As the year comes to a close, we'd like to share the progress made by the staff and volunteers of Genesee RiverWatch to achieve our vision of a healthy and sustainable Genesee River ecosystem that is an environmental, recreational and economic asset for all generations. We invite you to read this newsletter, visit our website, attend an event and contribute in any way you choose. To those providing financial support for projects and events in 2017 – Thank You! 


Mike Haugh, President, Board of Directors
George Thomas, Executive Director 
Streambank Restoration
Mallards Dairy Streambank Restoration

Genesee RiverWatch has stabilized 900 linear feet of un-buffered agricultural field of Mallards Dairy, along the west bank of the Genesee River in the Town of Caneadea, New York. This restoration work will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding 900 feet of new riparian zone. This work was supported by a $101,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission along with a $46,000 match provided by Mallards Dairy. The “before” picture below shows the extent of the erosion. Grading, installation of rock and planting of grasses were completed in early October. Final planting work is planned for spring 2018. As of early November, the project has held up well in the face of heavy rainfall and high water over-topping the new rock barrier. The land owner is very happy with the project and eager to replicate it at his other properties on the river.
Mallards Dairy Streambank
Before Restoration
Mallards Dairy - After Restoration
Edelweiss Farms Streambank Restoration

Genesee RiverWatch has begun work on a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant of $250,288 to stabilize 1,800 feet of streambank near the Village of Fillmore, NY. Including $33,400 of in-kind work to be performed by the owner, the total project value is $283,688. We have begun preliminary work on the permits that we expect to be filed in January 2018.

We hope to complete major construction work in the spring of 2018 including the riparian buffer planting. On a site visit in November the team noticed that the recent high water levels eroded away 20 feet of farm field along this section of bank, confirming the need for this project.
Streambank Restoration Plan: Middle Genesee River Basin

Work has begun on the project funded by New York Sea Grant ($24, 805) to complete a streambank restoration plan for the Middle Genesee River Basin - extending north ( downstream) of Letchworth State Park to Avon, NY. We will determine segments that have significant bank erosion, identify restoration options, and prepare a plan document that details the cost and feasibility of a Middle Genesee River Streambank Restoration program.
The Genesee River Institute
The Genesee River Institute was conceived in 2016 with an objective to enhance public knowledge of the Genesee River and increase commitment to its future health and use through formal and informal environmental education and promotion of local research. A Collaborative consisting of Genesee RiverWatch, the City of Rochester, regional colleges and others with expertise in education and the river was formed to achieve that vision.
With a $20K grant from the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, work has begun. The Aquatic Educators Network has been formed with support from St. John Fisher College, Rochester City School 58 – World of Inquiry, Rochester Institute of Technology, Delta Environmental and the City of Rochester's Department of Environmental Services.  The Network consists of aquatic educators, teachers, administrators, and community groups that work as partners to increase stewardship of our regional aquatic ecosystems through formal and informal education. The Network will increase access to existing aquatic education programs by more diverse audiences and through new collaborations, build programs that address gaps. Our 5 th annual Genesee River Summit will convene in the Spring of 2018 and will focus on aquatic education. 
Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Awards 2017
Mallards Dairy, LLC - Charlie Bares, Owner
Genesee RiverWatch obtained funding from the Great Lakes Commission to restore 900 feet of severely eroded streambank in the Town of Caneadea but the project wouldn’t have been possible without the in-kind contribution of Mallards Dairy.  Charlie Bares and the Mallards Dairy team contributed $46,000 of skilled work associated with excavation, grading the slope, and placing stone, trees and seed. Thanks to Charlie’s commitment to and enthusiasm for this project it was successfully completed in mid-September. It represents a demonstration of the efficacy of applying bioengineering techniques in streambank restoration. Over ten years, this project will preserve 0.5 acres of farmland and prevent over 5,000 tons of sediment and over 1.5 tons of phosphorus from entering the river. The success of this first venture lays the groundwork for many future projects.
Delta Environmental - Kaeti Stoss, Program Director
An important part of the effort to improve water quality in the Genesee River Basin is increasing citizen awareness of the issues and providing education and outreach to those affected.
Delta Environmental has made a significant contribution for many years to water quality outreach and education. Their emphasis on hands-on programs has provided a multitude of students with a new appreciation for why the quality of our water resources is so vitally important.
Volunteer: Debbie Stein
Genesee RiverWatch has always relied upon the work of volunteers to make our various projects and programs successful. These volunteers are also critical to the performance of the daily operational tasks that allow our organization to function smoothly.
Debbie has been an active contributor to our Marketing, Summit Planning, and Bash Planning committees since 2014. In addition she has taken on several Operations Manager duties over the past few years. Her generosity and skill have been critical to the success of these programs and, in turn, to the growth of the Genesee RiverWatch initiative.
Volunteer: Mary Merner
Mary helped us develop and test a Citizen Water Quality Monitoring program to establish simple water quality test methods that average citizens can use to measure phosphorus and sediment concentrations in the Genesee River and its tributaries. She has been routinely collecting and analyzing samples at four locations in the watershed since 2016. Collecting and publishing Mary’s data, along with the data collected by other volunteers throughout the watershed will provide the public with a much better picture of the overall water quality of the Genesee River.
Volunteer: Jennifer Capezzuto
Jennifer, who is a CPA, has been supplying our financial bookkeeping needs since 2015. Her generous and skilled work has been an essential part of the foundation that has allowed Genesee RiverWatch to grow so rapidly.
In other news...
Report of the 4 th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit now available. 

Held on June 15, 2017, nearly 90 attendees discussed "River Access and Recreational Opportunities” in the Genesee River Basin. Presentations and discussions focused on the current state of river access and recreational use and the benefits associated with increasing these opportunities for our citizens and the local economy. A follow-up workshop will be held in the Spring of 2018. Meanwhile plans are developing for a Recreational Map for the Genesee River and new access sites to the River in the City of Rochester. Download the report here.
The 2nd Annual Genesee River Bash - A River Celebration was held on October 7th, 2017 at the Port of Rochester Terminal Building. With live music, entertainment, silent auction, good food and exhibitors, a fun evening was had by all. We saw a big increase in attendance this year and plan to continue growing the event. We hope you'll join us at our next Bash on September 29th, 2018.
Genesee Brew House Charities

Genesee RiverWatch will be the beneficiary of the 4 th Quarter Genesee Brew House Charities, an initiative of Genesee Brewery.  Under this program, the Brew House splits the proceeds of its Pilot Brewery Tasting Room with two non-profit organizations each quarter. Current plans envision using this year’s proceeds of the Brew House Charities, in combination with City of Rochester budgeted funds, to construct a canoe and kayak launch facility in the Lower Genesee River.
St. John Fisher Service Learning
Genesee RiverWatch is once again participating in St. John Fisher College’s Service Learning program, integrating service projects in academic courses to enhance student learning, teach civic responsibility and address community needs. This year we are working with: the analytical chemistry class to increase our store of water quality sample data; the New York State History class to look at upstate history through the lens of the Genesee River and its impact on regional development; and the Public Policy class to study the public’s perception and use of the river. The Public Policy students applied for and were awarded a grant from SJFC to purchase key equipment that will enable expansion of the Citizen water Quality Monitoring Program.
Recreational Map of the Genesee River
Would you like to see a Recreational Map of the Genesee River? We have one planned for 2018 and could use your help to reach our fundraising goal of $5000 to make it a reality!
Please consider a donation of
$25, $50 or $100.
Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors!