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Genesee River Watershed

A brief overview of this watershed and its water quality is presented below. For more detailed information about the Genesee River Watershed, published NYSDEC reports are also available. General information about watersheds is available at the "We All Live in a Watershed" webpage.

Facts about this Watershed

Map of NYS identifying the Genesee River Watershed
Click to view a detailed map of this watershed

The Genesee River Watershed is almost entirely within New York State, except for the upper 15 miles of the river and it drainage which originate in the Allegheny Plateau of Northern Pennsylvania. The river flows north for about 140 miles before emptying into Lake Ontario at Rochester.

Location: Western New York State

  • Most of Livingston and Allegany Counties,
  • Much of Monroe, Genesee and Wyoming Counties,
  • Portion of western Ontario County, and
  • Small parts of Orleans, Steuben and Cattaraugus Counties.

Size:2,373 square miles of land area within New York State.

Rivers and Streams: 5,048 miles of freshwater rivers and streams. Major tributary watersheds to the 144 miles of the Genesee River in New York State include:

  • Cassadaga Creek (828 river miles)
  • Honeoye Creek (644 miles)
  • Oatka Creek (425 miles)
  • Black Creek (377 miles)

Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs: 31 significant freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (13,288 acres), including

  • Conesus Lake (3,208 acres)
  • Mount Morris Reservoir (2,074 acres)
  • Hemlock Lake (2,081 acres)
  • Honeoye Lake (1,797 acres)

How is the Water?

Water Quality in The Genesee River Watershed

In the Genesee Watershed, about 55% of river/stream miles, and 79% of lake, pond and reservoir acres have been assessed (see Assesment Report).

Water quality Pie Chart. Rivers: 21% good, 26% Satisfactory, 8% Poor, 45% unassessed. Lakes: 0% good, 19% satisfactory, 60% poor, 21% unassessed
Good water quality: Fully supports designated activities and uses
Satisfactory: Fully supports designated activities, but with minor impacts
Poor (Impaired): does not support designated activities and uses
Unassessed: Insufficient data available

Water quality in the Genesee River Watershed is generally satisfactory. Much of the water quality concerns in the watershed are associated urban and industrial sources in the northern part of the watershed and agricultural and other nonpoint sources within the largely rural areas elsewhere in the upper watershed.

Major water quality concerns in the watershed are:

  • Urban Stormwater and Industrial Runoff in Rochester area
  • Agricultural and Other Nonpoint Sources of nutrients and various other pollutants
  • Protection of Municipal Water Supply in the Hemlock Lake watershed

About Water Quality in New York State

Water chemistry sampling in a NYS stream
Water Chemistry Sampling

Each waterbody in NYS has been assigned a classification, which reflects the designated "best uses" of the waterbody. These best uses typically include the ability to support fish and aquatic wildlife, recreational uses (fishing, boating) and, for some waters, public bathing drinking water use or shellfishing. Water quality is considered to be good if the waters support their best uses. NYSDEC routinely monitors and assesses water quality throughout the state and publishes detailed reports of these findings. For more information on these monitoring and assessment programs, see Water Quality Monitoring, Assessment and Planning.

What You Can Do!

Each of us lives in a watershed. On our Watershed Stewardship page are some tips on actions that you and your friends can take to help your watershed.

Biological kick sampling in a NYS stream
Biological Kick Sampling

Published Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Reports

Watershed Management Plans

More about Genesee River Watershed: