As someone who enjoys kayaking and practicing yoga
on a standup paddleboard, Margaux Valenti’s passion
for clean waterways has a personal dimension.
The Buffalo River alone gives her plenty to work
with. On the state and local levels, Riverkeeper, based
in Buffalo, N.Y., focuses on habitat restoration, environmental
justice, and water quantity and quality. The
organization is implementing a $75 million project with
a public-private-nonprofit team at the state and federal
levels. The project will remove a million cubic yards of
contaminated sediment across six miles of river bottomlands
and restore more than two miles of riparian
habitat “to bring the Buffalo River from industrial and
poisonous to fishable, swimmable and open for recreation,”
says Valenti, a member of the New York bar.
With Riverkeeper, she helps gain access, through
contractual agreements, to private and public lands to
install restoration projects, and advises on land and
underwater land ownership. Valenti also conducts land
acquisition for conservation purposes, advises staff
on liability concerns and insurance requirements, and
tracks state and Great Lakes legislation and policy.
Riverkeeper is part of the international Waterkeeper
Alliance, which works to make waterways suitable for
drinking, fishing and swimming.