Streambank erosion is a major contributor to the sediment and nutrient loading in the Upper Genesee River. Given the steep topography and soils of the area, some streambank erosion and the associated sediment and nutrient load would be expected. However, human influences on the watershed and riparian areas exacerbate this erosion. Recent monitoring and modeling studies point to streambank erosion and the presence of agricultural lands without riparian buffers as causes of increased sediment and nutrient loading in this section of the river. The modeling studies suggest that a streambank stabilization program would effectively reduce the sediment and nutrient loads of the Upper Genesee River.
Streambank restoration projects are currently being investigated and funded on an ad-hoc basis. Genesee RiverWatch feels that we need to have a prioritized plan of projects to cover the whole upper watershed but agree we should start smaller with the section of the river near Houghton, NY. This is a section that was identified in the SUNY Brockport (2013) study. In addition to the plan we expect this project will result in the definition of several shovel-ready projects that can be submitted in response to subsequent requests for proposals, including GLRI. Lessons learned here will also help us develop the larger watershed plan.
A meander analysis was developed in partnership with the Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District to characterize the degree of streambank erosion on specific segments of the Genesee River in the Town of Caneadea, Allegany County, New York. This technique enabled the identification of river bank segments that should be considered for restoration. A project design and cost for each of the 17 segments evaluated was developed. These designs and the use of an evaluation matrix allowed for the establishment of the priority order of restoration for each segment. The evaluation of these restoration projects will be used to select which projects should be brought forward for submittal to funding agencies.
Five projects were identified as the top priority projects based upon the analysis conducted. (See the priority sites on the story map.) One of those projects (Site 2A) was designed and estimated to the level necessary for submittal to a funding agency. A detailed project proposal was developed in anticipation of submittal to several funding agencies in the next six to eight months. The landowner of that segment has been trying for years to define and implement a project to slow down his loss of valuable farmland. Try our fully-interactive "Swipe Tool" (and User guide)
The shovel-ready project that was developed will stabilize of 900 linear feet of un-buffered agricultural field along the Genesee River in the town of Caneadea, New York. This restoration will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding 900 feet of new riparian zone. This project with emphasize the use of bioengineering techniques and habitat enhancement.