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A Celebration for Future Generations

September 19th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

On Thursday, September 12, 2019, friends and family gathered at the Pavilion at Wellesley Island State Park to celebrate the establishment of the Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship Fund. Attendees reminisced about Ken Deedy and his passion for the Thousand Islands region, and came together as a community in support of this exciting endeavor.

In honor of Ken, the Thousand Islands Land Trust, Save The River and Minna Anthony Common Nature Center have established the Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship Fund.  As a true endowment, this fund, inspired through his vision, will be used to hire a high school/college student for a summer long internship. Each year, the selected student will have a once-in-a-life opportunity to work for all three organizations, immersing them into the fields of land conservation and stewardship, environmental education, and environmental advocacy.

“The Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship is an environmentally focused program like no other.  We believe it will have a positive impact on our region and future environmental stewards of this place we all so deeply love” commented Terra Bach, TILT’s Director of Development and Communications.

Before his passing, Ken made the initial gift to establish the Kenneth Deedy Environmental Internship Fund and thanks to the generosity of many supporters and a $50,000 grant made by the Northern New York Community Foundation (NNYCF) nearly $158,500 has now been raised.

Ken was a great friend to many and a life-time supporter of environmental stewardship and education in the Thousand Islands region. It was his vision to create a position that would serve three environmental organizations in the Thousand Islands region.  From the earliest days of the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save The River’s activities, Ken thought that sharing resources would provide useful staffing help to the organizations as well as offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young person interested in a career in environmental science.

“Ken Deedy was certainly smiling down on our celebration Thursday night; watching his vision for these environmental organizations that he cared so much about come together for such a special common cause.  We look forward to a bright future with Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save The River to help inspire the next generation of nature lover,” commented Matthew Elliott, Board President, Friends of the Nature Center, Inc.

“This new fund will create a collaboration of resources that will encourage, across the generations, an ongoing belief in the importance of thoughtful stewardship,” remarked Rande Richardson, Executive Director of the NNYCF.

If you would like to contribute, gifts may be made in Ken’s honor to the Thousand Islands Land Trust, Save The River, or Minna Anthony Common Nature Center and will be directed to the Fund which is held at the Northern New York Community Foundation.

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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 ( 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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Celebrate World Water Day with Save The River

March 22nd, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

On March 22 we celebrate Water World Water Day. This year’s #WorldWaterDay focuses on how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Did you know that an estimated two-thirds of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900 as a result of human activity? Wetlands naturally filter toxins and sediments from water and help protect against floods by trapping and slowly releasing surface water, rain, and snowmelt.

Nature-based solutions like restoring wetlands, reconnecting rivers to flood plains, and planting trees to replenish forests are sustainable and cost-effective methods to fight the effects of climate change. The answer is in nature!

At Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper we’re all about a swimmable, drinkable, fishable St. Lawrence now and for generations to come. Join us! Click here to become a member or make a donation today. 

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It’s a big River we all share, . . .

July 15th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

. . . and we at Save The River love our part of it.

Join us however you can in our work to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River, . . . now and for generations to come.

click the image for a larger version
#itsourriver #stlawrenceriver

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Rock For The River® Takes Hiatus in 2017

June 22nd, 2017 | Posted by admin

You may have seen articles and sponsored Facebook posts about Rock For The River’s trademark as well as Save The River’s decision to put the event on hiatus this year.

While Save The River decided to place the event on hiatus and secure a trademark after careful consideration, we are aware these actions have generated a lot of talk and some criticism.

We would like to use this space to describe why Save The River took these actions and how our decisions align with the organization’s mission and current priorities.

The benefit concert Rock for the River, which we held for the past 13 years, has been held to raise funds to support Save The River’s mission. Like our Run for the River, raffles and other fundraisers, this event was created with good intentions to raise money and awareness for our mission.

In a time of challenges to the health of the St. Lawrence River, the likes of which we haven’t seen in recent memory, we want to assure our thousands of members and supporters that Save The River remains committed to the one mission it has consistently had for its 40-year history:

“the protection, restoration and preservation of the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research . . .

In short, a healthy River, now and for generations to come.”

We take our mission very seriously and we know the thousands of people who contribute to us annually do as well. Spending money on fundraising to support the mission is appropriate and necessary but it must generate a return that warrants the time, energy and donor dollars spent or it cannot be justified.

We were fortunate and have appreciated the input, creativity and musical ability of the many musicians – local and visiting – who donated their time and talent to the concert.

However, after a period of declining ticket sales, and increasing expenses and demands on our staff, all of which pointed to a trend where soon the concert would be taking more than it was giving, we decided to take a one-year break from Rock for the River. While that has led to disappointment, we cannot prioritize a night of entertainment over accomplishing our mission. We intend to return with a revitalized and retooled Rock for the River in 2018.

A question has been raised over Save The River’s trademark of the event’s name.

Last year, at the direction of its board, Save The River took the initiative to register the Rock For The River trademark.

The Board decided to protect the significant resources – staff and volunteer time, sponsor and contributors’ donations, and other resources – Save The River has expended on the event since 2004. We did so in full compliance with trademark law and in a manner that allows Save The River the maximum flexibility to work with willing and supportive artists and donors who help advance our mission.

There may be times Save The River does not host one of its typical fundraisers, whether it be our 5k/10k Run for the River, a winter or summer raffle, Catch and Release weekly drawings or, as with this year, Rock for the River. But, please be assured that when we do host an event, we will meet the high expectations the River community has for Save The River.

