In the first half of 2018, the staff and volunteers of Genesee RiverWatch have been busy working to achieve our vision of a healthy and sustainable Genesee River ecosystem. From educational outreach to tree planting a lot has already happened in 2018. We invite you to read this newsletter, visit our website, attend an event and contribute in any way you choose. 


Mike Haugh, President, Board of Directors
George Thomas, Executive Director 
Educational Outreach
The 5 th annual Genesee River Basin Summit was held at the Port of Rochester on March 24 th . The topic was “Stewardship Through Environmental Education”. Genesee RiverWatch's Aquatic Educators Network organized the event. Approximately 100 educators, river stakeholders and exhibitors attended. The Summit topic was a natural outgrowth of The Genesee River Institute - 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 is working to achieve that vision.
In addition, Genesee RiverWatch hosted a Water Quality Student Workshop on May 29 th , in Genesee Valley Park. The workshop brought together students from Rochester City School District’s World of Inquiry School and Allendale Columbia School. About 40 environmental science students evaluated factors that affected water quality and left with a better understanding of the local watershed and what they can do to improve the health of this natural resource. This Student Workshop was the pilot session for an on-going aquatic education program designed for Rochester's primary and secondary level students.

Funding for educational outreach has been supported by a $20K grant from the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute. Going forward, we are seeking funding that will allow the Genesee River Institute to being a full schedule of classes.
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. On May 19th, over 60 volunteers completed this work with the planting of nearly 1000 trees. This restoration work will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding 900 feet of new riparian zone and saving valuable agricultural land. The 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.
Mallards Dairy Streambank
Before Restoration
Mallards Dairy - After Restoration
Edelweiss Farms Streambank Restoration

Genesee RiverWatch is working 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. Significant erosion and loss of 2 acres of farmland since the fall of 2017 prompted a redesign of the project. The goal is to complete the major construction work prior to the end of the 2018 growing season.
Streambank Restoration Workshop: Middle Genesee River Basin

A workshop on “Streambank Restoration in the Middle Genesee River Basin” was held on March 28th at the Mt. Morris Dam Visitor Center. About 55 people attended with representation from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Army Corps of Engineers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and farming communities. Many comments and suggestions were made in breakout sessions focused on tributaries, gullies and the Genesee main stem. There was a great deal of interest in work that can be done in smaller projects and by private farmers.

This workshop is part of a 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.
Call for Nominations
Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Awards 2018
Seeking Nominations for Annual Awards

Genesee RiverWatch is seeking nominations for the annual Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Excellence Awards. The Awards recognize individuals, organizations and projects that have made significant contributions to the Genesee RiverWatch Mission. The awards will be presented at the Genesee River Bash on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

The award categories are:
  • Individual(s) or organization(s) whose work has been influential in mobilizing stakeholders to improve the water quality of the Genesee River Basin and its tributaries to create environmental, recreational and economic assets for its communities and connect people to the river, and encourage them to explore, experience and celebrate the river.
  • Significant project(s) or event(s) that have contributed to improving the water quality of the Genesee River and its tributaries to create environmental, recreational and economic assets for its communities and connecting people to the river, and encouraging them to explore, experience and celebrate the river. (Nominators must provide specific and quantifiable results of these projects or events.)
  • Individual(s) whose volunteer work on behalf of Genesee RiverWatch has significantly aided Genesee RiverWatch in its Mission.
The Nomination Form can be found here . Email your nomination no later than August 15th, 2018 to: George Thomas .
If you have questions regarding the nomination process, call the Genesee River Watch event staff at (585) 233-6086
In other news...
2017 Annual Report
In case you missed it, we invite you to take a look at our first Annual Report and learn more about our work to "Celebrate and Protect the Genesee River".
Recreational Map of the Genesee River
The first version of the Recreational Map of the Genesee River has been developed by the Genesee Valley Conservancy and Genesee River Wilds with support from Genesee RiverWatch and is close to publication. Planning is already underway for version 2. Stay tuned!

River Access
Genesee RiverWatch is working with the City of Rochester to develop an improved car top boating access site at the end of Petten Street, just upstream of the O’Rourke Bridge. This site will allow paddlers to avoid conflicts with power boats and stay out of hazardous wakes and lake swells further downstream. Funding for the project is coming from the City and a generous donation to RiverWatch from Genesee Brewery.”

Paddling on the River
On July 11 th , 14 paddlers enjoyed an evening on the Lower River organized by the City of Rochester and Genesee Waterways. Representatives from Seneca Park Zoo and Genesee RiverWatch provided background or the river’s history and natural environment. A second paddle is planned for August 8 th . Reservations for canoes can be made at Genesee Waterways.
Save the Date! The 3rd Annual Genesee River Bash - will be held on Saturday evening, September 29th, 2018 at the Port of Rochester Terminal Building. With live music from Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, Wild Wings Raptor demonstration, silent auction, good food and exhibitors, this is a family friendly evening that celebrates the Genesee River and will be fun for all.
Thank you to our Supporters!