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Save The River Appoints Executive Director

August 24th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River announced today that John Peach has been appointed to serve as the executive director and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper. Peach had been serving as the interim executive director since mid-June while a search committee received applications from potential candidates. Peach previously served on Save The River’s board of directors for nearly two decades.

“John was the obvious and overwhelming first choice as the new executive director. His years of experience in not-for-profits along with his love of our River made him an easy selection,” said Jeff Garnsey, president of Save The River’s board of directors. “John brings with him the energy to guide our organization as well as hands-on experience to make the tough decisions required by the position.”

“My passion is that Save The River remains strong in our work to protect the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education, and research,” said Peach. “Now that Plan 2014 has been approved and is in operation, it will allow Save The River to focus on key river issues such as plastics in the River and water column, the very real threat of aquatic invasive species including Asian Carp, pollution from river municipalities, residential sewages, and agriculture run-off, and the threat of diversion of our precious fresh water. Save The River’s In the Schools and On the Water programs placed 950 students and 37 educators out on the River this year for hands-on scientific education. Our Common Tern restoration program in conjunction with Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) saw a record-breaking number of Tern chicks banded. Our Beach Watch water quality analysis of six swimming sites is now its twentieth year, and our shoalmarkers continue to guide River boaters safely around many of the area’s most treacherous shoals.”

John joined Save The River’s board in 2000 and has served in several key roles including as president from 2004-2007, on the executive committee, and most recently as treasurer leading the finance committee. He is an active volunteer in Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring program and shoal marking program and will continue his work in these programs while serving as executive director. Prior to his retirement several years ago, Peach worked as an international business consultant in fields including arts, oceanographic research, environmental, and pharmaceuticals. He and his wife Pat call Huckleberry Island near Ivy Lea home for a significant portion of the year; their children and grandchildren represent the fifth and sixth generations of family living in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region.

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Save The River Remembers Ken Deedy

August 16th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River remembers Ken Deedy, Board of Directors Emeriti

Ken Deedy served on the Board of Directors from the mid-80s to 90s, a pivotal time in Save The River’s history as the organization developed dynamic programs engaging River residents and established a stable financial foundation with a permanent home in Clayton. Ken was an earnest and enthusiastic member of Save The River, someone who saw the big picture and was full of ideas for synergistic collaboration.

“I was very fortunate to come to know Ken over the last twenty years. He was one of the most intense individuals I’ve ever met when speaking about protecting our beloved Thousand Islands. Always generous with his time and money, he was usually in the lead on any project that benefited The River,” said John Peach, Executive Director of Save The River. “So it was no surprise to us when we learned that one of Ken’s final acts of generosity was to create 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 ensure that these organizations continue to work together for the common good of The River.”

The Board and staff of Save The River are humbled and inspired by the example set by Ken in his work to protect the St. Lawrence River.

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2018 Run for the River™ 5K/10K Results

July 28th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Congratulations to all of our runners and walkers! Save the date for next year: July 27, 2019.

Click here for the complete 5K results

Click here for the complete 10K results

 

5K Award Results

Top 3 overall female 5K runners:

  1. Connie Hammaker (21:24)
  2. Lesley Vars (23:17)
  3. Lisa King (23:52)

Top 3 overall male 5K runners:

  1. Duncan Stuard (18:16)
  2. Luke Riddoch (18:35)
  3. Bill Monroe (18:50)

Top 5K finishers by age groups:

Male 13 and under – Finn Kosich (19:31)

Female 13 and under – Lee McKinley (24:52)

Male 14-19 – Jon Baker (21:44)

Female 14-19 – Olivia Riddoch (27:34)

Male 20-29 – Jake Esformes (20:24)

Female 20-29 – Heather Valdez (24:24)

Male 30-39 – Robert Gigliotti (18:54)

Female 30-39 – Shannon Main (24:26)

Male 40-49 – Ronald Bertram (22:52)

Female 40-49 – Tammy McCall (25:32)

Male 50-59 – Timothy Percy (20:51)

Female 50-59 – Mary Ann Haigh (25:48)

Male 60-69 – Paul Preston (24:25)

Female 60-69 – Nancy Carestia (24:13)

Male 70+ – George Gustafson (34:20)

Female 70+ – Donna Jamison (51:03)

10K Award Results

Top 3 overall female 10K runners:

  1. Meredith Kennedy (41:44)
  2. Anne Reilly (44:40)
  3. Roxanne Marmion (45:43)

Top 3 overall male 10K runners:

  1. Jason McElwain (36:22)
  2. Jeff Lapierre (37:10)
  3. Patrick Farrell (42:11)

Top 10K finishers by age groups:

Male 13 and under – N/A

Female 13 and under – N/A

Male 14-19 – Owen Stevens (50:51)

