Fall Newsletter 2020

Dear Friends,

Despite the challenges of 2020, Genesee RiverWatch has been busy working toward our goal of protecting and celebrating the river. This summary will bring you up to date on all our latest news. Please contact us with any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you.


  • Mike Haugh, President of the Board
  • George Thomas, Executive Director

A New Website!

Our Genesee RiverWatch team took advantage of some of the extra time available during the health crisis to completely refresh our website. We planned this new design to be both attractive to our viewers and give us a framework for keeping you up-to-date with our progress and upcoming events. The website has many resources that describe the Genesee River basin and support our work to Improve Water Quality, Inform and Educate, Connect People to the River and Facilitate Aquatic Education. You may also want to get to know us better by checking out our new “Who We Are” page or find ways to “Get Involved”.

2019 Annual Report Released

Genesee RiverWatch has released its 2019 Annual Report. We invite you to take a look at the summary of our work in 2019 and future plans.

Improving Water Quality

Streambank Restoration

Genesee RiverWatch has several streambank restoration projects underway in 2020. These are important because restoring the banks of the river preserves valuable farm land and reduces sediment and phosphorus loads in the river, improving the quality of the water for recreational use and wildlife habitat. Establishing riparian zones are an important part of that work. Check out this short video by Board Member Melissa Skyer explaining Riparian Zones.

Town of Angelica: Genesee RiverWatch has begun work on its part of a US Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) project to restore a 2,720 foot section on eroded Genesee River bank in the Town of Angelica, NY.  This project is funded by $523,000 from the Kodak Environmental Response Trust. USF&WS is responsible for the design and construction of the project and is using bio-engineering techniques over rock riprap to stabilize the river bank. Genesee RiverWatch has secured the necessary environmental permits and archeological reports and will design and install part of the riparian buffer. Construction was completed in September. The riparian planting work will occur in the Fall of 2020 and the Spring of 2021.

Town of Houghton: Construction work is planned for 2021 to stabilize 1,800 linear feet of un-buffered agricultural field along the Genesee River in the town of Houghton. Genesee RiverWatch has been awarded a $197,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission. The landowner will contribute $119,000 of in-kind work for a total project cost of $316,000. This restoration will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding a new riparian zone and protecting valuable farmland.

Connecting People to the River

Enabling Access to the River
Installing Petton Street ADA-Compliant Dock

New Petten Street Access Site: Thanks to the City of Rochester with financial support from Genesee RiverWatch donors such as Genesee Brewery, kayakers and canoeists have a new and safe access site on the Lower Genesee. The ADA-compliant dock is on the west side of the river at the foot of Petten Street, just south of the O’Rourke Bridge. Learn more.

Genesee River Blueway Map: A new Genesee River Blueway Map is ready for use by canoeists and kayakers who wish to explore and connect with the river.  The downloadable Overview Map shows current river access locations from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.  A web-based Interactive Map gives users detailed information about each access point, including photos of the sites.  Printed copies of the Overview Map will be available at access points over the next few months as signage and map holders are installed. The advantage of the online map is that it can be updated as necessary to provide current information about access points.

Roc the Riverway Weekend Paddle

Roc the Riverway Weekend Paddles: Thirteen paddlers celebrated ROC the Riverway Weekend with a tour of the Genesee upstream from the new Petten Street dock. Definitely a “crisp” fall morning, but sunny with the beginnings of fall colors along the gorge walls. Just the kind of day to appreciate our “wilderness within the city”! Thanks to the folks at the Genesee Waterways Center for partnering with us in hosting this water-level view of our river.

Facilitating Aquatic Education

Aquatic Education Going Virtual: The NOAA funded Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers education initiative has been turned into a “virtual” program under the guidance of St. John Fisher College (Mike Boller) and the Aquatic Education Network. Twenty teachers have been chosen from 33 applicants for training to enable them to provide Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEE) to middle and high school students in the 2020 – 2021 school year. This project is part of Genesee RiverWatch’s efforts to facilitate educational experiences that connect students and teachers to the Genesee River.

Online Resources for Educators: A September 2020 Update for educators summarizes available online resources. We’ve recently added three videos developed by our Board member and RIT Professor Melissa Skyer to the lesson plans and resources page available on our website. The topics cover:

  • Modeling Watersheds
  • Riparian Zones
  • Invasive Species

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