Genesee River Basin Summit 2023 Wrap-Up

Improving Water Quality – Sediment and Phosphorus Reduction

Genesee RiverWatch presented its annual Genesee River Basin Summit on May 10th, 2023 at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The topic of this year’s summit was Improving Water Quality – Sediment and Phosphorus Reduction

Summit Objective: The objective of the day-long summit was to solicit feedback on a Genesee RiverWatch proposal to improve water quality in the Genesee River Basin through sediment and phosphorus reduction. The Summit started with a review of current basin-wide programs, an update on NYS State policy responses to emerging issues such as climate change, and a review current sediment and phosphorus load reduction programs and activities. 

As a result of the discussions at the Summit, Genesee RiverWatch will help develop a Steering Committee to address sediment and nutrient reduction in the Genesee Basin. As part of that work, we also plan to embark on an effort to educate elected officials on the need and benefit of sediment and nutrient reduction and look for ways to increase our outreach to stakeholders and the general public.

Summit presentations are linked within the agenda below.

Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Award Presentation at the Summit

The Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Awards were presented to Helen Dumas and Roy Wood. Roy received the award in appreciation for his work with our Citizen Monitoring and Genesee River watershed wastewater treatment plant data. Helen is a Genesee Land Trust staff member and its Genesee River Alliance Coordinator. She was presented the Award in recognition of her work in helping to build the Genesee River Alliance into an effective organization to promote interest in the Genesee River within the City of Rochester. 

Agenda and Presentations
Time TopicPresentationPresenter
8:00 to 8:30Sign-InContinental BreakfastVISIT EXHIBITS
8:30 to 8:45
(15 min)
Welcome & OverviewWelcome & Overview1. Board Member – Genesee RiverWatch
8:45 to 10:15
(90 min)
How focus on the Basin got started1a. Great Lakes Action Agenda – Development and plans moving forward, relation to Nine Element Plan
1b. Finger Lakes Watershed Hub
2. 2013 Basin Study – Water quality data, sources, and conclusions/recommendations
3. Formation of Genesee RiverWatch – How it started
1. Shannon Dougherty and Tony Prestigiacomo- NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
2. Amanda Matkosky – Genesee RiverWatch
3. Mike Haugh – Genesee RiverWatch
10:15 to 10:45BREAKCoffee RefreshVISIT EXHIBITS
10:45 to 12:15 (90 min)Emerging Issues1. NYS Environmental Bond Act – Water Quality Improvement & Resilient Infrastructure

2. Climate Action – NYS Climate Action Plan
1. James Tierney – NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Deputy Commissioner, Water Resources
2. Brian Steinmuller – NYS Agriculture and Markets
12:15 to 12:45LUNCHProvidedVISIT EXHIBITS
12:45 to 1:15Awards Presentation to 2022 Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Award Winners
1:15 to 2:45 (90 min)Sediment and Phosphorus Load Reduction1. Farmland Soil Erosion – Best Management Practices
2. Dairy Industry – Sustainable Practices
3. Wastewater Treatment Plants – Overview
4. Streambank Erosion – Project examples
1. Bob Stryker – Livingston County S&WCD
2. Brad Schwab – Agricultural Consulting Services
3. Pete Lent – Genesee RiverWatch
4. Scott Fonte – Agricultural Engineering Services
2:45 to 3:00BreakCookies & Beverage ProvidedVisit Exhibits
3:00 to 4:30 (90 min)What needs to be done1. Proposal to measurably reduce the impact of erosion, agricultural operations, wastewater treatment plants, and dairy operations on sediment and phosphorus loads to the River, stream monitoring, carbon neutrality, and adaptive management
2. Panel Discussion – Q&A, comments, suggestions
1. George Thomas and Mike Haugh – Genesee RiverWatch
2. Panel – Speakers and Invited Guests
4:30-4:45Wrap-upNext StepsGenesee RiverWatch

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