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Jack Butts, Sunnyside Island Voted to Save The River Board New Officers Elected

August 25th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Butts J

Clayton, NY (August 25, 2014) – Save The River held its Annual Membership Meeting August 21. At that meeting John (Jack) H. Butts III became the newest addition to the Save The River Board of Directors.  Jack, President and CEO of Rosco Terminal Tackle, Rome, New York, comes from a long line of River Rats; he spent his early childhood on Butts Island near Ivy Lea where he learned his love for the River.  He now calls Sunnyside Island home, where he lives with his wife Rita.  Jack is active with various other organizations on both sides of the River.

Along with Jack, five current board members returned to the board of directors for another three-year term – Skip Behrhorst, Fred Morey, John Peach, Roger Peinkofer, and Liz Raisbeck.

Save The River also elected officers for the coming year. Bill Grater, Grater Architects and a long time Save The River Board member will continue as Board President. Jeff Garnsey, Classic Island Tours, was elected Vice President. Fred Morey is returning as Treasurer, Clif Schneider Secretary and Lauran Throop as Member-At-Large.

For a list of current Save The River Board member’s click here.

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Save The River Honors Exceptional Volunteers

August 15th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

[Clayton, New York] The Save The River staff and board honored its cadre of over 500 volunteers on Thursday, August 7th at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party held at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp.

Volunteer of the year

This year Juliane Flora was honored as Volunteer of the Year.  This award is given each year to a volunteer who has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer efforts.   Ms. Flora has been a devoted volunteer for over 20 years who most recently worked with Save The River to author and publish Haas, The Great Blue Heron, a children’s book for teachers and students participating in the Save The River In the Schools education program.

“Publishing a book was a new project for Save The River. At times it seemed the challenge would prove too much, but Juliane went way beyond just providing the story. She, like most of our volunteers, brought her dedication and talents to bear and inspired us all to see it through to the end. The result is magnificent, and a great addition to Save The River’s “storied” history,” stated Lee Willbanks executive director of Save The River.

Haas

Ms. Flora is credited with gifting her story to Save The River, where in turn proceeds from future sale of the book will directly support Save The River’s

ability to educate students about the need for River protection. Publication of the book was made possible by a grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council.

Mr. Willbanks and Board President Bill Grader pointed out that volunteers who share their time and talents make it possible for the small staff of five to expand their capacity as a strong and effective voice for the protection and restoration of the River.

“The commitment of our volunteers is inspiring to the staff. It shows strong support in the community for the vital work of protecting the St. Lawrence River,” said Willbanks.

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Jefferson County, Town of Clayton Pass Resolutions Endorsing Plan 2014

August 15th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Clayton, NY— The Jefferson County Board of Legislators and the Clayton Town Board have unanimously passed resolutions in support of Plan 2014 at their August and July meetings respectively. Plan 2014 is a new approach to water level management in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River and is an issue of fundamental importance to the economy and quality of life throughout the Great Lakes region. These resolutions come on the heels of a support letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by 41 environmental, sportsmen, higher education and conservation organizations including Save The River.

The support of Jefferson County and the Town of Clayton are especially important because of the recognition of the impact a healthy Lake Ontario, which borders Jefferson County to the west, and St. Lawrence River, bordering the county to the north and on which the Town of Clayton is located, will have on their tourism, recreation-based economies. Earlier this summer the International Joint Commission (IJC), which oversees regulation of water levels, referred Plan 2014 to the federal governments in the United States and Canada.

“Support for a modern water levels plan has always been strong along the St. Lawrence River. Our citizens, community and business leaders and visitors understand the strong connection between a healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said Lee Willbanks, Save The River’s executive director, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper. “ Jefferson County and the Town of Clayton have made their intentions clear. Plan 2014 must be approved without delay.”

Orleans legislator Phil Reed brought Jefferson County’s resolution to the floor saying, “after 10 years and $20 million, the impacts and benefits including increased hydropower have been thoroughly studied and it’s time for action. Over the last 60 years our habitat has taken a hit, and this will go a long way to fixing not only the fisheries but the tourism economy that relies on them.”

“Tourism is the keystone of the economic survival of the region bordering the St. Lawrence River,” stated Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor, “and a healthy St. Lawrence River is the keystone to a healthy tourism industry. River residents and municipalities must stand together to support this important Plan.”

