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Beach Watch: Week 2 – July 8, 2019 Results

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

The Week 2 Beach Watch results from July 8, 2019 showed that the five locations that submitted samples all passed: Frink Park, Lake of the Isles, and Wilson Bay at 3’ depth all had E. coli bacteria colony levels of less than 1.0 per 100 milliliters (ml), Round Island had a level of 1.0 per 100 ml, Wilson Bay at 6’ depth had a level of 2.0 per 100 ml, and Scenic View Park had a level of 6.3 bacteria colonies per 100 ml. All of these levels are well below the New York State Health Department limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 ml, making all of these locations safe for swimming. A sample from Potters Beach was not taken on Week 1 and Week 2 due to a lack of volunteer availability, however, a sample has been taken for Week 3 (July 15) and results will be available later this week.

Save The River’s Beach Watch program aims to test the water quality of six local beaches and popular swimming destinations to ensure a safe swimming environment. Water quality is monitored by testing the levels of E. coli bacteria, which in high amounts can cause illness. E. coli is a common indicator used for testing of fecal contamination in waterways and is the recommended indicator in fresh waterways. Results are expressed in the number of bacteria colonies found in a 100 milliliter (ml) sample of swimming water. The New York State Health Department has set a swimming water quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 milliliters of water for a one-time sample and 126 colonies for an average result over five weeks.

With the help of volunteers, six swimming locations are tested every Monday for nine weeks from July 1 through August 26. The six testing sites are Frink Park in downtown Clayton, Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Round Island in Clayton, and Potters Beach on Grindstone Island. Weekly monitoring results are posted on Save The River’s social media, at their 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton storefront, and on the Swim Guide mobile app and website (theswimguide.org). This year the Beach Watch program is managed by summer intern, Molly Russell.

If a New York State swimming beach fails a water quality sample, the beach will close until it passes a resample test. However, Save The River monitors the Beach Watch program on a volunteer basis and has no authority to close the swimming areas we sample. The results are used to highlight areas of concern and inform landowners and stakeholders of potential health risks. When there is a situation of high bacteria, Save The River submits those results to local and state authorities for their use and action.

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Beach Watch: Week 1 – July 1, 2019 Results

July 3rd, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River’s Beach Watch program aims to test the water quality of six local beaches and popular swimming destinations to ensure a safe swimming environment. We do this by testing the levels of E. coli bacteria, which in high amounts can cause illness. E. coli is a common indicator used for testing of fecal contamination in waterways and is the recommended indicator in fresh waterways. Results are expressed in the number of bacteria colonies found in a 100 milliliter (ml) sample of swimming water. The New York State Health Department has set a swimming water quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 milliliters of water for a one time sample and 126 colonies for an average result over five weeks.

This year marks the 20th season of our Beach Watch program. We test six swimming locations with the help of volunteers every Monday for nine weeks from July 1 through August 26. Our testing sites are Frink Park in downtown Clayton, Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Round Island in Clayton, and Potters Beach on Grindstone Island. Weekly monitoring results are posted on our website, at the Save The River office, on our social media, and on the Swim Guide mobile app and website. This year the Beach Watch program is managed by summer intern, Molly Russell.

Our Week 1 results from July 1, 2019 showed the three locations we were able to obtain samples from all passed. Frink Park and Lake of the Isles both had levels of only 1 per 100ml and Scenic View Park had levels of 13.4 per 100 ml, all of which are well below the 235 per 100 ml maximum. A sample from Wilson’s Beach was unable to be taken this week as the access road is closed due to high water levels.

If a New York State swimming beach fails a water quality sample, the beach will close until it passes a resample test. However, Save The River monitors the Beach Watch program on a volunteer basis and has no authority to close the swimming areas we sample. The results are used to highlight areas of concern and inform landowners and stakeholders of potential health risks. When there is a situation of high bacteria, Save The River submits those results to local and state authorities for their use and action.

