It has been a busy spring and summer for Genesee RiverWatch staff and volunteers including our annual Summit, tree planting and on-the-river cruises and paddles.
We have also been actively planning for next year with initiatives that include streambank restoration, on-the river events and a recreational map of the River. We invite you to take a few minutes and learn more about the work of Genesee RiverWatch. As always, feel free to contact us about anything river-related and how you might get involved.


Mike Haugh, President, Board of Directors
George Thomas, Executive Director
Fall On-the-River Paddle Event
Genesee Waterways and Genesee RiverWatch are hosting our last canoe/kayak event of the season on October 5th, 2019. This paddle will explore the Lower River, launching from Seth Green. Canoes and kayaks are provided. Learn more at the Genesee Waterways Events page.
River Access: Petten Street Cartop Boating Dock Coming Soon
Genesee RiverWatch is working with the City of Rochester to provide a new access point to the River. Construction is underway for a cartop boating launch point on the Lower River at the foot of Petten Street just south of the O’Rourke Bridge. The new dock will allow kayakers and canoeists to launch their boats out of the way of the powerboat wakes and lake swells prevalent north of the bridge. It will replace the current, informal, riverbank site that requires boaters to wade into the river from a Brownfield area. The dock will be fully ADA compliant and will include a transfer bench and slide rails allowing disabled rowers to enter and exit their boats.
Using the new dock, recreational boaters can paddle upriver to Turning Point Park, Seth Green Island and Lower Falls; exploring the Genesee’s “wilderness in the city” – an area that can only be fully appreciated from a boat. The rapidly expanding Waterways Center/Genesee RiverWatch program of Lower River guided paddles will have a proper facility to end their Seth Green-to-harbor trips. In the longer run, aquatic education students and potential canoe/kayak races will have a dedicated dock available for launching and recovering boats.
With engineering work almost complete, the City will shortly request bids for the dock itself. We expect to schedule an opening ceremony at the beginning of boating season next spring.
In addition to budgeted City funds, Genesee Brewery, RG&E, and several individual donors have contributed sizable grants to the development of this valuable regional asset. 
Canoe/Kayak Access Map for Genesee River Basin
Genesee RiverWatch is partnering with the Genesee Valley Conservancy and Genesee River Wilds to update the Genesee River Blueway Trail Map, originally developed by Genesee River Wilds and the Genesee Valley Conservancy. We have received a $25,000 grant from New York Sea Grant to develop, print and distribute the updated map. Along with detailing current river access locations for canoeists and kayakers, the map will incorporate tourism and cultural information. 
Our plan is to:
  • Conduct forums with stakeholders and citizens to solicit feedback and input on existing river access sites that need improvement and possible locations for new sites;
  • Use aerial imaging, GIS, work of others, and site visits to identify the sections of the river that could support new or improved access to create a prioritized list of sites for new and improved access;
  • Determine the type of information to be included on the map versus information that can be accessed via QR code on the map, collect necessary information, create a website or webpage on an existing site to house the information and allow ready updates and additions.
  • Print and distribute the map. Design, fabricate, and install map holders/signage for each access point.

We expect this work to be completed in time for the 2020 boating season.
Report of the 6th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit
Genesee RiverWatch hosted its 6th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit on May 7, 2019. The Summit topic was "A Report to the Community". Regional experts provided updates on initiatives to improve water quality and connect people to the River. Topics included Reporting and Planning; Access and Recreation; Restoration; and Outreach and Education.

We had 105 attendees including 19 presenters representing a wide variety of Genesee River basin stakeholders. They were impressed with the breadth and variety of projects and initiatives being pursued in the basin to improve water quality and use of the river. Several people said they also appreciated hearing from such a diverse group of presenters.
Attendees expressed interest in future workhops on streambank restoration and river access; and in hearing from a panel of elected officials.

