River Clean Up Makes Some Progress

River Clean Up Makes Some Progress

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published August 14, 2013 and can be found here.

Local photographer Clarke Conde has been snapping photos of the Genesee River all year. This patch of trash had been growing slowly like a giant, smelly tumor. [PHOTO: Clarke Conde]

   A couple of weeks ago photographer     Clarke Conde

external link

shared some dirty photos of Rochester's riverfront on Facebook. Those photos made me sad. Dead trees, algae and trash had been collecting in this section of the river for over well over year. Smelly algae and logs are one thing. But add piles of plastic bottles, clothing, styrofoam, truck tires, other undesirables, and let stew for a year or more? To me, that's more than a cosmetic problem. If I'm from out of town, I'd probably think Rochesterians just don't give a hoot.

Thankfully, we all know that isn't true. We pulled together. And we made a difference...

The Genesee River, now looking less like a landfill. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]

   After making some phone calls I learned this section of river is not managed by the City of Rochester, but by     New York State Canal Corporation

external link

. Problem is, the Canal Corp. doesn't consider this to be a navigation channel. And with over 500 miles of higher-priority waterways across the state, they weren't in a position to commit to sending a cleaning crew out here.

After this photo was shared online, however, more people began to speak up and NYS Canal Corp finally sent out some equipment to break up the log jam and pull out the trash. The photo above was taken yesterday. And as you can see, the river is looking less like a landfill, and more like something we can be proud of.

We need to thank Clarke Conde for showing us the world through his camera lens. But we also need to thank Nancy O'Donnell and The Wedge newspaper for also calling attention to this. Thomas Hack from the City's Department of Environmental Services for working behind the scenes. And William Sweitzer and John Callaghan from NYS Canal Corp. for answering our questions open and honestly, and for finding a way to get this cleaned up.

An overflowing garbage can next to the Genesee River. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]

   But before we crack open the champagne bottle, the photo above was also taken yesterday. Trash cans literally overflowing into the river? Is this helping?

The saga continues...

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA