Genesee River gets a “C” when it comes to water quality

Local News

The Genesee River many consider the lifeblood of Rochester and millions of dollars are headed to develop the area around it. The health of the river is then of utmost importance to keep the area around it in good health. The non-profit Genesee RiverWatch has been working for the past five years to give the river a grade. 

The river is part of eight different watersheds that all eventually feed into Lake Ontario. Genesee Riverwatch Executive Director George Thomas analyzed all watersheds to come up with a grade. 

“The Genesee river got a grade level of C,” said Thomas. “That was the overall grade which wasn’t too bad.” 

Each creek and stream that feeds into the Genesee River was analyzed using public data. “Oatka Creek and Black Creek were pretty good water quality. They came out with a grade of B and some of the other ones, we thought they weren’t as good as they could be. We got one that was a D, that was Canaseraga Creek.” 

High levels of sediment and runoff led to a less than perfect grade. This is a natural process but can carry pollutants like phosphorus that all flow north toward Rochester. 

“These waterways are really unique to Rochester,” said Ken Altfather, CEO of BayCreek Paddle Center. “We like to help people get out and enjoy them.” 

His focus is the Irondequoit Bay and its tributaries south into Ellison Park. He also does trips around Lake Ontario near the Genesee River. “As the water comes out of the Genesee river, it’s very muddy. You can sometimes follow that mud trail all the way to Webster Park.”  

The Genesee RiverWatch is working to reduce pollution from agriculture as well as increasing access to the Genesee River for the general public. 

See the whole report here.

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