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Wetlands need Cuomo’s support, from the Albany Times Union

September 26th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Two and a half years ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke passionately and factually about the value of healthy wetlands. Highlighting the state’s efforts in the New York City area after Hurricane Sandy, he said, “We devalued the purpose of vacant land, wetlands, around the body of water. And, we really just trampled on it. A wetland is called a wetland for a reason.”1958 Called Cuomo

His comments remain powerful today as a plan to restore healthy wetlands along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River awaits the approval of the U.S. and Canadian governments. And, we need his support.

Environmental considerations were never part of the planning process when the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam and the St. Lawrence shipping channel were built in the 1950s. As a result, outdated dam operations have caused significant losses to the upper St. Lawrence River’s wetlands, biodiversity and habitat. For this reason, American Rivers named the St. Lawrence River one of America’s 10 most endangered rivers earlier this year — the only one in New York.

In response to the ongoing devastation, a new approach to the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam operations was formulated. This approach, called Plan 2014, will increase wet meadow acreage by 40 percent, northern pike populations by 39 percent, and black tern populations by 16 percent. It will boost annual hydroelectric power production by $5.3 million, and annual recreational activity along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario by $9.1 million. Each of these benefits comes at no cost to taxpayers.

The plan was devised with the input of more than 180 stakeholder representatives, and referred to the two federal governments two years ago by the International Joint Commission.

Cuomo has received more than 22,000 petition signatures, letters and postcards in support of the plan, as well as letters from 42 environmental conservation and sportsmen organizations and 35 businesses and community leaders. Furthermore, former Gov. David Paterson and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis expressed support for Plan 2014’s precursor.

The governor, though, has been silent about the enactment of Plan 2014.

When I listen again to the governor’s words about the value of healthy wetlands, I remain inspired. Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the North Country deserve the same consideration as the New York City area. These wetlands must be restored, and Cuomo must take action now to support Plan 2014.

published in the Albany Times Union

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Save The River Submits to Comments to Public Service Commission on Wind Projects

September 14th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

from Save The River’s submission to the New York State Department of Public Service:

“The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a report based on radar generated data stating, ‘Our data demonstrate that the shoreline areas of Lake Ontario are important for migrating birds and bats. We have identified behaviors that concentrate migrants along the shoreline, demonstrated that these behaviors occur regularly throughout the season, and established that migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (USFWS 2012).’ (emphasis added)

Based on the Fish and Wildlife Service report the American Bird Conservancy concluded, “this new radar study suggests that the minimum should be extended even farther, perhaps as far as 10 miles.”

“The implications of this study for the likely impacts on migratory birds and bats of the three industrial wind projects currently proposed and proceeding now, all of which are well within 10 miles of Lake Ontario or St. Lawrence River shoreline, must be taken into account by every level of government agency – from local municipal, to state and federal – with permitting or oversight authority. In particular the New York State Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation which have shared responsibility, under Article 10, for the permitting and siting of industrial wind projects, must exercise their statutory authority and require the developers of these three projects undertake a joint, credible effort to apply the findings of the Fish and Wildlife Service report to the impacts of their projects on migratory birds and bats.

“Eagerness either for profits or quick solutions to the uncertainty of carbon-induced climate change cannot replace science or the development of sound environmental solutions that are protective of the ecosystem as a whole. Since 2010 Save The River has called for a moratorium on industrial wind projects in the environmentally significant and sensitive area that is the St. Lawrence River valley until a cumulative environmental assessment of the impacts of such projects has been conducted. In 2013 we objected to an industrial wind project proceeding to the application phase of the Article 10 process for the same reason. As recently as April, we reiterated this position.

Click the following for the full text of:

Save The River’s September 14, 2016 letter to the New York State Public Service Commission on the Horse Creek Wind Farm.

Save The River’s “Position on Industrial Wind Development in the St. Lawrence River Valley”

US Fish & Wildlife Service’s “Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report; Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York, Spring 2013 Season”

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Governor Cuomo on the Value of Healthy Wetlands

September 12th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Gov Cuomo spoke about the value of healthy wetlands at a New York Rising event at the State Capitol April 23, 2014.

His comments have direct application to the damage an out-dated dam management plan has caused to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and the need for a modern, restorative water levels plan – Plan 2014.

More than ever it is time for #Plan2014Now. Go to Plan2014Now.SaveTheRiver.org and let him know it’s time to speak up for the River and the people who depend on it being healthy.

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Beach Watch Weekly Report: Week 9

August 31st, 2016 | Posted by Kate

Save The River Reports on Week 9 of Beach Watch Program

Clayton, NY (August 31, 2016) – Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 5th through August 29th on a weekly basis.  Save The River reports all samples collected on August 29th, 2016 have passed.

For the 2016 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Frink Dock in Clayton, Round Island in Clayton, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay. Save The River’s unique program provides a glimpse of the water quality at popular swimming areas during the peak recreational swimming season.

Location Pass/Fail Parts per 100mL
Frink Park    PASS 1.0
Lake of the Isles    PASS 1.0
Potter’s Beach    PASS 10.9
Round Island      n/a n/a
Scenic View Beach    PASS 1.0
Wilson’s Beach 3 ft    PASS 1.0
Wilson’s Beach 6ft    PASS 2.0

Results are expressed in numbers of bacteria colonies found in 100 milliliter (mL) sample of swimming water.  The NY State Department of Health has set a swimming quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 mL of water.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for E. coli bacteria in all of its swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River will make the results available to the public each week with a pass/fail system at the organization’s office, online and by following Save The River on Facebook and Twitter. Results will also be posted on www.swimguide.org and in the T.I. Sun.

To sign up for weekly Beach Watch updates or for more information about the program please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

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Beach Watch Weekly Report: Week 8 Results

August 24th, 2016 | Posted by Kate

Save The River Reports on Week 8 of Beach Watch Program

Clayton, NY (August 24, 2016) – Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 5th through August 29th on a weekly basis.  Save The River reports all samples collected on August 22nd, 2016 have passed.

For the 2016 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Frink Dock in Clayton, Round Island in Clayton, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay. Save The River’s unique program provides a glimpse of the water quality at popular swimming areas during the peak recreational swimming season.

Location Pass/Fail Parts per 100mL
Frink Park    PASS 2.0
Lake of the Isles    PASS 3.1
Potter’s Beach    PASS 11.0
Round Island      n/a n/a
Scenic View Beach    PASS 1.0
Wilson’s Beach 3 ft    PASS 2.0
Wilson’s Beach 6ft    PASS 1.0

Results are expressed in numbers of bacteria colonies found in 100 milliliter (mL) sample of swimming water.  The NY State Department of Health has set a swimming quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 mL of water.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for E. coli bacteria in all of its swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River will make the results available to the public each week with a pass/fail system at the organization’s office, online and by following Save The River on Facebook and Twitter. Results will also be posted on www.swimguide.org and in the T.I. Sun.

To sign up for weekly Beach Watch updates or for more information about the program please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

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2016 Beach Watch: Week 7 Results

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Kate

Save The River Reports on Week 7 of Beach Watch Program

Clayton, NY (August 18, 2016) – Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 5th through August 29th on a weekly basis.  Save The River reports all samples collected on August 15, 2016 have passed.

For the 2016 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Frink Dock in Clayton, Round Island in Clayton, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay. Save The River’s unique program provides a glimpse of the water quality at popular swimming areas during the peak recreational swimming season.

Location Pass/Fail Parts per 100mL
Frink Park    PASS < 1.0
Lake of the Isles    PASS < 1.0
Potter’s Beach    PASS 3.1
Round Island      n/a n/a
Scenic View Beach    PASS 1.0
Wilson’s Beach 3 ft    PASS < 1.0
Wilson’s Beach 6ft    PASS 1.0

 

Results are expressed in numbers of bacteria colonies found in 100 milliliter (mL) sample of swimming water.  The NY State Department of Health has set a swimming quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 mL of water.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for E. coli bacteria in all of its swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River will make the results available to the public each week with a pass/fail system at the organization’s office, online and by following Save The River on Facebook and Twitter. Results will also be posted on www.swimguide.org and in the T.I. Sun.

To sign up for weekly Beach Watch updates or for more information about the program please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

 

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Winter Icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River?

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

2013 Ice on the River at Clayton“We [Save The River and the River community] remain vigilant to any renewed efforts for destructive ice-breaking for winter shipping and we stand ready to block it again.”

In a August 17 story by Brian Kelly the Watertown Daily Times covers the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Maritime Transportation Strategy that, among other things, “suggests ways the shipping season could be extended.”

Ice-breaking on the St. Lawrence River has not and will not be appropriate – either economically or environmentally.