Female 14-19 – Kassidy Roberts (1:12:54)

Male 20-29 – Nicholas Clemente (42:29)

Female 20-29 – Brittany Hains (52:54)

Male 30-39 – Ben Sears (45:58)

Female 30-39 – Danielle Kuebler (45:47)

Male 40-49 – Mike Strasser (48:09)

Female 40-49 – Kerri Crandall (49:39)

Male 50-59 – Charles Flynn (42:31)

Female 50-59 – Beth Labulis (53:08)

Male 60-69 – N/A

Female 60-69 – Nancy Werthmuller (54:02)

Male 70+ – N/A

Female 70+ – N/A

 

 

 

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Save The River Announces Interim Executive Director

June 11th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River announced today that John Peach has been appointed to serve as the executive director and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper in an interim capacity until a new director has been hired. John has resigned from his position on the board of directors to serve in this interim role. The search process for the next executive director has already begun, overseen by a search committee chaired by Diane Leonard, secretary of the board.  

“We are pleased to have John stepping into this leadership role while we search for our next executive director,” said Jeff Garnsey, president of Save The River’s board of directors. “His experience as a long-time board member and active volunteer ensures that we will continue the progress we’ve made during Lee Willbanks’ time as executive director. John will provide continuity for our projects while we focus on finding the right person to join our organization.”

“My passion is that Save The River remains strong in our work to protect the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education, and research,” said Peach. “Summer is a busy season for us with many of our programs and events taking place in the next few months, including the celebration of our 40th anniversary. I look forward to representing our organization and will be available to our members and communities both at the office and out on the River.”

John joined Save The River’s board in 2000 and has served in several key roles including as president from 2004-2007, on the executive committee, and most recently as treasurer leading the finance committee. He is an active volunteer in Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring program and shoal marking program and will continue his work in these programs while serving as executive director. Prior to his retirement several years ago, Peach worked as an international business consultant in fields including arts, oceanographic research, environmental, and pharmaceuticals. He and his wife Pat call Huckleberry Island near Ivy Lea home for a significant portion of the year; their children and grandchildren represent the fifth and sixth generations of family living in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region.

The complete executive director job description and application instructions are available here.

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Save The River Questions Oil on the River at Great Lakes Forum 2016

October 11th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Crude oil has no place on the River or its tributaries. While at the Great Lakes Public Forum, Riverkeeper and Save The River’s Executive Director had a chance to remind the panelists of the 1976 Nepco 140 spill of 300,000 gallons of crude oil on the St. Lawrence River – at the time the largest inland oil spill in North America and to ask about measures to deal with spills from pipelines, and rail, as well as ships.

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable and fragile natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire history.

Although refined petroleum products are currently transported on the River, crude oil is not. Two very different and very dangerous types of crude are poised to transit the St. Lawrence River. One, Bakken crude, is extremely volatile, even explosive as seen in numerous “bomb train” incidents in recent years. The other, tar sands oil, is heavy enough to sink in freshwater where, with current technology it is unrecoverable.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities.

Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes. As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, either in the holds of ships, through pipelines or in rail cars, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

More on Save The River’s position and advocacy to protect the St. Lawrence River from spills.

The whole Great Lakes Public Forum was live streamed by Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Now coverage. Click here for their coverage.

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Join Senator Schumer Tomorrow, Speak out about Montreal Sewage Dumping

October 8th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

2015-10-08 eblast

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Plan 2014 Benefits Touted; New York Times Article

March 12th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Benefits of Plan 2014 to the River and Lake ecosystem and communities dependent on them touted by 3rd generation fishing guide, 7th generation Grindstone Islander and Save The River Board member Jeff Garnsey in New York Times article. “It’s a heartbreaker to watch a big fish like that die because it’s not able to spawn,” says Jeff.
Also from the article “The plan represents an opportunity to return to the rhythms of nature by letting the lake levels fluctuate more throughout the year. The plan’s drafters say this would heal ecosystems damaged by decades of artificial control, including declines in some fish and bird populations, depleted wetlands and the runaway growth of cattails along the coast.”
Sadly the article also points out that shippers, the Seaway and south shore property owners continue to want all the benefits of the current plan, while all theNew York Times covers issue of water levels on the St. Lawrence River.
“It’s a heartbreaker to watch a big fish like that die because it’s not able to spawn,” says Jeff Garnsey, 3rd generation fishing guide, 7th generation Grindstone Islander and Save The River Board member.
The benefits of Plan 2014 to the River and Lake ecosystem and communities dependent on them are touted by Jeff and others in the article.
“The plan represents an opportunity to return to the rhythms of nature by letting the lake levels fluctuate more throughout the year. The plan’s drafters say this would heal ecosystems damaged by decades of artificial control, including declines in some fish and bird populations, depleted wetlands and the runaway growth of cattails along the coast.”
Sadly the article also points out that shippers, the Seaway and south shore property owners continue to want all the benefits of the current plan, while all the risks are borne by others.

