Summer is in full swing and will be over before we know it. Here at Genesee RiverWatch, we are taking advantage of the nice weather – making progress on improving water quality through streambank restoration and application of agricultural best management practices, hosting small paddles and improving access to the river. Please read on to hear about our first virtual Summit held in April and May along with other RiverWatch news.
As always, we look forward to your comments, feedback, and participation in virtual and in-person events throughout the year.
- Mike Haugh, President of the Board
- George Thomas, Executive Director
7th Genesee River Basin “Virtual” Summit
Genesee RiverWatch organized our 7th Genesee River Basin Summit as a series of 90 minute Zoom workshops held in April and May. Over 125 people attended the four sessions that featured presentations followed by a lively question and answer period. If you missed them, recordings of each session are available on YouTube.
The topics were:
- We Need Trees – A discussion of why streambank restoration and conservation projects drive the need for trees and what we can do about it.
- What’s Going On? – A review of past, present and future water quality improvement projects developed and implemented by Genesee RiverWatch in partnership with various basin stakeholders.
- Got Access? – Presenters discussed current improvement plans for car-top boat access to the Genesee River basin followed by questions and answers with a panel.
- Let’s Plan a Canoe/Kayak Trip – Basin outfitters and stakeholder groups provided guidance and tips on how to plan your next trip on the river.
Our work to improve water quality includes stabilizing and restoring streambanks and helping apply agricultural best management practices to reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river, slow the rate of erosion and subsequent loss of agricultural land and fertile topsoil. These projects also restore and improve wildlife habitat in the river by establishing riparian zones. We currently have several active projects along the Genesee River in Allegany and Livingston Counties and have provided updates below.
Mallards Dairy # 1/Town of Caneadea
Description – Restoration of 900 feet of river bank north of Belfast, NY.
Status – Construction completed in 2018.
Post-Construction Monitoring and Maintenance – A site inspection in May 2021 showed that the restoration was in good shape. It also showed, as expected, that about 30% of the trees we planted in the riparian zone survived. An event will be planned for this fall to plant live willow stakes in some portions of the riparian area.
Edelweiss Farms/Town of Hume
Description – Restoration of 1,800 feet of river bank north of Fillmore, NY.
Status – Construction completed in 2020.
Post-Construction Monitoring and Maintenance – A site inspection in May 2021 showed that the restoration was in good shape. It also showed, as expected, that about 35% of the trees we planted in the riparian zone survived. An event will be planned for this fall to plant live willow stakes in some portions of the riparian area.
Chamberlain Farm Project/ Town of Angelica
Description – Restoration of 2,900 feet of river bank north of Belmont, NY.
Status – Construction completed in 2020.
Post-Construction Monitoring and Maintenance – A site inspection in May 2021 showed that the restoration was in good shape. It also showed that beaver had eaten 20-25% of the willow stakes planted in the riparian zone. The beaver have been removed and an event will be planned for this fall to re-plant live willow stakes in some portion of the project. The event may also include planting 5 or 6 year old trees in the second bench of the toe wood construction. Learn more about the Chamberlain Farm Project.
Mallards Dairy #2/Town of Caneadea
Description – Restoration of 1,800 feet of river bank south of Houghton, NY.
Status – Construction will begin this fall. All of the stone and tree materials are on site ready for construction. Learn more about the Mallards Dairy # 2 Project.
Agricultural Best Management Practices Project/Livingston County
Genesee RiverWatch is working with the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District (LCS&WCD) to identify farm fields in the Jaycox Creek subwatershed that are candidates for application of agricultural best management practices to reduce erosion and soil loss. The primary practices that are considered are terraces, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins (WASCOBs), and underground outlets. The first project implemented in an 85-acre field on North Road east of Geneseo, NY includes the installation of 5 WASCOBs, 2,400 feet of underground drainage and 1,400 feet of grassed waterways. Construction started in October 2020 and will be complete in June 2021. Additional projects are being identified for 2021-2022 in partnership with LCS&WCD. Learn more about the Jaycox Creek Project.
River Events in 2021
Genesee RiverWatch has partnered with many organizations to encourage and enable exploration on and around the river. Our early summer paddles were a great success!
Genesee River Blueway Map: The Genesee River Blueway Map is available for use by canoeists and kayakers who wish to explore and connect with the river. Available as a downloadable overview map or an interactive map.
2021 Paddling Program: The summer paddle schedule with the Genesee Waterways Center is final and includes paddles to Red Creek and the Lower River. Dates are available each month through October.
Hiking: Enjoy the Genesee River Basin’s beauty on the many trails that follow the river and the shores of our lakes. We have published nine suggested routes along the river and beside Hemlock and Canadice lakes. Early this spring we added a new route on the seldom-seen east side of Letchworth State Park.
Learn more about Events On and Around the River in 2021.
Canoe/Kayak Access Projects
Genesee RiverWatch is continuing to work with our partners toward improving access to the river for car-top boaters.
Avon/Geneseo – The US Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded Genesee RiverWatch a grant to upgrade canoe/kayak access sites on the Genesee River in Avon and Geneseo.
Houghton – Genesee River Wilds has recently reached an agreement with the Village of Houghton to create a new access site near their wastewater treatment plant. Work has started to grade the access road and parking lot. The site is expected to be available for this boating season. Genesee RiverWatch will provide Blueway signs and include the site on our interactive map.
Fillmore – Genesee River Wilds has been working to secure an official access site in Fillmore to take the place of the unofficial site that has been there for years. The current unofficial site was closed down by the new landowner recently. Genesee RiverWatch has assisted Genesee River Wilds by providing liaison with the owner of the property on the other side of the river from the old site. We expect to reach an agreement with that landowner soon to allow Allegany County to complete construction before this season is over. Genesee RiverWatch will provide Blueway signs and include the site on our interactive map.
NYSDEC Begins Genesee River Cleanup
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has begun dredging work to remove pockets of sediment contaminated with silver in the Genesee River below Lower Falls.
This work follows the recommendations of a corrective measures study, finalized in 2020, of the impact of chemicals released by Eastman Business Park on river water, sediments, fish, and other organisms. The study and subsequent remediation work are being paid by the Kodak-Environmental Response Trust, initially funded during the Kodak bankruptcy process in 2012-13. Learn more.
Books About the Genesee River
In case you missed it, we have compiled a list of books about the Genesee River. Enjoy!