The Buffalo River is a recovering riparian system. Its history of heavy industrial discharge resulted in poor water quality and badly contaminated sediments. The river was considered biologically dead as recently as the early 1970’s (Buffalo Courier Express,1974) and it was designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) in the mid-1980’s (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), 1989). Impaired beneficial uses include degradation of benthos, fish tumors, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, degradation of fish and wildlife populations, the tainting of fish and wildlife flavor, and the presence of bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems. Combined sewer overflows and upstream pollutant inputs remain concerns, but historical sediment contamination and poor habitat opportunities persist as the major obstacles to recovery.