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Happy Birthday Haas!

August 18th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Haas Cover

Happy Birthday Haas!
One year ago Save The River published Juliane Flora’s children’s book Haas the Great Blue Heron: The Beginning of an Adventure and since then over 400 copies have been purchased and an exciting curriculum has been created.
Students throughout the North Country are enjoying their connection with the great blue heron and the River by reading Haas the Great Blue Heron and participating in Save The River’s In the Schools program.
Thanks to all who have supported Save The River’s education program with their purchase. Haas the Great Blue Heron is available at www.amazon.com and at Save The River.
Let us know what you think! We welcome your comments by writing a Customer Review on Amazon at http://ow.One year ago Save The River published Juliane Flora’s children’s book Haas the Great Blue Heron: The Beginning of an Adventure and since then over 400 copies have been purchased and an exciting curriculum has been created.

One year ago Save The River published Juliane Flora’s children’s book Haas the Great Blue Heron: The Beginning of an Adventure and since then over 400 copies have been purchased and an exciting curriculum has been created.

Students throughout the North Country are enjoying their connection with the great blue heron and the River by reading Haas the Great Blue Heron and participating in Save The River’s In the Schools program.

Thanks to all who have supported Save The River’s education program with their purchase. Haas the Great Blue Heron is available at Amazon.com and at Save The River.

Let us know what you think! We welcome your comments by writing a Customer Review on Amazon

And if you buy a copy (or more) the proceeds go to benefit Save The River.

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Save the date! September 12th, 3-5pm

August 18th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

2015 WSFF Small Poster Final

Save The River and Clarkson University are partnering to bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival to the River region this fall.

Join us on September 12th at Clarkson University from 3-5pm to enjoy short films and discussion focused on a healthy environment and clean water. This event is free of charge and open to everyone.

Stay tuned for more details.

Generous support also provided by the Northern New York Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council – Ogdensburg Free Academy.

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How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever

July 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin

How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever, published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by Dan Egan.

MJS GREATLAKES

A primer on invasive species in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Worth a re-read this Invasive Species Awareness Week.

an excerpt: ” . . . the consequences of opening a nautical freeway into the Great Lakes for globe-roaming freighters proved disastrous — at least 56 non-native organisms have since been discovered in the lakes, and the majority arrived as stowaways in freighter ballast tanks.

These invaders have decimated native fish populations and rewired the way energy flows through the world’s largest freshwater system, sparking an explosion in seaweed growth that rots in reeking pockets along thousands of miles of shoreline. The foreign organisms are implicated in botulism outbreaks that have suffocated tens of thousands of birds on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. They are among the culprits responsible for toxic algae blooms on Lake Erie that threaten public water supplies.”

The whole series deserves a close read. Find it here: http://ow.ly/PCvWJ

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Invasive Species Awareness Week to be annually held from July 12th-18th.

July 14th, 2015 | Posted by admin

The New York State Executive Chamber Proclamation instated by Governor Cuomo declaring Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) to be annually held from July 12th-18th.
ISAW promotes organizations and citizens to engage in events that help raise awareness about invasive species—an important component to invasive species prevention and management.

For more information on how Save The River is working to prevent the spread of invasive species visit:http://www.savetheriver.org/index.cfm?page=app.programsBallast

proclamation-1

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Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

July 13th, 2015 | Posted by admin

stop aquatic hitchhikersImportant steps for anyone boating on the St. Lawrence River (and not just during Invasive Species Awareness Week) from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website:

Information on how to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Boats, trailers, waders and other fishing and boating equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned, dried or disinfected after use. Although some invasive species such as water milfoil are readily visible to the human eye, many others are too small to be readily noticed. To avoid spreading invasive species please follow the guidelines in the following steps:

Check
Clean
Drain
Dry
Disinfect

Details here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html

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Invasive Species Awareness Week

July 12th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Today marks the start of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week.

We know a little bit about invasive species here on the St. Lawrence. In fact, we’ve become a vector for for their movement from our waters to others in the state and provinces. The invasion of non-native, harmful species goes back to at least the construction of the Erie Canal. But it wasn’t until the opening of the River and the Great Lakes to international shipping in the 1950’s that the scope and pace of the invasion threatened to completely upend theH20 Highway natural ecosystem and species dependent on it.

It is estimated that at least 65% of the invasives now in the St. Lawrence – from quagga and zebra mussels, to bloody red shrimp, to round goby, to a hundred more came in through the locks of The St. Lawrence Seaway (or Highway H2O as it has been branded) in the ballast of ocean-going ships (“salties”).

After decades of efforts to stop this traffic in unwanted organisms the Seaway began requiring saltwater flushes in mid-ocean for all salties before they could enter the St. Lawrence system. Since then no new invasives have been identified. New research is raising questions about the effectiveness of this method of stopping invasives. Meanwhile EPA and the Coast Guard have put rules in place requiring treatment of discharges to remove live organisms – rules several U.S. Senators want to undo. And there is still the very real threat of Asian Carp.

It may be the River has not seen its last invasive species. More throughout this Invasive Species Awareness Week.

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Happy World Wetlands Day 2015!

February 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin
World Wetlands Day Logo
Happy World Wetlands Day 2015!
Mary Mitchell Water's edge

Wetlands purify and replenish our water, support native fish and wildlife, act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought, and protect our shorelines. They burst with biodiversity, and are a vital means of storing carbon.

On the River, supporting wetlands means adopting Plan 2014 – a modern water levels plan that will restore 64,000 acres of wetlands on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

Click here to write Governor Cuomo and ask him to join the effort to restore lost wetlands.

