Dunkirk environmental efforts recognized

The Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative recognized the work of the city of Dunkirk on re-routing stormwater to engineered wetlands for Dunkirk beaches on Lake Erie. The city was one of two winning submissions of the Wege Small Cities Sustainability Best Practices Award, which recognizes meaningful projects that balance economic, social and environmental aspects of protecting water quality that could be used as a best practice inspiration for other cities.

In addition to being recognized as a winner of the Wege Award, the City of Dunkirk will also receive a $3,750 award.

“I am deeply honored and truly humbled to accept this prestigious award on behalf of our city’s initiatives towards coastal resiliency,” said Mayor Kate Wdowiasz, upon receiving the Wege Award. “This recognition serves as a testament to the tireless efforts of all the individuals who have dedicated themselves to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our beloved coastal communities.”

The city of Dunkirk partnered with the local conservation district and the Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance. A New York state-funded feasibility study found that re-routing stormwater into an engineered wetland in the unused area of the Dunkirk Harbor will capture and treat 122,000 gallons of untreated stormwater runoff at Main Street Beach and improve nearshore water quality.

This project offers a rare opportunity to restore a wetland ecosystem adjacent to the open water of Lake Erie and address flooding concerns at Wright Park Boulevard while also providing benefits to Wright Park’s bathing beach.

The Wege Small Cities Sustainability Best Practices Award was created to support and recognize small cities, with populations of under 100,000 and with limited resources, who demonstrate leadership in tackling water quality issues while ensuring economic vitality and social equity.

Submissions for the Wege Award are evaluated by Cities Initiative staff and reviewed by the organization’s board of directors. This year, two members of the Cities Initiative were selected for their exemplary projects to further improve the quality of freshwater resources for future generations: Dunkirk and the town of Lincoln, Ont.


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