We still need a volunteer for Potters Beach to help us obtain samples so we can ensure safe swimming conditions in all six of our locations! Volunteers collect samples Monday mornings and bring the sample to Save The River by 9:15 am. If you would like to learn more about this volunteer opportunity or if you are willing and able to volunteer, you can email Patricia Shulenburg at Patricia@savetheriver.org or call the storefront at (315) 686-2010.

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Save The River Hosts International Joint Commissioners

June 28th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

On Friday, June 28, 2019 Save The River hosted three of the six new commissioners of the International Joint Commission (IJC) this morning, including both the U.S. and Canadian section chairs. The meeting began with Save The River Board president Captain Jeff Garnsey taking the commissioners and staff for a boat tour departing from Clayton’s village docks to show the commissioners the village waterfront and how businesses are coping with the high water. Moving upriver the tour paused to float in Grindstone Island’s Flynn Bay where Jeff, a fifth-generation fishing guide, explained that the bay is one of the area’s most important northern pike and muskellunge hatcheries and the return of more natural water levels, supported by Plan 2014, will reduce the dense mat of cattails that have choked the bay’s shorelines and prevented these prized sport fish from reaching their historical breeding grounds.

Jeff’s knowledge was supplemented by Tom Brown, Rob Campany, and Tony David all of whom are members of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB). 

Upon returning to shore, we met in our conference room where I began the roundtable discussion by reading Save The River’s opening remarks (click here to read). Congresswoman Elise Stefanik then addressed the group by phone to voice her longtime support of Plan 2014, the importance of fact-based assessments in the adaptive management process, and the need to address property owners concerns.

The group discussed the importance of the adaptive management component of Plan 2014, the need to listen to property owner’s concerns, the value of providing readily accessible education about the true causes of high water levels, and the vital importance of working together to build more resilient communities. 

In attendance at the meeting were: Jeff Garnsey – Save The River’s Board President and owner of Classic Island Cruises, myself, Jane Corwin – U.S. Section Chair of the IJC, Pierre Béland – Canadian Section Chair of the IJC, Lance Yohe – U.S. Commissioner of the IJC, Wayne Jenkinson – Senior Engineer Adviser of the IJC, Paul Allen – Programs and Communication for the IJC, Frank Bevacqua – Public Information Officer for the IJC, Tom Brown – Board Member of the ILOSLRB, Rob Campany – Board Member of the ILOSLRB, Phil Reed – Jefferson County Legislator, Rick Gregware – Save The River Board Director and owner of Northern Marine, Inc., Ann Ward – Save The River Board Director, Norma Zimmer – Mayor of the Village of Clayton, Tony David – Board Member of the ILOSLRB, Eric Mower – Eric Mower + Associates, Jim Howe – Executive Director of the Central and Western NY Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Bobby Cantwell – Jefferson County Legislator, Patricia Shulenburg – Program Manager of Save The River, and Margaret Hummel – Outreach Coordinator of Save The River. 

I have a great deal of empathy for everyone suffering from the effects of the high water. As I have previously shared, my family’s property is taking a beating with our boathouse significantly underwater – I wear boots to and from the boat every day. But we must recognize that this is a long term situation with the Great Lakes being at or near record high levels and experiencing record or above average precipitation caused by climate change. We all need to think about how we can make both our personal and municipal properties more resilient using environmentally sound methods whenever possible.

Thank you to our members for your support of Save The River, and the River. Let’s do everything we can to support our local businesses this year. 

I hope to see you soon on the River.

-John Peach, Executive Director of Save The River 

 

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2019 Historic High Water Levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario

June 17th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

A message from John Peach, Executive Director of Save The River and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper: 

This statement from our partners at The Nature Conservancy parallels Save The River’s position on the current water levels plan. Plan 2014 replaced the outdated Plan 1958D, which was drawn up when environmental science was in its infancy. For the first time, the water level regulations plan gave a voice to the environment, recreational boating, and provided for adaptive management to review and make recommended changes to the plan as time goes on.

