Progress restoring the Genesee

The Remedial Action Committee (RAC) is a group of scientists and environmentalists, including the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health and Conservation Dr. Jeff Wyatt, that oversees progress restoring the Rochester Embayment EPA Area of Concern (AOC).

The AOC, including the lower 6 miles of the Genesee River adjacent to the Zoo and Lake Ontario shoreline between Bogus Point (Parma) and Nine Mile Point (Webster), was designated in 1987 by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement as a heavily polluted area due to historic industrial activities. 43 other AOCs have been identified across all of the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada.

Photo by Charlie Knauff
Photo by Charlie Knauff
Map provided by EPA
Rochester AOC Map, provided by EPA

We have made tremendous progress restoring our impaired lower Genesee River & Rochester harbor environment, which has seen everything from beach closings to fish & wildlife losses due to pollution. Our thriving population of 5,000 lake sturgeon, reintroduced in the Genesee since 2003, best exemplifies a healthier river ecosystem for wildlife and people.

Photo by Dr. Jeff Wyatt
Sturgeon thriving in the Genesee, photo by Dr. Jeff Wyatt


Photo by Dr. Jeff Wyatt
A sturgeon and storm drain exhibit at the Zoo, photo by Dr. Jeff Wyatt

The RAC continues to work diligently gathering scientific evidence so the Rochester Embayment AOC may some day soon be delisted.

Find more information about the Great Lakes and Rochester AOC Restoration here.