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Industrial Wind Development Needs to Avoid Shoreline Areas

August 17th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

“The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our [US Fish and Wildlife Service] study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guideline.” (from the “Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report; Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York, Spring Season [just released])

This study must be taken into account by every level of government agency – from local municipal, to state and federal – that has any permitting or oversight authority at all. And, in particular the New York State Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation which have shared, sole responsibility, under Article 10, for the permitting and siting of industrial wind projects.

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service, after years of study, using radar generated data, issued a report this July Eagle on the St. Lawrence Riverstating, “Our data demonstrate that the shoreline areas of Lake Ontario are important for migrating birds and bats. We have identified behaviors that concentrate migrants along the shoreline, demonstrated that these behaviors occur regularly throughout the season, and established that migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (USFWS 2012).

Per Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of the American Bird Conservancy Bird-Smart Wind Energy Program, “The study provides fresh and compelling evidence that wind-energy development does not belong on the shores of the Great Lakes, as ABC, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, and other conservation groups have argued. It confirms what we have long known: In the absence of proven methods to reduce bird collisions with turbines, wind-energy development must be sited in areas where there are fewer birds and bats to minimize harm to these ecologically important animals.”

ABC continued “The FWS currently recommends that no wind turbines be built within three miles of the Great Lakes’ shorelines, while The Nature Conservancy recommends five miles. However, this new radar study suggests that the minimum should be extended even farther, perhaps as far as 10 miles. Unfortunately, the wind industry is eager to build in these sensitive areas.”

We couldn’t agree more.

more information at:
USFWS
American Bird Conservancy

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2016 Beach Watch: Week 6 Results

August 11th, 2016 | Posted by Kate

Save The River Reports on Week 6 of Beach Watch Program

Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 5th through August 29th on a weekly basis.  Save The River reports all samples collected on August 8, 2016 passed.

For the 2016 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson’s Beach in Cape Vincent, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Frink Dock in Clayton, Round Island in Clayton, Lake of the Isles on Wellesley Island, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay. Save The River’s unique program provides a glimpse of the water quality at popular swimming areas during the peak recreational swimming season.

Location Pass/Fail Parts per 100mL
Frink Park PASS <1.0
Lake of the Isles PASS <1.0
Potter’s Beach PASS 47.3
Round Island PASS 7.4
Scenic View Beach PASS 25.0
Wilson’s Beach 3 ft PASS 5.2
Wilson’s Beach 6ft PASS 1.0

Results are expressed in numbers of bacteria colonies found in 100 milliliter (mL) sample of swimming water.  The NY State Department of Health has set a swimming quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 mL of water.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for E. coli bacteria in all of its swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River will make the results available to the public each week with a pass/fail system at the organization’s office, online and by following Save The River on Facebook and Twitter. Results will also be posted on www.swimguide.org and in the T.I. Sun.

To sign up for weekly Beach Watch updates or for more information about the program please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

 

Frink Park located in Clayton is one of the popular swim areas on the River.

Frink Park located in Clayton is one of the popular swim areas on the River. Photo Credit: Ally Aiken

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Local Fishing Guide Participates in Discussion About Stopping Asian Carp

August 9th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Alexandria Bay fishing guide Matt Heath, owner of Seaway Charters, took part in a Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, basin-wide discussion about the threat of Asian Carp and what is needed to prevent their spread to the Lakes and River.

The meeting, organized by Freshwater Future, included guides from Illinois, Michigan, Ontario, Ohio and Matt.

Their conclusion: Physical separation is the only effective way to prevent the spread of Asian Carp.

As Matt pointed out, “We know from experience that aquatic invasive species have devastating impacts on the Great Lakes all the way down the St. Lawrence River. Preventing future invasions is crucial to protect our waters. Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin have invested time and resources to close their connections, and it’s time we finally shut the front door to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.”

From the Freshwater Future press release: “Asian carp are voracious eaters, eating up to 20% of their body weight. They spawn rapidly, and can grow to more than 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. To make matters worse, silver carp are easily startled and will jump up to 8 feet out of the water when disturbed by a passing boat. These fish have injured boaters in several states. These destructive fish dominate whole ecosystems, outcompeting native fish, like perch, bass, and walleye, for food and resources. . . Global biological invasions, including the potential carp invasion of the Great Lakes, could cost an estimated $1.4 trillion per year in damages – 5 percent of the global economy.”

We really appreciate Matt speaking out and participating in this very important issue. And we appreciate Freshwater Future for giving local voices a chance to speak out.

More at: Charter Boat Captains from Around the Region Calling on Congress to Separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River

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