Since it became apparent earlier this spring that the River was facing another extremely high water year, Save The River has been working with legislators and regulators to help our members and River residents have a better understanding of the causes. We hosted a boat tour and roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, River residents, local business owners and elected officials. We also spent a morning showing Government Accounting Office officials the environmental benefits and shoreline mitigation efforts that will result from more natural water level fluctuations.

This year’s high water has been caused by record or near record water levels in all of the Great Lakes coupled with above average rainfall in the Great Lakes and Ottawa River Basins. The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board acted responsibly by discharging the fourth highest recorded average outflows of water from the Moses- Saunders Dam from December 2018 through March 2019. However, once the flooding of the Ottawa River began to flood Montreal and displace thousands of families from their homes, the only responsible course of action for the Board was to slow the flow of water through the dam. To exacerbate Montreal’s flooded conditions with increased outflows would have been morally unacceptable to all residents on both sides of the border.

The historic high water is frustrating to all of us living and working on the River. I believe that we would all be better served to work together to help communities and residents understand and plan to adapt to future extreme water levels, rather than political posturing to curry favor with voters and shoreline residents.

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Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Save The River Host Roundtable Discussion

May 31st, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

On Wednesday, May 29 Congresswoman Stefanik visited Save The River for a working tour of the St. Lawrence River followed by a roundtable with local business owners, elected officials representing towns, villages, and counties along the River, and members of the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River (ILOSLR) Board.  

Jeff Garnsey, president of Save The River’s board of directors, captained the boat tour that began with a look at the work done to protect the village of Clayton’s waterfront properties. Moving upriver the tour paused to float in Grindstone Island’s Flynn Bay where Captain Garnsey, a fifth-generation fishing guide, explained that the bay is one of the area’s most important northern pike and muskellunge hatcheries and the return of more natural water levels, supported by Plan 2014, will reduce the dense mat of cattails that have choked the bay’s shorelines and prevented these prized sport fish from reaching their historical breeding grounds. As the tour moved downstreamand back to Clayton, the group was able to view how waterfront residents are modifying their docks, boathouses, and homes to the adapt to the high-water levels.

Following the boat tour, Save The River and Congresswoman Stefanik hosted a roundtable discussion with a wide spectrum of voices including business and tourism leaders, local elected officials, and members of the IJC to discuss both the benefits of Plan 2014 and the concerns of Riverfront residents about the water levels. Tom Brown, a U.S. member of the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, provided an educational background on the water level regulations plan (1958D) that historically governed the outflows of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and noted that that in reality Plan 2014 was not a dramatic change from prior plans but it acknowledges the critical importance of natural level fluctuations and accounts for previously unrepresented interests, including the environment and recreational boating. Brown, along with Save The River, reaffirmed the importance of moving forward with a continued commitment to Plan 2014, while acknowledging another important component of the plan: the Great Lakes Adaptive Management’s Committee who is tasked with the long-term adaptive management process to review and improve outflow regulation.

The discussion then turned to the extraordinary conditions that are causing high water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River this year including:

  • all five of the Great Lakes currently dealing with above average water levels, including Lake Erie which has reached record highs in the month of May and represents 80% of the inflow entering Lake Ontario,
  • significant spring runoff and heavy precipitation leading to the flooding of the Ottawa River basin, a water system that is nearly two and a half times the size of the Lake Ontario watershed basin, and which empties into the lower St. Lawrence River where it impacts downstream cities,
  • such as Montreal which has faced historic flooding since mid-April with over 10,000 residents who have had to evacuate their homes, and
  • above average precipitation throughout the region; Watertown has already recorded nearly double the average amount of rainfall for the month of May.

In short, Brown explained, “There is too much water upstream and there is too much downstream, there is nowhere for it to go.”

