists the following examples of successful projects in the local Headwaters region:

 

  • Partnered with The Nature Conservancy and Erie County in 2015 to protect a 222-acre forest at the headwaters of Eighteenmile Creek (Concord, NY)

  • Partnered with US Fish & Wildlife Service site assessments to verify and update historical records of trout presence in the watershed.

  • Verfification that Brook Trout are present in Headwaters of Cazenovia Creek, upstream of Aurora. 

  • Culvert replacement completed in Orangeville with multiple partners including Waterkeeper .

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Source: Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper "Importance of Headwater Communities-Town of Aurora"

Town of Aurora Actions-  

The Town of Aurora recently invested in two critical culvert/bridge repairs that were compromised by repeated flooding of Tannery Brook in the Village of East Aurora.  Both culverts have been designed to accommodate larger volumes of water that could be expected during future severe storm events. 

  N. Grove St. - Before  

  N. Grove St. - After  

  Whaley St.- Before  

  Whaley St. - After  

  Whaley St. - After  

Open Space Protection in Our Town & Village

Protection of our forests and wild spaces combined with smart land use and planning,

may be the best approach for maintaining clean water and stable soils.

                         Kathy Bieler Mill Road Overlook

Located along the WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway, the Kathy Bieler Mill Road Scenic Overlook is one of the most picturesque locations in our region. The former 60 acres of farmland was preserved from development through a partnership between the Town of Aurora, the WNY Land Conservancy and the volunteer citizen group, Friends of Mill Road.  The Land Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property.

 

With 18 acres of mature forest, a dense Hemlock grove, an intermittent stream, a sedge marsh, and 30 acres of open meadow, this unique overlook is one of our town's most important natural areas.

 

Although there are no trails at the overlook, visitors can sit on the benches located next to a small parking area and enjoy viewing rare grassland bird species including nesting populations of bobolinks.  The overlook is located between Sweet and Blakeley Roads.

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Another open space gem, the 57 acre Owen's Falls Sanctuary,  is another open space success story in the Town of Aurora, courtesy of the WNY Land Conservancy. The sanctuary's hadwater forests, vernal pools, and wetlands provide a haven for rare wildlife and  thus improve water quality throughout our region. ​ The WNY Land Conservancy had less than a year to prevent this treasure from being lost to sale and development. The community rallied around this cause and the property is preserved for all time.  Cecil Jackson, one of the world-famous early Roycroft's earliest artisans, purchased the Owens Falls property more than 100 years ago. 

The Conservancy asks that visitors please respect the boundaries of the preserve and do not trespass onto neighboring properties. The parking lot for this 1.4-mile trail is located at 720 Center St. in the Village of East Aurora.​ No pets allowed! 

Town of Aurora Open Space Committee-

The mission of the Town's Open Space Committee is to inventory, evaluate, and prioritize the Town of Aurora’s open space resources & work with the community to develop and promote a plan for the protection of these resources. An Open Space Survey was completed between March and September of 2007. Some 326 surveys were completed and indicated that 86% of respondents favored protecting open space. Residents gave high priority to forests, woodlands and wildlife habitat, followed by stream corridors, wetlands, scenic views, and farmland. Using a 10-category ranking system, the committee identified parcels of open space land in the town with high natural resource value with priority for protection. Meetings with land owners have been held to answer questions about conservation easements and potential tax benefits for conservation easement donations. The Open Space Committee is working to update the existing Open Space Plan. (Pgs. 1-5) (Pgs. 6-10) (Pgs. 11-15) (Pgs. 16-20)

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The Village of East Aurora Tree Board's mission is to protect and improve East Aurora's Village trees, specifically along the streets and within parks and other public areas. They're on a mission to plant 10,000 new trees! The Board's tasks also encompass the following:

  1. Provide advice and consider tree-related issues as they arise in the Village.

  2. Participate in the National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program, including an Annual Arbor Day Celebration along with the East Aurora public schools. East Aurora has been designated as a Tree City USA since 1998!

  3. Educate tree board members, Village staff, Village leaders and members of the public about the value of community trees and their care. Tree Board members try to stay abreast of the most current research in urban forestry.

  4. Assist the EA Department of Public Works in maintaining the Village tree inventory, addressing yearly tree plantings, maintenance and removals.

  5. Help maintain adequate funding for Village forestry programs.

  6. Organize occasional programs and projects that protect and improve Village trees.

The Tree Board is available to answer any questions regarding trees and tree plantings in the community. You can email them at: EastAuroraTreeBoard@gmail.com.

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   Photo by Marty Wangelin, EA Advertiser   

Water & Soil: Challenges
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