Other county legislators, including Michael J. Docteur, R-Cape Vincent, and Jeremiah J. Maxon, R-Adams, voiced their support for the plan before the board passed the resolution, noting the positive impacts of the Plan on the Lake and River and thus the region’s economy. Legislator Docteur made it clear the time has come for the Plan to be implemented.

Plan 2014 is intended to restore fish populations, wetland function and wildlife, by allowing more natural fluctuations in water levels while avoiding extreme high and low levels. The plan is the result of a 10-year, $20 million process sponsored by the IJC, which includes representatives from the U.S. and Canada. It will restore the plant and animal diversity of coastal wetlands and increase opportunities for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, proponents of the plan say.

Plan 2014 represents an innovative approach to water level regulation in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River, working with nature as a partner, rather than an adversary. The plan was formulated over the course of ten years with the input of more than 180 stakeholder representatives, experts, and scientists from government agencies, academia, NGO’s and industry in New York, Ontario, and Quebec.

To learn more about Plan 2014 click here.

Article published by the Thousand Islands Sun on August 13th, 2014.

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Save The River Reports on Week 5 of Beach Watch Program

August 7th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Clayton, NY (August 7, 2014) - Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 7th through August 25th Save The River reports all samples passed in Week 5. For the 2014 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson 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. Sampling dates for this year are July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for e. coli bacteria in all of our swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River The results will be made available to the public each week with a pass/ fail system that is available at the Save the River offices, website 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.

For more information please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

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Save The River’s Summer Raffle!

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

This summer Save The River is raffling off a beautiful Great-Blue Heron that was hand-carved and painted by George Textor. George is a self taught carver and painter. He has been carving and painting shore birds since the 1970’s. He has crafted this heron from western red cedar, with a base made from Alaska cedar and head feather made from pounded brass. Acrylic paints were applied to give it vibrant color. George is a summer resident of the Thousand Islands and a member of Save The River’s Board of Directors. Thank you George for your generous donation!

Raffle Pic to Post

Click Here to get to a printable entry form. Just fill out all the contact information and return it with your payment to:

Save The River
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

We will fill out the tickets so you too can be entered to win this exclusive, hand carved Great-Blue Heron and support Save The River.

Drawing to be held on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

Good luck and Thank You for Supporting Save The River!

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Save The River Reports on Week 4 of Beach Watch Program

July 31st, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Clayton, NY (July 31, 2014) - Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 7th through August 25th Save The River reports all samples passed in Week 4.

For the 2014 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson 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. Sampling dates for this year are July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for e. coli bacteria in all of our swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River The results will be made available to the public each week with a pass/ fail system that is available at the Save the River offices, website 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.

Additionally, Save The River is currently looking for volunteers to help with the Beach Watch Program at Wilson Beach in Cape Vincent, NY. Water samples would need to be taken Monday morning and brought to the Save The River office in Clayton by 9:30am. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Save The River.

For more information please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

Watertown Daily Times Endorses Plan 2014

July 31st, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Members of the International Joint Commission have completed their long-awaited proposal for revitalizing Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, unanimously endorsed it and have sent it to the U.S. and Canadian governments for approval.

The IJC’s Plan 2014 is a practical measure to make these waterways healthier and prepare for climate change. The idea is to regulate 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 executive summary said. “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.”

Plan 2014 would improve the ecological quality of the waterways and restore fish populations. The IJC has revised its proposal over the years to restore the health of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and members believe that Plan 2014 is the best way to move forward.

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 IJC’s proposal has been met with concerted opposition by residents of coastal properties along the southern lakeshore, who are concerned about potential flooding should water levels fluctuate in a wider range. What these opponents seem to forget is that they built houses very close to the water’s edge, based on provisions in the IJC’s Plan 1958-D and Plan 1958-DD.

Many of these residents believe the environmental benefits have been exaggerated, arguing that the real goal here is to generate more power at the hydroelectric dam and, thus, increase profits. IJC officials agree that altering the water levels will increase the output at the dam.

But they’ve collected data for years on the effects of changing the water levels, and the science is solidly in their favor. Doing nothing will allow damage to shoreline sand dunes, wetland spawning grounds for native fish and homes for millions of shore birds that has been underway for more than 50 years to continue. That helps no one including those who built too close to the high water line.

Just as the IJC does not have the authority to unilaterally implement Plan 2014, it also has no way of mandating flood mitigation. That would be up to either New York state or the U.S. government. Both governmental entities should act on Plan 2014 soon, and flood mitigation should be part of the solution.

This environmentally positive plan provides the state with a continuous flow of cash from increased power generation at Massena to underwrite specific, justified flood mitigation issues for those property owners who live in the lakeside suburbs of Rochester and along Ontario’s southern shore.