Rob Campany, also a U.S. member of the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, discussed the delicate balancing act of maximizing outflows, especially during the winter months when the board must closely monitor ice formation and adjust outflows to allow the formation of a stable ice cover to prevent ice jams that can cause devastating destruction and inland flooding. Campany noted that in the months of December 2018 through February 2019 record high outflows were achieved, the fourth highest outflows in over 100 years of monitoring. Without the increased outflows this past winter, this year’s flooding would have been more significant.

Discussion around the table included concerns from downriver residents who experienced extreme low water levels in 2018, the economic importance of an extended boating season supported by Plan 2014, and recollections of high-water years in past decades including the 1970s. Ron Thomson, owner and operator of Uncle Sam Boat Tours, noted that with all of the area’s outstanding tourist attractions “…the number one attraction is the River itself, which means the health of the River is critical for our business.”

Congresswoman Stefanik wrapped up the meeting by addressing concerns about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to local municipalities and encouraged local officials to contact her office so that they could work together to track FEMA applications. Stefanik also heard about the critical need for modern digital flood maps that are being created by FEMA across the nation but have not yet been created for the St. Lawrence River region; Stefanik noted that an official request will be made to prioritize mapping the River. Finally, Stefanik also commented that based on her conversations with Brown, Campany, and others it was clear that more work on shoreline resiliency was essential.

“It was important for Save The River to be able to take Congresswoman Stefanik and local leaders out on the River to see the measures being taken by the community and River residents to adapt to the high-water levels,” said John Peach, executive director of Save The River. “We’re grateful both for her ongoing support of Plan 2014 and for her response to our communities in these years’ of extreme conditions that create record high water levels.”

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30th Annual Winter Environmental Conference a Great Success

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Over 130 members of the River community came together at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel on Saturday, February 2, 2019, for Save The River’s 30th annual Winter Environmental Conference. Conference attendees had the opportunity to hear from and engage with a diverse group of speakers discussing a variety of topics related to the environmental health of the St. Lawrence River.

Peter Annin, author, and director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, kicked off the conference with an in-depth look at the long history of political maneuvers and water diversions that have proposed sending the resource of Great Lakes freshwater everywhere from Akron to Arizona. Annin discussed the history of the Great Lakes Compact, the legal document that went into effect in 2008, and explored several diversions that already exist and potential future diversions including the controversial Foxconn project that continues to make international headlines. At the lunch hour, Annin hosted an author meet and greet, providing attendees with the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of his recently revised and re-released book, The Great Lakes Water Wars.

Evie Brahmstedt, an Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. student at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment, presented the findings of her ongoing research of mercury in St. Lawrence River wetlands. Working in Dr. Michael Twiss’ Limnology lab, Brahmstedt is studying the amount of mercury present in St. Lawrence River wetlands, where it is going, in what form, and how quickly; as her research continues, Brahmstedt will keep Save The River updated on her findings.

Elaine Tack, a film producer and director and Save The River volunteer, was unable to make the trip to Clayton due to the winter storm but used her filmmaking skills to record and submit her presentation electronically. Tack introduced how she approaches the task of creating a documentary film, allowing the story to reveal itself in the process, and how serendipitous moments sometimes lead to key elements like the film’s title. Following Tack’s introduction video, the audience enjoyed the North Country premiere of “It’s Hard to be a Tern,” her short documentary following the work of Save The River, under the guidance of Dr. Lee Harper, to restore the population of common terns on the St. Lawrence River.

Following the lunch break, Rick Gregware, Save The River Board Director, presented the Friend of the River Award™ posthumously honoring Kenneth Deedy for his longtime contributions to protect the St. Lawrence River. Deedy served on Save The River’s Board of Directors from the mid-1980s to 1990s at a pivotal time in the organization’s history. Shortly before Deedy’s passing in August 2018, one of his final acts of generosity was creating the “Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship Fund” to benefit the work of Save The River, Thousand Islands Land Trust, and Minna Anthony Common Nature Center and ensuring that these organizations will continue to work together for the common good of the River.

