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River Access and Recreational Opportunities

June 15th, 2017  - 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM - RIT Campus

Summit Presentations are now online:

folder Download 2017 Genesee River Basin Summit Presentations

New: Download the Summit Report


Genesee RiverWatch held its 4th Annual Genesee River Basin Summit on June 15, 2017.  The topic was "River Access and Recreational Opportunities."  The purpose of this year's Summit was to review the current state of river access and recreational use, understand the benefits associated with increasing these opportunities and plan for how we can move forward to benefit our citizens and the local economy.  Nearly 90 people attended with presentations from government entities, non-profits and small businesses. A report of the Summit including proposed future actions will be published soon.  Read more about the Summit in this area publication:


The Summit is relevant to anyone interested in the recreational appeal of the Genesee. This includes direct users such as boaters, fishermen, hikers, bikers, and birders. It will also be useful to those interested in improving the economic and social appeal of our river assets such as business owners, government officials, farmers, elected representatives, economic development professionals, engineers, educators, media, and conservation groups.

Expert speakers will provide a comprehensive summary of the Genesee Basin’s existing river access and recreational opportunities. Economic development and government officials will describe the importance of these resources to economic opportunities and quality of life along the entire river from Pennsylvania to the Rochester Harbor. Attendees will hear examples of work being done on other rivers and plans in the works along the Genesee. Finally, in keeping with past Summits, participants will be asked to contribute their opinions and suggestions for future work.

This event is part of the Genesee RiverWatch initiative whose mission is “To champion solutions that improve the water quality of the Genesee and initiatives that connect people to the River.”

The inaugural Genesee River Basin Summit in 2014 launched the Genesee RiverWatch initiative and focused on gathering ideas for priority projects in critical portions of the Genesee watershed. The 2015 Summit sought stakeholder input in the design of an annual “Genesee River Basin Report Card”, scheduled for release in 2017. Last year’s Summit focused on “Streambank Erosion, Soil Loss & Sediment” with strategies to preserve valuable farmland and reduce levels of sediment and harmful nutrients in our waters.

Download our Agenda updated June 6th

Date: June 15, 2017
Time: 8:00am-4:30pm
Place: Rochester Institute of Technology, Louise Slaughter Hall, Building 78, Rooms 2240-2210
Registration required: Click here to Register

Prefer to pay by check? Use our downloadable, fillable registration form

Parking permit required. Download a parking permit to put on your dash
Download a Map

Fee: $15 includes breakfast, breaks and lunch.

Includes: Continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon break.

2017 Sponsors:

Main Stem ($1,000 or more level):

 CityCouncil Stack 287 logo resized
 Stantec color Resized
RGE Resized  WilliamHallahanResized
Georgiana Prince  Nixon Peabody resized    

Letchworth ($500 level):

SJFC Web LEFT 993333 Resized
 Brad VanAuken PeterLentNew resized2
Mike Bonnie Haugh Resized      

Tributary ($250 level):

UK logoResized  CNB resized  Eastman Business Park resized BA Logo new resized
WegmansBLKnameonly2008 resized  Matrix logo resized  paradigmLogo new resized  




Dave Derrick from River Research and Design, Inc. will be coming to NY to offer two 3-day workshops in June on Stream Investigation, Stabilization & Design. Register soon. Class size is limited!

June 8-10, 2016 Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District

Chemung Stream class flyer

Chemung Stream class registration


June 13 -15, 2016 - Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District

Schoharie Stream class flyer

Schoharie Stream class registration





The Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Award may be given each year to:

• Individual(s) or organization(s) whose work has been influential in mobilizing stakeholders to restore the water quality of the Genesee River Basin, improve access, increase use or encourage economic development that benefits from and contributes to the water quality of our region.

• Significant project(s) or event(s) that have contributed to restoration of the water quality of the Genesee River Basin, improved access, increased use or encouraged economic development that benefits from and contributes to the water quality of our region.

• Individual(s) whose volunteer work on behalf of CEI and its Genesee RiverWatch Initiative has significantly aided Genesee RiverWatch in its Mission.


Allen Kerkeslager received the Award for the significant contributions he has made in the founding and development of Genesee River Wilds, an Allegany County-based organization whose mission is to “Restore and protect the upper Genesee River.”

20151001 CEI Community Salute 85 1

William Hart, President of Genesee River Wilds, receiving the Elizabeth Thorndike Award on behalf of Allen Kerkeslager from William Hallahan.

Working through the Genesee River Wilds Project, the organization provides a holistic watershed management plan for the Upper Genesee River. “Its primary strategy is to transform the Genesee River corridor into an economically productive eco-tourism resource that will simultaneously improve the water quality of the river while addressing the economic needs of surrounding communities.”

These efforts have resulted in public-private partnerships that established four boat launch sites on the upper River. Efforts are underway to partner with two campgrounds and provide additional access. Allen has linked Genesee River Wilds with the Triple Divide Greenway and Trail System, the Rochester Remedial Action Plan, the Water Education Collaborative, the Lake Ontario Lakewide Action and Management Plan, and Genesee RiverWatch to promote collaboration amongst like-minded organizations.

Allen brought the river as a recreational resource to the forefront of national paddling attention with his article “Paddling as Conservation Strategy: the Genesee River Wilds Project”, which highlighted the upper river in the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Canoe News, the official publication of the United States Canoe Association. As a regional leader in this field, Allen was included in the Greater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium in 2011 and was a valued participant at Genesee RiverWatch’s inaugural Genesee River Basin Summit in 2014.


