Spring Newsletter 2022

Dear Friends,

Spring is finally here and with it, an exciting 2022 Summer Paddling Program, multiple streambank improvement projects, and important public events – including our 8th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit. And there is more…we invite you to take a few minutes to read below and learn about our efforts to realize the Vision of “a healthy and sustainable Genesee River ecosystem that is an environmental, recreational and economic asset for all generations”.

None of this would be possible without the help of our partners, volunteers, and donors.  We are grateful to you all. See you on or around the River!  


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

Summer Paddling Program

Since 2015, we have partnered with the City of Rochester and the Genesee Waterways Center to offer guided canoe and kayak trips on the Genesee.  These excursions are great opportunities to explore the “wilderness in the city” that is the lower river and to learn about the fascinating history of the Genesee.  This summer’s program will offer trips on both the lower river (between Lower Falls and the harbor)  and on the section of the Genesee bordering Genesee Valley Park and secluded Red Creek.  This summer, in order to enhance safety and increase the enjoyment of all participants, we are asking that participants have a basic knowledge of paddling techniques when they join our trips.  To help people get that knowledge, we are offering two days of training for new paddlers at the Waterways Center.  If you have never before been in a kayak, join us for one of these days.  It will open a whole new opportunity to explore your world that is not available to those tied to the shore.

Below is the tentative program schedule for 2022.  Watch for further announcements in our mailings, on the Genesee RiverWatch website and on the Genesee Waterways website.

  • Saturday, June 11 – Beginner paddling training and intermediate+ skill paddle, Waterways Center
  • Sunday, July 17 – Intermediate+ skill paddle, Petten St.
  • Saturday, August 13 – Beginner paddling training and intermediate+ skill paddle, Waterways Center
  • Saturday, September 10 – Intermediate+ skill paddle, Petten St.
  • Sunday, October 2 (ROC the Riverway Weekend) – Intermediate+ skill paddle, Petten St.

2022 Genesee River Basin Summit

Our 8th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit is coming soon. We are planning a virtual Summit of 4 sessions during the month of May.  The session will be conducted using Zoom and will be recorded for later viewing. Preliminary topics are:

  • A review of the H2O Hero Genesee River public opinion survey; May 12 8:30am-10am
  • Fishing opportunities on the Genesee; May 17 8:30am-10am
  • NY State watershed plan for the Genesee River Basin; May 19 8:30am-10am
  • An update on river access improvements and Rochester’s new focus on the river, including the ROC the Riverway projects. May 26 8:30am-10am

Registration information will be available soon.

Genesee River Blueway Map

The Genesee River Blueway Map is your guide to paddling the Genesee from its headwaters in Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.  It shows safe access sites and provides the river mileage between these points.  The map is available as a tri-fold brochure at many of the access sites and is downloadable from our website.  Also on the website is an interactive map that will allow you to custom plan your route and print a more detailed map specific to your plan. The new site under construction in Houghton will be added during this paddling season.

See us at the Expo

Join us at the 23rd ANNUAL OUTDOOR EXPO at Mendon Ponds Park on June 11th. The Expo is  sponsored by the Genesee Valley Chapter, Adirondack Mountain Club and Monroe County Parks. If you have not been there before, you will find it a terrific opportunity to learn about a wide range of outdoor experiences. From hiking to paddling to wooden boat construction to bike repair, the Outdoor Expo provides a chance to explore it all!
9:30 am to 3:30 pm

Streambank Restoration

Our work to improve water quality includes stabilizing and restoring streambanks and helping apply agricultural best management practices that reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river, and slow the rate of erosion, preserving agricultural land and fertile topsoil. These projects also restore and improve wildlife habitat in and along the river by establishing wild plantings in the riparian zones. We currently have several active projects along the Genesee River in Allegany and Livingston Counties and have provided updates below.

Mallards Dairy #2/Town of Caneadea

Construction on this project to restore 2,000 feet of eroded streambank along the Genesee River just south of the Village of Houghton, NY, began in September 2021 and was completed in October. The contractor graded the fast-eroding vertical riverbank, creating a three-tiered structure, stabilized by tree stumps and five rock vanes in the river. The field is owned and cultivated by Mallards Dairy, LLC to support their large dairy operation in Cuba, NY. The owner, Charlie Bares, provided all of the funding to hire the contractor as his match for this $320,000 project. On April 1st and 2nd Genesee RiverWatch volunteers, together with Mr. and Mrs. Bares, harvested approximately 5,000 willow cuttings from elsewhere on the property and planted them in the new bank.  As these willows grow, their roots will provide long term stability for the bank, preserving this valuable farmland and preventing hundreds of tons of sediment from washing down the river.  Thank you to all the volunteers who joined us in this work!