Dr. John Casselman, an adjunct professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, provided a fascinating exploration of the elusive American eel, a species of great historical importance to the region that has faced a catastrophic decline in population. Once representing one half of the inshore fish biomass of the St. Lawrence River system, the American eel is now classified as an Endangered by Ontario and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lake Coalition, discussed one of the greatest threats to the health of the Great Lakes, Asian carp. Lord provided a historical exploration of why Asian carp were brought to the United States, how they escaped to open water systems, and the characteristics of the four Asian carp species. Lord discussed the components of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) proposed plan to block Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River southwest of Chicago, Illinois. The USACE plan is currently open to public comment and Save The River encouraged audience members to sign petitions at their tables in support of the plan.

Despite the sobering findings that she discussed, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason, Ph.D., Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State Behrend, brought great energy to her afternoon presentation “The Perils of Plastics.” Mason discussed some of her recent studies that showed the presence of micro and nano-plastics in beer, tap water, and bottled water and discussed the emerging studies of microplastic that is shed from fabrics. Previous research by Dr. Mason led to the federal ban of microbeads in consumer goods like toothpaste and face wash. Mason concluded her presentation with a rallying cry that when it comes to plastic in our environment, “Although we are the problem…that also means, we are the solution.”

The day concluded with an overview of two new sustainability initiatives gaining momentum in River communities. Robin Lucas, Save The River Board Director, discussed the goals of Save The River’s Replace Single-Use Plastics program, including educating community members and businesses about the harm caused by single-use plastic items like bags, utensils, straws, and take out containers while seeking environmentally-friendly, affordable, reusable alternatives. Liz Price-Kellogg and Monica Behan introduced All In the Same Boat, a new sustainability movement that encourages conversation and education to transform our communities. Following the conference, All In the Same Boat hosted a free community event at the Clayton Opera House where attendees screened a short film and brought their own cup in order to enjoy complimentary beverages.

“Preparations for the winter conference begin in July and August, so for months, we have been excited to bring these speakers to the River to share their vast knowledge. Throughout the day we heard positive feedback about the quality of the outstanding speakers and their presentations,” said John Peach, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River executive director. “We’re proud to put together this important event and showcase an array of River-related topics from protecting our freshwater resource, to studying contaminants like mercury and plastics in our water, to the status of endangered and threatened species, and what we can do about the of invasive species.”

For the first time, Save The River was able to offer a live stream feed of the entire conference. Working with Steve Weed Productions, the speakers were able to reach an even wider audience with one person tuning in all the way from the Dominican Republic. The video of the conference will be made available to all, both in its entirety and broken down into separate clips of each speaker; links will be shared on Save The River’s social media pages, website, and through their eNewsletter.

The Winter Environmental Conference was made possible through the support of business sponsors including Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Antique Boat America, Wellesley Island Building Supply, Horizon Marina, Converse Laboratories, Inc., The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, Sotheby’s International Realty, Bach & Co., and Ed Huck Marine and many individual sponsors.

Next year’s Winter Environmental Conference will be held on February 1, 2020.

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Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Seasonal Interns

February 11th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River is now accepting applications for two seasonal (mid-May through Labor Day) paid internship positions. Save The River interns have the opportunity to work closely with staff and volunteers while gaining invaluable experience at the region’s leading environmental advocacy nonprofit organization. Click here to read the complete position description.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 29, 2019. 

Save The River interns manage a diverse workload with primary responsibilities that include working in the storefront managing merchandise sales and encouraging visitors to become members, promoting public education, representing Save The River at community events including bass fishing tournaments, and implementing fieldwork projects including Beach Watch, Common Tern Monitoring, Shoreline Cleanups, and Catch and Release programs.

Ideal candidates will be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate environmental or related program, have familiarity with the St. Lawrence River and community, and flexibility to work weekends and some nights.