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New Data Show Multiple Asian Carp eDNA Hits Just Yards from Lake Michigan

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin

(Wednesday, January 14, 2015) Chicago, IL – Asian carp continue to knock on the door of the Great Lakes, based on eDNA sampling results released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The sampling data, collected in October, show the presence of bighead or silver carp DNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Most alarming is detection of carp DNA very near the lock in downtown Chicago – less than one city block from Lake Michigan.

In the face of this threat, last winter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) with no clear recommendation for next steps to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from moving between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. The GLMRIS report does, however, identify restoring the natural divide between the two waterways as the one long-term solution effective in preventing the movement of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. The report identified 13 invasive species at significant risk of moving between the waterways. Despite this finding, agencies and elected officials have yet to commit to this solution.

A committee of key, diverse regional stakeholders known as the “Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee” has been formed with a goal to reach consensus on a set of recommendations to elected and appointed local, state and federal officials and the public on short-and long-term measures to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from moving between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins through the CAWS. The Advisory Committee is working toward a deadline of Dec. 15, 2015, with interim work products as appropriate.

“Save The River supports this effort 100% because there is no doubt that, once in Lake Michigan, any invasive species, Asian Carp or other, will make its way to the St. Lawrence River, said Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River Executive Director. “Sadly, we do not have to speculate about the damage invasives cause. We know first hand, so we believe it is important to be part of this effort.”

In the shorter term, the people of the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins need quick action to reduce the risk of invasive species moving between these two great waters. While no substitute for a permanent solution to the problem, immediate risk-reduction steps can be taken, including:

  • Design of a new engineered channel to be constructed in the approach to the Brandon Road lock, a potentially effective location for reducing one-way movement of species towards the Great Lakes;
  • Evaluation, engineering, and design of control technologies to deploy in the approach channel and the Brandon Road lock structure; and
  • Research to further evaluate reconfiguring locks as a means to control aquatic invasive species while maintaining the health of native aquatic life and habitat.

DNA evidence is an early detection tool to understand the potential movement of carp, and testing results have consistently found DNA hits on a path closer and closer to the Great Lakes over the past several years of testing. We cannot afford to wait until a breeding population shows up in the Chicago River. Prevention needs to happen now, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other key decision makers should take swift action.

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Catch & Release End of the Year Update – 2014

December 19th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

This summer Save The River added smallmouth bass to our longstanding Catch and Release program.Addison Swenson

Since 1987 we have promoted catch and release fishing for Muskellunge, a species threatened on the St. Lawrence River, saving over 1,000 of these iconic fish. The addition of bass to Save The River’s Catch and Release Program is a continuation of our efforts to improve the overall health of the St. Lawrence River and to ensure a healthy, sustainable fishery.

We are adding lessons on catch and release to current In The Schools and On The Water programs for K-12 students. Students will learn about the different types of fish in the River, what impacts have been made on bass populations and how to properly practice catch and release techniques.

Catch yes, but eat fresh and release the rest.

Click here to go to the full update.

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Watertown Daily Times nails it:”Proceed with Plan 2014″

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by admin

Proceed with Plan 2014: Proposal can sensibly regulate waterways, mitigate flooding

Despite the irrefutable scientific research that the status quo is diminishing the quality of the ecosystems of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River, public officials representing southern lake waterfront communities want nothing to change.

The International Joint Commission has urged the U.S. and Canadian governments to adopt its Plan 2014. This would make these waterways healthier and prepare for climate change by regulating the extreme high and low water levels and follow their natural, seasonal flows.

“After years of intensive analysis and extensive consultation with governments, experts, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River interests, and the public, the IJC concludes that a new approach to regulating the flows and levels of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, Plan 2014, should be implemented as soon as possible,” according to the executive summary of Plan 2014. “The IJC finds that the regulation of water levels and flows in the St. Lawrence River in accordance with the 1952 and 1956 Orders of Approval has damaged ecosystems along the coast of Lake Ontario and upper St. Lawrence River over the last 50 years or more. The effects of the regulation of water flows and lake levels on ecosystems were not fully understood or considered when the existing Order of Approval and regulation plan were developed. However, robust coastal ecosystems are now recognized as essential in both countries, and the IJC finds that the effects on ecosystems should now be considered along with effects to other interests and uses.”

People living in coastal properties along the southern lakeshore, however, believe that Plan 2014 would increase the potential for flooding. The Monroe County Legislature and Wayne County Board of Supervisors have passed resolutions opposing the IJC’s proposal. Some state legislators from these regions have called on U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry to thwart efforts to carry out the plan.

Under most circumstances, the IJC may enact its own Orders of Approval. But the flows of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are moderated through the release of water at the Robert H. Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Massena and Cornwall. Since the applications to operate the dams were made by the U.S. and Canadian governments, they are the entities that must approve Plan 2014 for it to be implemented.

The problem with the call by south shore partisans to block Plan 2014 is there are no accompanying recommendations to reverse the damage done to the ecosystems over the past several decades. Keeping things the way they are will only ensure that the health of these waterways continues to deteriorate.

It’s imperative that the U.S. and Canadian governments implement Plan 2014. And in doing so, there is a way to deal with possible riparian damage.

Regulating the waterways as called for in Plan 2014 will ramp up output of the Robert H. Moses-Saunders Power Dam and, thus, increase New York Power Authority revenues by millions of dollars a year. The state should enact legislation requiring that a sufficient portion of those new dollars generated from the increased flow in the St. Lawrence should be set aside to support appropriate mitigation.

If the IJC proposal is adopted, concerns for the ecosystems as well as coastal properties will be addressed. But doing nothing will only force more drastic action in the future when the environment and the vibrancy of the lake and river to support nature and humankind will have deteriorated even more.

Published Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by the Watertown Daily Times

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