WXXI: River advocates continue their work during COVID-19

By Alex Crichton, WXXI, Rochester, NY, July 1st, 2020.

An organization dedicated to achieving a healthy and sustainable Genesee River ecosystem is outlining its 2019 accomplishments.

And the group’s work moves forward, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

George Thomas is executive Director for the Genesee Riverwatch, a largely volunteer organization that works to protect and celebrate the river.

“Trying to improve water, that’s the protecting part, and celebrating is trying to get people on the river and near the river to enjoy the resource,” he said.  Credit geneseeriverwatch.org

Thomas says the group has been able to continue its many projects because it’s mainly been a volunteer and virtual organization for four years.

The Genesee Riverwatch outlined many accomplishments in its 2019 report, including publication of the group’s first report card on the Genesee River Basin’s water quality.

It received a “C.”

“We have a couple of tributaries that are doing well, and a couple that aren’t.  That’s where we kind of get our focus, so rather than concentrate on Oatka or Black Creek, we look at places like Canaseraga or other ones that are having a bigger negative impact”

The group gave Canaseraga Creek the lowest grade of “D.”

Thomas say moving forward, restoration projects are a priority.

“Lot of work that needs to be done. We’re looking at 20 to 30 years worth of restoration work, but we also are really getting interested now in working closely with other groups to improve access to the river, “ he said.

Thomas says the Genesee River is a natural asset that many people don’t appreciate,  and from an economic development standpoint, most of the improvements the city is talking about through its ROC the Riverway Project are associated with the river.

He adds the Genesee Riverwatch is always looking for volunteer help, especially when it comes to the organization’s many tree planting projects.

Click here to view the 2019 report from the Genesee Riverwatch

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