To apply: send resume, cover letter, and contact information for at least one professional and one personal reference to Save The River, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, New York 13624, or email full application package to info@savetheriver.orgIn order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please write your name (Last, First) and Summer Internship as the subject line of your email.

 

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Calling All Photographers!

February 4th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

We are now accepting submissions of St. Lawrence River photos for our annual calendar photo contest. All photos will be considered, including film prints and digital images, and pictures from all seasons on the River are encouraged. Over 90 images will be included in the calendar.

Photographers whose submissions are chosen as one of the 14 featured images (cover and 13 months) will receive a complimentary 2019-2020 calendar. Calendars will be available for sale in May 2019 with all proceeds directly supporting Save The River’s river protection programs.

The deadline for submission is March 4, 2019.

Information on submitting photos:

  • Submissions should include contact information including first and last name, mailing address, and email address.
  • Digital images must be high resolution and greater than 300 dpi. (Hint: The file size will be approximately 3 MB or larger).
  • Photographers submitting photos grant Save The River a non-exclusive right to use the image(s) for any purpose in perpetuity. Ownership of the image will remain the property of the photographer.
  • Photos can be submitted to Save The River via email to margaret@savetheriver.org with ‘Calendar Photo Contest’ in the subject or via postal mail to Save The River, Attention Calendar Photo Contest, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY, 13624.

Caption: The cover image of the 2018-2019 Save The River calendar was a unique submerged shot of the River bottom, taken by Anthony Ingerson. 

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Stopping Asian Carp: Past, Present, and Future

February 1st, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Asian carp are one of the biggest threats facing the Great Lakes today. The damage caused by this invasive fish could devastate the world’s largest surface freshwater resource. At tomorrow’s 30th Annual Winter Environmental Conference Chad Lord will look at this threat, examine what has already been done to keep these fish out and provide insights into where the region can go to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Chad Lord serves as the Policy Director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, where he develops and guides the implementation of the Coalition’s legislative and policy agenda in Washington, D.C. Before joining the HOW Coalition, Chad served for five years as senior legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN). Chad’s portfolio included energy, environment, transportation, international trade and budget and appropriations. Chad lives with his husband and 5-year old daughter in Washington, D.C. Chad was raised in southwest Minnesota and lived in there before moving to the District of Columbia. He attended St. Olaf College where he majored in political science and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1995.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will discuss the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.
  • Evie Brahmstedt will describe her ongoing research about mercury in St. Lawrence wetlands.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • Dr. John Casselman will discuss the catastrophic decline of the American eel in the St. Lawrence River system.

Hear Chad speak tomorrow, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar).

 New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be shared later today.

 

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Will Plan 2014 Create a Risk for Mercury Contamination?

January 30th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

St. Lawrence River wetlands contain a legacy of mercury content from past and present atmospheric deposition. Wetlands are considered areas of active mercury transformation and cycling, particularly those experiencing water level fluctuations. At this Saturday’s Winter Environmental Conference, Evie Brahmstedt will describe her current research of mercury in St. Lawrence River wetlands examining how much mercury is present, where it is going, in what form, and how quickly.

Brahmstedt is an Environmental and Engineering Ph.D. student at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment. Working in Dr. Michael Twiss’ Limnology lab, she is studying mercury cycling in freshwater riparian wetlands with a focus on the St. Lawrence River. Upon earning her Ph.D., Brahmstedt hopes to become a professor at an institution where she can further her research of freshwater wetland systems, teach and inspire future scientists, and be involved with environmental management through organizations that function at the interface of science and policy. In her spare time, Brahmstedt enjoys running marathon races.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will discuss the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.
  • Dr. John Casselman will explore the American eel, an elusive and highly migratory species whose population has faced a catastrophic decline in recent years.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • Chad Lord will explore the threat of Asian carp and what can be done to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Hear Evie Brahmstedt speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form.  

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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