New York Times covers issue of water levels on the St. Lawrence River.

“It’s a heartbreaker to watch a big fish like that die because it’s not able to spawn,” says Jeff Garnsey, 3rd generation fishing guide, 7th generation Grindstone Islander and Save The River Board member.

The benefits of Plan 2014 to the River and Lake ecosystem and communities dependent on them are touted by Jeff and others in the article.

“The plan represents an opportunity to return to the rhythms of nature by letting the lake levels fluctuate more throughout the year. The plan’s drafters say this would heal ecosystems damaged by decades of artificial control, including declines in some fish and bird populations, depleted wetlands and the runaway growth of cattails along the coast.”

Sadly the article also points out that shippers, the Seaway and south shore property owners continue to want all the benefits of the current plan, while all the risks are borne by others.

Full article here: Around Lake Ontario, Neighbors Debate a Dam, Property Values and Muskrats

Jeff Garnsey is a third-generation fishing guide along the St. Lawrence River, whose family has lived on the river since the early 1800s. HEATHER AINSWORTH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jeff Garnsey is a third-generation fishing guide along the St. Lawrence River, whose family has lived on the river since the early 1800s. HEATHER AINSWORTH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

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7News This Morning Covers Approaching Winter Conference

January 30th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Thanks to 7News This Morning with Jeff Cole and Beth Hall for inviting us on the show to talk about Save The River’s 26th Annual Winter Environmental Conference.

Executive Director / Riverkeeper Lee Willbanks spoke with John Moore and Beth Hall about the Conference’s focus on issues facing the St. Lawrence River – the potential transport of tar sands oil on the River, the status of a new water levels plan, the health of the fishery and where the effort to ban microbeads stands. Save The River’s education programs will also be highlighted.

See the clip: Exec. Dir. on 7News This Morning

The Conference is next Saturday, February 7th at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. For more information and how to register call 315-686-2010 or visit the conference page

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Binational Local Support for Plan 2014 Continues

November 10th, 2014 | Posted by admin

Resolutions in support of Plan 2014 have recently been passed by St. Lawrence County, New York, Gananoque, Ontario, and Mallorytown, Ontario.

View the Resolutions

Local governments continue to pass resolutions in support of Plan 2014.

Can

15 River communities from the U.S. and Canada have now gone on record supporting this modern water levels plan.

Communities previously passing resolutions are:

  • Jefferson County
  • Town of Clayton
  • Town of Cape Vincent
  • Town of Morristown
  • Town of Potsdam
  • Town of Hammond
  • Town of Alexandria
  • Town of Massena
  • Town of Lisbon
  • Village of Clayton
  • Village of Cape Vincent
  • City of Ogdensburg.
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Great Lakes racing to prepare for a new kind of oil spill-WBEZ Radio Chicago

September 16th, 2014 | Posted by admin

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Ninth District is in charge of protecting the maritime interests of the Great Lakes. Those interests include industries like shipping, fishing, and tourism that create billions of dollars in revenue for the Great Lakes basin each year. And so, the agency is always thinking about oil spills. It conducts dozens of tabletop and real world preparation exercises every year to prepare.

But the oil spill game is changing.The explosion in tar sands production in western Canada means increasing amounts of crude oil is making its way to the American Midwest. Imports of crude oil to the Midwest reached a record high earlier this month, according to the Energy Information Association. Tar sands bitumen is different than traditional crude oil. It’s heavier and it sinks in freshwater. And that has caught the attention of the people in charge of cleaning up oil spills, including the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The Midwest and the Great Lakes lie at a virtual crossroads of production and transportation and distribution. And because those things carry inherent risk. we’re faced with some tough questions about how to deal with that,” says Rear Admiral Fred Midgette, who commands the U.S. Coast Guard’s Ninth District.

“From my perspective, clearly one of the most important things that are going to happen in the next decade is how we handle this issue of heavy oil. We need to get it right,” he told a crowd last week in Detroit at the International Spill Control Organization’s annual forum. ISCO has been around for decades, but this was the first time its annual forum focused exclusively on responding to heavy, Group V oils that can sink in water.

The reason why has a lot to do with what happened four years ago in the small town of Marshall, Michigan. On July 26, 2010, a 30-inch pipeline belonging to Enbridge Energy Partners LLP burst and spilled over a million gallons of tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek. From there, it made its way to the Kalamazoo River where it traveled over 35 miles downstream, coating birds, turtles, and other wildlife with oil.