We know that is what our supporters and members expect.

signed the Directors of Save The River

Our letter to the Watertown Daily Times, published July 3, 2017


Save The River, the standing heron & Rock for the River are registered trademarks of Save The River, Inc.
Riverkeeper is a registered trademark of the Waterkeeper® Alliance



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Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

Page 42 of President’s budget plan released today “Eliminates funding for…Great Lakes Restoration Initiative”. This program has received bipartisan support in every budget since its inception in 2010. Over $130,000,000 has come to New York State to improve wetlands, fish habitat, invasive species detection and prevention, pollution abatement and other important projects that have created direct and indirect jobs, improving our environment and our economy. Over $6.4 million has been spent directly in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

Zero it out? Seriously. Decidedly. Outrageous!

It is just one part of the budget’s assault on programs that protect the water we depend on for our world-class fisheries, to sustain our recreation and tourism based economy, AND to drink!

Among many other programs cut or zeroed out is a Department of Agriculture program that assists communities with fewer than 10,000 people with water and sewer infrastructure.

It’s hard to imagine describing the St. Lawrence River as “great” if the water is no longer swimmable, fishable, or drinkable.

The President’s budget plan is chock full of disappointments for anyone who has benefitted from the last half century of progress the United States has made in air and water quality and human health.

Common sense tells us we have more to do to make sure every American has access to clean air and water, both basic human rights.

Instead for Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and our members and supporters, this budget is nothing less than a full on assault on the health of one of North America’s most important waterways and the people and communities that depend on it being and staying healthy.

Call the Congressional switchboard, (202) 224-3121, to connect with your Senators & Representative with the simple message “I support clean water programs – GLRI, revolving loan funds, & EPA”. Then call White House with same message (202) 456-1414 or (202) 456-1111.

Please also consider becoming a member of Save The River to strengthen our ability to fight for a healthy St. Lawrence River, now and for generations to come. Add your voice to thousands of others working to preserve, protect and restore one of the great rivers in North America.


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President Takes Action to Limit Clean Water Rule Protections

March 1st, 2017 | Posted by Lee

As the Riverkeeper for the St. Lawrence River, downstream of the 5 Great Lakes, drinking water for 40 million people, collector of human and industrial wastes from 8 states, we know full well the impact of the President’s order. And like the Waterkeeper Alliance and all freshwater groups in American, we will fight this.

From the Waterkeeper Alliance statement, “We also know that pollution flows downstream and poisons larger waterways used for drinking water, fishing, and recreation. This is why Congress passed the Clean Water Act more than 40 years ago — Waterkeeper Alliance will fight every effort to destroy these longstanding clean water protections.”

Full statement here, Waterkeeper Alliance Responds to Anti-Clean Water Executive Order

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Highlights of Save The River’s 28th Winter Conference

February 25th, 2017 | Posted by admin

Just click anywhere to get to the highlights!

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What we are about to lose

February 20th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

It begins; What we are about to lose

Just confirmed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott “Pruitt told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that he expects to quickly withdraw both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Rule, the Obama administration’s attempt at clarifying the EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.”

from an article by Natasha Geiling, in ThinkProgress

Graphic from the EPA website (for now):

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Riverkeeper Statement to Watertown ‘Sister Rally’

January 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Lee

It was an honor to be asked to be a part of Watertown’s ‘Sister Rally’ held Saturday in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington and the hundreds of others held across the country. It was the beginning of a grassroots effort to remind the new administration and the new Congress that there is widespread support for a range of policies and programs the new President has expressed opposition to.

Although I was out of the area, Save The River supporter and volunteer Maria Purcell read my statement to the almost 300 participants from all over the River region and beyond*.

In part,

“The fact that the highest level appointees of the incoming administration have articulated a clear intention to minimize environmental protections in government decisionmaking is frightening. It threatens our very mission – the protection and restoration of the St. Lawrence River.

Access to clean water is the most fundamental human right. We are entering challenging times for many (if not all) social justice issues, within which we must include the right to clean – swimmable, fishable, drinkable – water.”

We are thankful that the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes and their tributaries have benefitted from decades of bipartisan cooperation at every level of government, from village, township, county, province and state to federal and international, by people of good will focused on restoring and protecting these waterbodies that hold 20% of the world’s fresh water and provide drinking water to millions. We cannot return to a time when they were viewed as resources to be consumed, dammed, diverted, filled and fouled.

The message Saturday was simple, we are watching and we will mobilize to protect hard fought and hard won victories for a clean St. Lawrence River now and for generations to come.

Save The River and the standing heron are registered trademarks. Riverkeeper is a registered trademark of the Waterkeeper® Alliance


  • full text of statement
  • the event organizers noted RSVPs from Watertown, Cape Vincent, Redwood, Potsdam, Canton, Fort Drum, Edwards, LaRay, Carthage, Clayton, Adams, Hounsfield, Rutland, Chaumont, Pulaski, Brownville, Sackets Harbor, Cranberry Lake, Antwerp, Rodman, West Carthage, DeKalb, Massena, Lowville, Plattsburgh, Waddington, Lorraine, Lyme, Ogdensburg, Alexandria Bay, Gouverneur, Bombay, Lyonsdale, Theresa, Diana and Watson (all in the River region) and Brentwood, Rochester, Staten Island, Hanover, Worthington, Ithaca, NY, Fresno, CA, Albuquerque, NM, and Bellmead, TX.
  • media coverage of the event: Watertown Daily Times, 7 News Fox 28
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