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In early August, NYSDEC will start an investigation of the Genesee River to assess the effects of historic releases from Kodak’s operations at the Eastman Business Park located in Rochester, Monroe County. The objective is to determine the nature and extent of contamination and if contaminants continue to enter the lower reach of the Genesee River. It is also designed to determine if remedial action is warranted and, if so, to identify and evaluate cleanup options.

This link opens a fact sheet that provides details about the upcoming investigation:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/data/der/factsheet/lowergeninv.pdf

This work is funded through an environmental trust created during settlement of Kodak’s bankruptcy. DEC is administering the environmental trust and will be directing the investigation of the lower Genesee River, focusing on the section from the Lower Falls to Lake Ontario.

Additional information, including the investigation work plan and investigation schedule, is available on the NYSDEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/97804.html

Please do not respond to this email. Replies go to an untended mailbox. If you have questions about the investigation, please contact the NYSDEC project manager identified in the fact sheet. 

This fact sheet is being provided by the Division of Environmental Remediation within NYSDEC.

EPA Report on Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) Office of Research and Development has finalized the report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. It shows that wetlands and open waters in riparian areas (transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems) and floodplains are physically, chemically, and biologically integrated with rivers via functions that improve downstream water quality

The report reviews more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications and summarizes current scientific understanding about the connectivity and mechanisms by which streams and wetlands, singly or in aggregate, affect the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of downstream waters. The focus of the report is on surface and shallow subsurface connections by which small or temporary streams, nontidal wetlands, and open waters affect larger waters such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries. 

This report represents the state-of-the-science on the connectivity and isolation of waters in the United States. It makes five major conclusions, summarized below, that are drawn from a broad range of peer reviewed scientific literature.

  • The scientific literature unequivocally demonstrates that streams, regardless of their size or frequency of flow, are connected to downstream waters and strongly influence their function. 
  • The scientific literature clearly shows that wetlands and open waters in riparian areas (transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems) and floodplains are physically, chemically, and biologically integrated with rivers via functions that improve downstream water quality. These systems act as effective buffers to protect downstream waters from pollution and are essential components of river food webs. 
  • There is ample evidence that many wetlands and open waters located outside of riparian areas and floodplains, even when lacking surface water connections, provide physical, chemical, and biological functions that could affect the integrity of downstream waters. Some potential benefits of these wetlands are due to their isolation rather than their connectivity. Evaluations of the connectivity and effects of individual wetlands or groups of wetlands are possible through case-by-case analysis. 
  • Variations in the degree of connectivity are determined by the physical, chemical and biological environment, and by human activities. These variations support a range of stream and wetland functions that affect the integrity and sustainability of downstream waters. 
  • The literature strongly supports the conclusion that the incremental contributions of individual streams and wetlands are cumulative across entire watersheds, and their effects on downstream waters should be evaluated within the context of other streams and wetlands in that watershed.

Link: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=296414

As part of a May 2014 federal court approval of Kodak’s bankruptcy settlement, the company created an environmental trust to fund remediation and monitoring activities at Kodak’s Eastman Business Park and to conduct an investigation to assess whether the Genesee River suffered damages associated with discharges from Kodak’s historic operations. NYSDEC is administering the trust, which is funded by Kodak.

The river investigation being directed by NYSDEC will assess the sediments, water, biota and floodplains in the lower Genesee River in Rochester from near Route 104 (Veterans Memorial Bridge) to the mouth of the river at Lake Ontario. NYSDEC finalized the investigation work plan in April 2015, and the investigation will start this year.

The investigation work plan and additional information about the upcoming investigation are available on the NYSDEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/97804.html"

Questions should be directed to:

NYSDEC Project Manager

Larry Thomas

phone: (518) 402-9813

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Funding Opportunity

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (Department) and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee (State Committee) invites Soil and Water Conservation Districts to submit proposals for funding under the Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) Program.  Funds are available for erosion and sediment control practices within the Genesee River Watershed. Proposals are due by May 11, 2015.

The Genesee River Watershed is a high priority area, primarily due to sources of sediment and phosphorus being discharged into Lake Ontario at Rochester, New York.  This area is known as the Rochester Embayment and is identified as an Area of Concern (AOC) via the Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP).  Sediment and nutrients have caused degradation of water quality as evidenced by eutrophication in the near shore areas and outbreaks of harmful algal blooms around the mouth of the Genesee River.  Many of these pollutants originate from agricultural sources within tributary watersheds.  Addressing agricultural concerns has been a consideration of watershed planning efforts identified within the Lake Ontario LaMP, the Rochester Embayment AOC Restoration Action Plan and the Genesee River Basin Action Strategy.         

To address these concerns, the Department of Agriculture and Markets seeks to fund projects on agricultural lands that will reduce erosion and diminish the impacts of sediment and associated nutrients entering Lake Ontario via the Genesee River.  Funding is available on a competitive basis for high priority projects identified through the local AEM process up to $10,000. See their website for more information.