Cleaning up the river took longer than anyone expected. That’s because tar sands oil is too thick to move through a pipeline on its own–imagine a kind of shiny, black peanut butter. It’s thinned out with other chemicals to get it flowing. But when the mixture is exposed to air, those chemicals gradually evaporate over a period of several days or weeks. At the Kalamazoo River, that left behind over a million gallons of heavy, sticky goo at the river bottom. Crews are finally wrapping up the dredging process four years and nearly $1 billion later.

“I can’t speak for a lot of the other players, but I know for us the EPA response and the Enbridge response to the Kalamazoo, I think opened a lot of people’s eyes in that the threat is real from heavy oils and what they can do to the environment,” says Jerry Popiel, incident management advisor for the Coast Guard’s 9th District.

Popiel says there aren’t any vessels carrying tar sands crude oil on the Great Lakes right now, but at least one company–Calumet Specialty Products Partners in Indianapolis–has expressed interest in the idea. And that has Popiel thinking about the challenges of responding to a such a spill in the Great Lakes.

“It’s one thing when you have 10 feet of water, 5 feet of water, or maybe 30 feet of water. Well, okay there are tethers and things and divers you might potentially use for there. That’s one set of problems. If it happens in Lake Superior in 800 feet of water, that’s a different set of problems,” he says.

Right now, those are problems without good solutions. The Coast Guard’s trying to change that, and so is a whole industry that’s grown up to respond to oil spills. In 2011, the Coast Guard awarded $2.5 million to three companies. They were asked to develop technologies that could better detect and recover sinking oils.

Some of those technologies were on display at last week’s forum, including one fromAlion Science and Technology called the Seagoing Adaptable Heavy Oil Recovery System or the SEAHORSE. The SEAHORSE looks more like a giant carburetor than a dainty ocean creature. But Al Arsenault, an engineer with the company, says it’s safer and more effective than traditional methods.

“The scenarios in the past have used divers. It’s a dirty job, it’s a very dangerous job to send divers down when this product is on the water column, on the surface, and on the bottom. It sticks to you like peanut butter,” Arsenault explains.

The SEAHORSE doesn’t use any divers. Instead, its trio of remotely operated vehicles scans the seafloor for oil and pumps it back up to the surface. SEAHORSE and other new technologies let responders reach spills hundreds of feet under water and can detect and recover oil at the same time. The Coast Guard says these new technologies are promising, but they aren’t widely available and can be costly to build.

Emergency responders in our region may still have some time to sort out those problems. It isn’t clear yet that Great Lakes shipping is going to be a good option for moving tar sands oil. For one thing, the lakes are frozen over for several months every year.

“The other big issue is competition. Shipping oil on the Great Lakes will make sense if it’s less expensive than shipping it by rail,” says Steve Fisher, Executive Director of the American Great Lakes Port Association.

Fisher says a lot would have to change before tankers full of tar sands crude oil set sail on the Great Lakes. It would require the oil industry to make long-term commitments with shipping companies to entice them to make investments in new ships and shoreside loading facilities.

Still, environmentalists say economic pressures are building.

Several refineries in the region, including one just south of Chicago in Whiting, Indiana, have been upgraded to process tar sands oil. Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program Director at the Alliance for the Great Lakes, says shipping by vessel on the lakes also opens up a route for transport to refineries on the East Coast.

Welch says right now, a lot of the decisions that could set the scene for shipping this kind of oil on the Great Lakes are happening at a state or local level. And he says that patchwork approach could have consequences for the entire region.

“A spill could happen anywhere, not just in the state where the initial dock is built to allow for this shipment,” says Welch.

The dock he’s referring to is owned by Elkhorn Industries in Superior, Wisconsin. The company reapplied for a permit to upgrade the dock in August after its first application was rejected by the state earlier this year. It’s considered a first step in the project proposed by Calumet Specialty Products, though Elkhorn says they don’t have concrete plans to partner with the company yet.

But the possibility that it could worries Welch, who says existing spill response preparation measures are inadequate when it comes to responding to a spill of tar sands oil.

There are increasing efforts to beef up those measures. Emergency responders like the Coast Guard and EPA are starting to include heavy oil spills in their preparation exercises. And the spill response industry continues to develop new and better technology for dealing with heavy oil spills.

But Welch says we shouldn’t accept the shipment of tar sands oil on the Great Lakes as inevitable, even as we work out the regulatory kinks.

“It’s vital that our Great Lakes region and community has a discussion as to whether the Great Lakes should become this thoroughfare for tar sands crude oil shipping. Are we prepared to accept that risk?”

That’s not a question, Welch says, for industry or government, but for each of the 34 million people who call the Great Lakes basin home.

Published by WBEZ Radio Chicago on September 15, 2014 on www.wbez.org.

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