Great Lakes Center awarded state grant for research on Gallagher


Andrew Kuczkowski/The Record

Gallagher Pier is located in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, which is supposed to get an overhaul of several specific areas in the near future.

Andrew David Kuczkowski, Associate News Editor

SUNY Buffalo State’s own Great Lakes Center was awarded a New York Sea Grant of $11,911 to research the problems Gallagher Pier faces at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.

The Great Lakes Center, or GLC, consists of researchers and educators at Buffalo State, according to its website.

“Many of our staff are full time research scientists or technicians while two are also professors with the Biology department,” its mission reads.

Previous reports posted by GLC include annual assessments of Great Lakes issues, what impact it had on the community, such as classes taught and programs held, and what its initiatives would be for the upcoming year.

Gallagher Pier, which is along Route 5 right before the Skyway if you’re heading toward Buffalo, has inconsistencies when it comes to water quality. In March, the E. coli levels were too high, while tests in 2014 and 2015 showed there were reports of high levels metals and pesticides, a Buffalo News article read. Swimming is considered dangerous while other water events such as canoeing are okay.

The importance of Gallagher Pier may not be pivotal to Buffalo, but if it is improved to a verified, swimmable beach, it only emphasizes the direction Buffalo is going.

“Well it’s our first time we’ve come down here, we just got kayaks,” Tim Lehr of Amherst said after kayaking at Gallagher Pier. “So we just went down and came back. We did about six miles. So it would be nicer to see a cleaner beach. Maybe even sand here or whatever for people to hang out here a little better.”

GLC’s goal is to find out why these issues are arising for the deterred beach near downtown.

“Great Lakes Center researchers will use recently developed culture-independent molecular analyses to compare the genetic signatures of bacteria from selected samples of water near Gallagher Pier to potential point-sources for pollution,” Buffalo State News and Events’ post read. “The two sites under investigation are a storm drain located 600 feet south of Gallagher Beach and a Ring-Billed Gull nesting colony site 3,800 feet southwest of the beach.”

This is a step forward for Congressman Brian Higgins, Buffalo State graduate of ’85, who’s been leading the cause to improve the pier.

GLC will first find the source of the problem, then continue on to developing a corrective plan. There was no time table for the publication of its findings.

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