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Army Corps project will reshape Unity Island

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Unity Island in the Niagara River is going to look a little different, as the Army Corps of Engineers does major bottom dredging in the Buffalo River and the city Ship Canal. The plan calls for 200,000 cubic yards of material to be taken out of the waterways.

One-third of that material will be hauled to Unity Island and dumped on the land to fill some low spots and turn the North Pond into a breeding area for fish by creating an artificial waterway to the Niagara River, hat according to Project Manager George Sunny.

"Our project allows us to use a wide range of native species. It's really going to depend on what works well during the first couple years," said Sunny of the $3 million project, which is slated for completion in 2020. 

"We're going to be using two different types of vegetation. One type is submerged aquatic vegetation, that will fit best inside the water and then there will be additional emergent vegetation and that will be in the areas in either shallow water or on the land."

Sunny says the submerged plants will feed fish and help keep creek banks in place. The soil from the river bottom will arrive in the last three months of the year as contractors dredge the waterways.

Of the $3 million dollar cost, about two-thirds is coming from the Army Corps and the rest from the city and the Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Fund.