The City of Rochester received the Award for the significant contributions it has made to provide public access to, and improve the water quality of, the Genesee River in 2014 and 2015 including building neighborhood trail connections to the Genesee Riverway Trail and improvements to Turning Point Park Trailhead.
The City of Rochester constructed five neighborhood trail connections to the Genesee Riverway Trail, including:

• Harding Road/Brewster Park to Turning Point Park
• St. Paul Street Trailhead
• Vincent Street Open Space
• Plymouth Avenue Greenway Connector
• Genesee Valley Park Connector

20151001 CEI Community Salute 76 1

Norman H. Jones, City of Rochester Commissioner of Environmental Services, receiving the Elizabeth Thorndike Award from Michael Storonsky.

The various trail connections close gaps in the city-wide trail system; link adjacent neighborhoods to recreation, historic and cultural destinations; enhance the scenic and recreational opportunities associated with the river; and provide important non-motorized travel opportunities.
The City also renovated the Turning Point Park Trailhead which increased the amount of parking and protected the adjacent mature wooded area. Green stormwater management techniques were used to infiltrate runoff from the parking lot and trails including rain gardens, biofiltration and porous pavers. The trailhead is now a demonstration and interpretation center for sustainable/green design elements.


The Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association received the 2015 Elizabeth Thorndike Environmental Leadership Award for its significant contributions to improving the water quality of the Genesee River.

20151001 CEI Community Salute 79 1

Darrell Davis, Vice President, Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association, receiving the Elizabeth Thorndike Award from William Hallahan.

Based in Genesee, Pennsylvania, the GHWA actively monitors both the chemistry and aquatic life of the Genesee River headwaters and its tributaries. In addition, its members have been active in recording accelerated stream bank erosion, then planting riparian buffers and undertaking stream restoration projects to address the erosion. Some of their accomplishments include:

• East Branch of the Genesee River, upstream of Hickox, Pa., Potter County. Two projects were untaken to stabilize over 800 ft. of river bank which are estimated to save more than 130 tons of sediment from being washed away each year.

• West Branch of the Genesee River. Three projects were completed that stabilized over 400 ft. of river bank saving many tons of sediment from being eroded away annually.

• Since 2005, GHWA has used grants totaling $265,000 to complete 26 stream projects within the 82 square mile drainage basin from Potter County, PA north into New York State.

• GHWA also seeks to promote new, innovative ways to protect and enhance the high quality water resource found in the area by providing educational programs to area youth and adults.

The Seneca Park Zoo is co-sponsoring this year’s “My Genesee” Airigami balloon event at the Sibley Building in downtown Rochester on Saturday, February 6th, from 10am – 4pm. Based on prior year’s attendance, this seems like a great opportunity to get the word out about all the good work that is happening in the region!

An article on the upcoming event can be viewed here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
SUNY Geneseo, MacVittie College Union Ballroom, Geneseo, NY

The purpose of this summit was build on the success of last year’s first ever Genesee River Basin Summit by creating an annual Basin Report Card that will be used to:

•   Raise awareness of the Genesee and the condition of its waters

•   Provide a basis for conversation about what needs to be done to improve water quality in, and access to, the Genesee River

•   Establish visible targets for the work of stakeholders

  • Give us all a way to measure progress on those targets
  • Help attract more funding to execute critical projects

Listen to a Pre-Summit Interview on WXXI's 1370 Connections - starts at the 6:00 minute mark, after the Albany legislative report.

Interview with Scott Fybush:

Genesee River Basin Summit, which Genesee RiverWatch is hosting on Wednesday. It’s a gathering of groups interested in improving the water quality of the river and the surrounding area that depends on it. We'll discuss what will be discussed at the summit with:


Download the presentations:

State-Level Genesee River Basin Activities   Steve Gladding, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY 

Update on the creation and future use of the 9-Element plan DEC created for the Genesee River Basin in 2014. Describe results of 2014 RIBS Monitoring (Rotating Intensive Basin Survey- 1st year Screening Samples) for the Genesee River Basin. Other topics include Trees-For-Tribs, WAVE program, Basin priority with DEC and EPA.

Download Steve's presentation 
Oatka Creek and Black Creek Watershed Management Plans

David Zorn, Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Rochester, NY

Overview of the process and content associated with the recently-completed Oatka Creek Watershed Management Plan and Black Creek Watershed Management Plan. Download David's presentation
Rochester Embayment Area of Concern

Charlie Knauf, Monroe County Department of Health, Rochester, NY

Update on the status of the effort by the Rochester Embayment Remedial Action Plan Advisory Committee to de-list the Area of Concern (AOC) by 2016. Topics include the Braddock Bay restoration project and the Kodak/Genesee River study. Download Charlie's presentation
Progress Since the 2014 Summit

George Thomas, Center for Environmental Initiatives, Rochester, NY

Overview of what CEI has been able to accomplish since the 2014 Genesee River Basin Summit. Topics will include streambank stabilization, new website, projects in the Upper Basin, nutrient recovery, and City of Rochester.

Download George's presentation

Agriculture Best Management Practices Funding in Basin

Ben Schmidt, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Batavia, NY

Overview of recently-secured funding for implementation of agricultural BMPs in three priority watersheds within the Genesee River Basin: Black Creek, Canaseraga Creek, and Upper Genesee River.


Download Ben's presentation


Download a detailed agenda

folder See the "Our Work" menu for proceeding from last year's 2014 Summit


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