BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The U.S Army Corps of Engineers is launching a counter-offensive against invasive species of plants threatening the wildlife of Times Beach on Buffalo's outer harbor.
Times Beach contains more than 50 acres of protected marsh, mud flats, and forest areas where blue herons and some 240 other species of birds have been known to eat and recreate. Now however, the preserve is in danger from invasive species of plants that are swallowing up the area.
One such plant are called phragmites. They are taking over an area populated by cat tails. Phragmites have little nutritional value to birds and other animals.
Also of little value to animals who inhabit the beach is the mug wort which pushes out everything in its path, the buckthorn, whose berries have low nutritional values for birds, and the pretty, but useless Japanese Knot Weed.
Over $500,000 is being dedicated to the project.
South Buffalo Rep. Brian Higgins said, "We will pay for the mechanical and biological removal of invasive species, so that the native species can flourish again here."
"Fifity-three acres right here on downtown waterfront that we do not want to see go to waste. That's why we're here today," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
The Army Corp. of Engineers have already put out cages in the water cultivating plants native to the area to determine which native species can best flourish at Times Beach.
Army Corps project manager Craig Forgette said, "We want to plant a variety of native species that have higher nutritional values, and then the non-native species that aren't so good for the bird species, we're going to get rid of those."
At a ceremonial tree planting Wednesday, local dignitaries were joined by Cameron Smith, a Boy Scout from North Buffalo who earned his Eagle Award by clearing debris from Times Beach.
Smith's generation will reap the benefits of today's efforts, "Maybe 50 years from now I'll come back and I'll see those couple of trees that I planted right there," he said.
An eight-year-old boy was shot Thursday morning in Cattaraugus County. Officials are at the scene on West Road, in Leon.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Viewers sent in photos from the snowfall around Western New York.