Great Lakes Today

An steep embankment along Angelica Creek in New York shows evidence of long-term erosion.
George Thomas / Center for Environmental Initiatives

The Cayuga Creek Watershed in Erie County is getting federal dollars to reduce erosion.

Stream bank erosion along the waterway carries treated soil from farms into the Great Lakes, causing harmful algal blooms.

Mark Gaston is the district field manager for the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District. He says reinforcing these stream banks has multiple benefits.

"We utilize plant materials and rocks that help to benefit habitat as well as mitigate erosion."


A woman with deep ties to local environmental efforts as well as doing groundbreaking work in area politics has died.

Irene Gossin died on Monday at the age of 97.  When Gossin was elected Town Supervisor in Penfield in 1971, she was that town’s first elected Democrat and the first woman to run a government in Monroe County.

Gossin has long been active in local environmental efforts, working to protect wetlands and fighting against pollution.

Downtown Rochester, N.Y., can feel a little removed from the Great Lakes. The front lawn of the Christ Church on East Avenue is almost 10 miles from the shores of Lake Ontario, which might be why some passers-by don’t recognize the lakes -- even when they’re standing right in front of them.

A view of High Falls from the Pont de Rennes bridge of the north east side of the Genesee River
Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The third annual Genesee RiverWatch Summit in Rochester focused on an area of concern that affects not only how healthy the river is, but how it looks.

The Genesee RiverWatch was formed several years ago when the Center for Environmental Initiatives decided to hone their mission and focus on a specific area of concern. The group holds an annual summit, inviting anyone with a stake in the river, its basin, or the lake into which it flows: Lake Ontario.

This year, leaders chose a topic of discussion that affects everyone who uses the waterway: stream bank erosion.

The European Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) is a highly invasive freshwater plant species.
Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District

Three New York institutions are getting help from the EPA to fight invasive species in the Great Lakes basin.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Paul Smith's College, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation are receiving a collective $1.5 million toward removal, protection, and outreach projects.

John Martin is a spokesperson for the EPA. He says this has become a priority because invasive species like the water chestnut are causing series economic and ecological problems.

WXXI photo

A Great Lakes restoration program has been reauthorized by the House of Representatives, but awaits final approval in the Senate.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says, fighting for money to clean up the Great Lakes is more important now than ever.

"Twenty percent of all fresh water on this planet is in the Great Lakes, and we have an obligation to that to make sure that we keep it clean and keep it drinkable."