The presentations are posted on the Genesee RiverWatch website here .
Streambank Restoration
edelweis 2018
Edelweiss Farms Streambank Restoration Complete

The work to stabilize 1,980 feet of streambank near the Village of Fillmore, NY is complete. This $284K project was supported by a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The first picture shows the extent of erosion along the riverbank prior to restoration. The project stabilized the bank and established a riparian buffer. As a result of this effort, .67 acres of valuable farmland will be preserved annually and 192 tons of sediment will no longer have to be dredged from the river each year.
Thank you to all the volunteers who came to plant trees on two Saturdays in June!
Streambank Restoration – Town of Houghton, NY
Genesee RiverWatch has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission to stabilize 1,800 linear feet of un-buffered agricultural field along the Genesee River in the town of Houghton, New York. This restoration will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding 1,800 feet of new riparian zone and protecting valuable farmland. The landowner has lost appromimately 2.6 acres of land over the last ten years. This project will emphasize the use of bioengineering techniques and habitat enhancement that incorporates plants in combination with natural materials such as logs, live stakes (e.g., cuttings from species like willow), and brush bundles (i.e., branches from live woody plants). This approach creates a natural appearance and habitat for fish and wildlife. Bioengineering designs can lead to long-term stabilization of a shoreline, reducing the need for future work.

Streambank Restoration – Town of Angelica, NY
Genesee RiverWatch has begun work on its part of a US Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) project to restore a 3,200 foot section on eroded Genesee River bank in the Town of Angelica, NY. USF&WS is responsible for the design and construction of the project while Genesee RiverWatch will secure the necessary environmental permits and design/install the riparian buffer. Work on the permitting has begun. We anticipate construction to begin in the last half of 2020 using bio-engineering techniques over rock riprap to stabilize the river bank.
On the River with Genesee RiverWatch
Genesee RiverWatch hosted two River cruises into the Lower River Gorge this summer on the Harbor Town Belle. Attendees enjoyed the River, and learned about its flora, fauna and history from local experts Tom Snyder of the Seneca Park Zoo and Tom Brewer from the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Society. Thanks to all who came onboard! We plan to schedule more cruises for the 2020 season.
Educational Outreach
 Genesee RiverWatch has developed several educational programs with the objective to enhance public knowledge of the Genesee River and increase commitment to its future health and use through formal and informal environmental education. This work includes the development of the Aquatic Education Network of teachers, student classroom sessions, and teacher professional development. Through the generosity of individual donors we have continued these programs in 2019 as described below:
  • Aquatic Educators Network – AEN meetings were held on March 29 and September 27, 2019 at the Genesee Waterways Center. The September meeting included some canoeing on the river for those interested. These sessions are opportunities for educators to share ideas, best practices and plans for upcoming activities.

  • Teacher Professional Development – We held a 2-day session in late August at the Genesee Waterways Center (canoeing included) and the Port of Rochester (nature hike along the river included). These sessions gave teachers the opportunity to learn more about the river and discuss ways to impart this knowledge to their students.

  • Classroom Sessions – Events are in the planning stages for later this year or early next year.
Your Support Is Needed!
Would you like to join in our work of protecting and celebrating the River? You can...with a monetary or "in-kind" donation or by volunteering in one of our projects. At every level, your support helps to make the work of Genesee RiverWatch possible! At the $50 "Contributing" level or more, first time donors receive a Genesee RiverWatch hat.

Just click on the button below to be taken to the sign-up page.
Thank you to our Supporters!
Genesee River Basin - $2,000 or more level
  • CEI Shirley Sherman Fund
  • City of Rochester
  • Danielle Ponder
  • Genesee Brewery
  • RG&E

Main Stem - $1,000 or more level
  • American Dairy Association
  • Black Murphy Fund
  • Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care
  • Elizabeth Thorndike
  • Gilbert K. (Ken) McCurdy
  • Hose 22 Firehouse Grill
  • Jetty at the Port
  • Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Nobelhurst Farms
  • Om Popli
  • Presentation Source
  • Stantec
  • U of R Environmental Health Sciences Center
  • William Hallahan
Letchworth - $500 or more level
  • Brad VanAuken
  • Charlie Valeska
  • Georgiana Prince
  • Golisano Institute for Sustainability
  • Jennifer Capezzuto, CPA
  • Jerry Bertoldo
  • Joseph & Joyce Makarewicz
  • Knauf & Shaw LLP
  • LaBella Associates
  • Mike & Bonnie Haugh
  • Pathfinder Engineers & Architects
  • Peter Lent
  • RIT Environmental Science Program
  • Terry Schmitz
  • Wegmans Food Markets

Tributary - $250 or more level
  • Anne & Jack Stocum
  • Anonymous
  • Century Liquor
  • Chetna & Abdhas Chandrakala
  • Larsen Engineers
  • Lee & Marci Loomis
  • Matrix Environmental Technologies
  • Paradigm Environmental Services
  • Ruth I. Morton Fund
  • SWBR Architects
  • TelTru Manufacturing/GS Plastic Optics
  • Underberg & Kessler