RENewsletter | December 1, 2013


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“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”


[11/24/2013 – 12/01/2013]


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action


*** The December 2013  Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to  Cornell Climate Change |  Go to Award.



Opening Salvo:  Water quality concerns for Rochester, NY’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program


The due date for public comment for Rochester, NY’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) comes to an end this December. You can complete a survey and/or submit a comment online here: Rochester LWRP Update. The description of the program is as follows from the City of Rochester: “The purpose of this project is to update the city’s LWRP and expand the boundary of the plan to include all of the city’s waterfront areas along Lake Ontario, the Genesee River and the Erie Canal.”


The ten questions on the survey mostly contain a wish-list of projects to make life more appealing to those who visit, live, or want to develop along our city’s waterfronts.  Stuff like creating a skate park, more fishing sites, more bars and restaurants, more residential homes, and more trails figure large. And then there is a project peculiar to our city, and I suspect wildly expensive, the ‘re-watering the old Erie Canal through downtown’.  There’s also the Garden Ariel loop project that would “Through stewardship, innovative design, and community outreach to preserve natural and historic resources, and cultivate High Falls transformation into a world-class public green space.” 


One survey option—“naturally preserved, undeveloped” must have been thrown in as a sop to hardcore environmentalists because out of all the options this would be the most expensive, spending millions of dollars to clean-up this developed and historically abused region—and then do nothing with it except let Nature be Nature.  If this option sends chills down the spine of future developers, don’t worry; it has about the same chance as a rich climate denier passing through the eye of a needle.  


My focus is on the water quality of one these projects’s centerpieces, the Genesee River.  It’s going to be hard to enjoy any of the suggestions listed in the survey (they mention casinos) if the water is lousy. The Genesee River has been given some negative news lately, as it has been named the 32nd most toxic polluted river in the US according to this report: Wasting Our Waterways 2012  by Environment America Research and Policy Center, March 22, 2012. 


A troubling note comes from a local mainstream media article.  While rhapsodizing on the Genesee’s great fishing, it just happens to mention  “Most fish caught here are stocked rather than wild” Rochester's Lower Falls an angler's paradise  (November 16, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). A healthy, thriving riparian and river ecology with a healthy fishing industry is not one that has to be continually stocked.


And then there’s this from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:


Various recreational uses, aquatic life support and aesthetics in urban waterways of the Lower Genesee River are significantly restricted by pollutants from various industrial, municipal, commercial and other sources in the highly-urbanized metropolitan Rochester area and surrounding suburban communities. Nonpoint urban runoff flushes a variety of pollutants and debris into the river. Contaminated sediments, inactive hazardous waste sites and other impacts attributed to past/historic discharges also limit uses. (Page 5, The 2001 Genesee River Basin  Waterbody Inventory and Priority Waterbodies List, Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Research, Division of Water, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation


There’s a wonderfully comprehensive and detailed study from the University of Rochester on how we, and perhaps other communities around the state, might develop their waterfronts with the public’s health in mind. It’s the Healthy Waterways: A Health Impact Assessment of the City of Rochester, New York’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Report, May 2013


Healthy Waterways was a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the City of Rochester, NY's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) update. … In the Healthy Waterways report, we provide information and recommendations to help decision makers and stakeholders understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions, while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities. In so doing, we hope to create a statewide model for incorporating HIA in the LWRP process. (University of Rochester Medical Center)


This report and the cautionary reports that the Genesee River needs some serious TLC for its water quality, should come before any of the other projects of the  (LWRP) are entertained—not as an afterthought.  (Click on my email for feedback)





* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook:  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment,


I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.


The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to save ourselves?


“Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” -- Carl Sagan


My companion book to written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on and Kindle We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books



NewsLinks Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]




Updates Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments. Text in BOLD are my comments.]





Events Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.


February 2014



April 2014





Action Take Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





Environmental Site of the Month Award:


This month’s Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to newly re-vamped Cornell Climate Change site.  For our Western New York State, this site is the one-stop source authority for how Climate Change will affect our region and the myriad solutions to deal with that.  If can only go to one place to find out about Climate Change in our region, go here. 


“The website provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary gateway to climate change events, initiatives, research, student courses and organizations, and public engagement at Cornell University. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges faced by our generation, and Cornell researchers are involved with many aspects of addressing this challenge regionally and globally.  In addition to climate scientists who document climate change trends and develop models to project the future, others at Cornell are working on ways to build resilience to climate change in our communities, farms, and natural landscapes.  Cornell engineers are working on energy solutions to slow the pace of climate change, while those in the social sciences and humanities provide perspective on the economic issues and human impacts that inform policy decisions.”