Agricultural Best Management Practices Project/Livingston County

Genesee RiverWatch has been working with the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District (LCS&WCD) since 2020 to identify farm fields in the Jaycox Creek subwatershed that are candidates for application of agricultural best management practices (AgBMPs) to reduce erosion and soil loss. It is funded by a $198K Great Lakes Commission grant and planned $53K match ($251K total). Two projects were completed in 2021 and two have been selected for 2022. The 2021 projects were on an 85-acre field (shared by 3 farms) east of Geneseo and a horse stable (KJW Stables) north of Geneseo. The two projects for 2023 are on agricultural fields at the Brady Farm and Byron Farms properties. The work is being directed by LCS&WCD. The primary practices being considered are terraces, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins (WASCOBs), and underground outlets.

Canoe/Kayak Access Projects

Genesee RiverWatch is continuing to work with our partners to improve access to the river for fishing and car-top boaters.

Avon & Geneseo – The US Fish and Wildlife Service and NYSDEC as trustees for the Kodak Environmental Response trust have awarded Genesee RiverWatch a grant to upgrade canoe/kayak access sites on the Genesee River in Avon and Geneseo. We expect funding to be available by May and to complete construction by December 2022.

Fillmore – Genesee River Wilds has been working to secure an official access site in Fillmore to take the place of the unofficial “Fillmore Beach” site that was recently closed by its new owners.  They are currently exploring the idea of using Allegany County land on the northwest corner of the Route 4 bridge.  A final decision is not expected in the 2022 boating season.  When the site becomes available, Genesee RiverWatch will provide Blueway signs and include the site on our interactive map.

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 been completed to grade the access road and parking lot. The site will be available for the 2022 boating season. Genesee RiverWatch will provide Blueway signs and include the site on our interactive map.

Donor Support Helps Us Do Our Work

As we have said before, Genesee RiverWatch relies heavily on community support to continue its work of improving water quality and connecting people to the river.  Big-ticket projects such as the streambank work and access sites discussed above are typically funded by government and agency grants, often in the range of $200,000 to $400,000.  However, all the preliminary work that goes into obtaining these grants – the site identification, landowner relations, engineering, etc. – is done by a combination of volunteers and donations from those who support our work.  All of our other work, including our water quality Report Card, summer paddling program, and annual Genesee River Basin Summits, is also accomplished using donations and hard-working volunteers.

In 2021, you donated over $26,000 to RiverWatch, a rewarding 18% increase over 2020!  Thank you so much for your commitment to our vision of  “a healthy and sustainable Genesee River ecosystem that is an environmental, recreational and economic asset for all generations”.

Please keep Genesee RiverWatch in your plans for 2022 donations and, if possible, increase your support so that we can cover not only current inflation but also the increased tempo of work planned for this year.

Meet our Staff and Board of Directors

Genesee RiverWatch has a dedicated staff and volunteer Board of Directors. We invite you to visit our updated “Who We Are” page to learn more about us.

3 Comments on “Spring Newsletter 2022

  1. Looks like there is great work being done. I applaud the efforts of the Genesee RiverWatch.
    One question, as a York resident, I was wondering if there are any plans to upgrade the river access at York Landing?
    Thanks for any information you could share.

    • We do not have any plans at this time for the York landing site but it is on our list. That steep trail down to the river needs to be restructured to make easier and safer to get a kayak or canoe in the water. We have secured funding to upgrade the sites in Avon and Geneseo that we expect to get implemented this year.

    • Hello Davies, thank you for the feedback. We work hard to make a difference and it is nice when someone recognizes it. The York Landing site is on our list but we currently have two sites, Avon and Geneseo, for which we have secured funds to upgrade. We expect to have that work complete by yearend. I know the York Landing site access trail could use some work to make it easier and safer to get to the water. That steep trail is difficult to navigate.

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