Jill Jedlicka

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper
New York, United States

Jill Jedlicka is a Waterkeeper Warrior.

When it comes to the environment, it’s been said there’s no such thing as a permanent victory—it’s always on to the next war. This is what drives every Waterkeeper as they seek out the threats to their waterways… and fight for environmental justice for their communities.

Our friends at Culture Trip met Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Jill Jedlicka on the Niagara River… near Niagara Falls on the border of the U.S. and Canada. This river is just one of the waterways in Jill’s watershed, which also includes the Buffalo River and Lake Erie.

For decades, Jill has been fighting to repair waterways choked by a century’s worth of industrial pollution. To restore public access to local rivers and lakes. To lead a revival of her hometown waterfront.

In 2011, after ten years of battles, she had her first major win. Together with local, state, and federal agencies, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper spearheaded a hundred-million-dollar effort to clean up the heavily polluted Buffalo River. After that, they secured another twenty million-dollars more to restore habitat and improve water quality in their local waterways.

Today, Buffalo’s rivers and lakes are a vibrant source of recreation, a boon to the water-based economy, and a healthier resource for the people who call this city home.

But Jill knows her work is never done. Because the revitalization of an urban river is ongoing. She needs everyone’s help to defend what they fought to restore… to protect the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars… to fight the belief system that water issues are someone else’s problem.

Today, we celebrate Jill’s victories. Tomorrow, back to work.

Listen to Jill’s story:

Photographed by © Mark Schäfer, courtesy of Culture Trip, with story read by Rachael Harris

Waterkeeper Magazine

Learn more about Jill in the two-part 20th Anniversary edition of Waterkeeper Magazine.

Return to the full Waterkeeper Warriors gallery.