Published by Watertown Daily Times on July 31st on watertowndailytimes.com
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Critical Piece of Equipment Lost – Replacement Essential to Effort to Ban Microplastics

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Microplastics researcher Dr. Sherri Mason, a speaker at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference earlier this year, has had an equipment loss that cripples her ability to conduct much needed research on microplastics in the Great Lake and the St. Lawrence River. Her research into this emerging threat has proven pivotal in the basin-wide effort to ban these tiny, toxin accumulating ingredients used in many personal care products.

Dr. Mason and Save The River need your assistance to keep the effort to understand and eliminate the threat of microplastics afloat.

Manta Trawl

Dr. Mason’s microplastic samples are taken using a net called a Manta Trawl. These nets are specially designed to float on the surface of the water, where the majority of the plastics accumulate. Unfortunately, as part of a recent shipboard science expedition, her manta trawl met with an untimely demise. It was sucked under the ship where it became tangled in the motor wheel and sank to the bottom of the Lake Erie.

Dr. Mason and her team cannot continue their ground-breaking work without a manta trawl. Save The River and many other organizations, including the New York State Attorney General, rely on her research in our efforts to ban microplastics.



Her first trawl was purchased in 2012 as part of the first-ever expedition for plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Over the past three summers it has collected samples in all five of the Great Lakes, as well as the St. Lawrence River. These samples have shown that plastic pollution in Lakes Erie, Ontario and the St. Lawrence River have some of the highest counts of any place in the world sampled to-date – including the oceans.

Understanding the extent and impact of microplastic pollution and enacting effective bans requires scientific research, and diligent, focused advocacy based on that research.

Save The River is asking for your help to replace Dr. Mason’s Manta Trawl and to ban microplastics from our Lakes and River.

Please make a donation today so Dr. Mason can replace this critical piece of equipment. Each Trawl is made on demand at a cost of $3,500. That is our goal, with any additional money raised to be used in our efforts to secure a basin-wide ban of these harmful products.

Clich here to help buy Dr. Mason a new manta trawl.2014-07-22 Microbeads at Potters Beachsmall

More about Dr. Mason’s work:

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

More about our effort to ban microplastics:

ACTION NEEDED – Tell Your State Senator: Get Plastic Microbeads Out of Our Waters!

Save The River Calls for Ban on Microbeads

Push to Protect Waterways from Microplastics Continues


Thank you for your help in keeping this important research afloat and keeping the equally import effort to ban microplastics alive.

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Save The River Reports on Week 3 of Beach Watch Program

July 24th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Clayton, NY (July 24, 2014) - Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 7th through August 25th Save The River reports all samples passed in Week 3.

For the 2014 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson 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. Sampling dates for this year are July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25.

As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for e. coli bacteria in all of our swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River The results will be made available to the public each week with a pass/ fail system that is available at the Save the River offices, website 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.

Additionally, Save The River is currently looking for volunteers to help with the Beach Watch Program at Wilson Beach in Cape Vincent, NY. Water samples would need to be taken Monday morning and brought to the Save The River office in Clayton by 9:30am. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Save The River.

For more information please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.

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Push to Protect Waterways from Microplastics Continues

July 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey
Push to Protect Waterways from Microplastics Continues
See more at: http://ow.ly/zviWo.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to add microbeads to their list of Great Lakes contaminants. If added, the EPA would likely address the problem in their upcoming action plan. A move that Save The River is thankful for.

“She has been very good on all issues related to water quality in the Great Lakes and her support shows that there’s a broader interest on the federal level,” said Save The River Executive Director Lee Willbanks.

But the non-profit said that getting the contaminant added to the list is just the first step. They want the state to ban microbeads and microplastics from products. They can be found in everything from face cream, to shampoos, and even on the tips of brushes.

“Because we believe that a bill, in the long run, will be more important,” said Willbanks. “But, both go hand in hand.”

Although the ban was presented to state lawmakers this year, it wasn’t passed before the end of session. Proponents of the bill are hoping it’ll become law when they return. They said the ban is desperately needed because the material is damaging the food chain.

“They accumulate the chemicals that are in the water and then they’re eaten by the fish because they look like small food particles,” said Willbanks.

Those fish are then eaten be larger fish, moving the toxic material upward. Supporters said it’s the reason why they won’t give up their fight.

Published on July 22nd, 2014 by Time Warner Cable News

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