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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


Notes:

  • 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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Wind Development in the River Valley Needs Comprehensive Review

January 19th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Save The River’s mission is to always be concerned about the health of the St. Lawrence River and to seek policies and actions to protect it. We believe there is a direct connection between the health of the River and the health of the creatures who swim, fish, drink and stop over in its waters and the health of the communities that line its shores. If one is threatened, all are in danger.

We base our efforts to preserve, protect and restore the River on research. It was research that informed our fight to stop winter navigation. And it was years of research that supported our successful advocacy for a new water levels plan.

Now, with the River valley facing wind energy development on an unprecedented scale, research into the potential impacts is desperately needed.

Save The River does not oppose energy from wind or other non-carbon sources. We believe the clear threats to the River from traditional methods of energy production – coal, oil, gas – make it imperative that we shift to renewable energy sources and conservation measures. Appropriately sized and sited wind projects are a necessary part of a sustainable energy future.

HOWEVER, we do believe the scope, scale, number and geographic spread of industrial wind projects proposed in the River region in both New York and the province of Ontario dwarfs the current ability of residents, local governments and state agencies to understand the potential impacts of so many turbines in such a biologically diverse and ecologically sensitive area. The state and local officials who will decide if one, two or more of these projects get built require far more research specific to the area and the species and resources to be impacted than they now have or are likely to see presented in individual permit applications.

Decision-makers do not have an adequate base of knowledge on which to permit even one of the currently proposed industrial wind projectsBut they can!

Fortunately, even though the several projects proposed are individually owned and will be individually permitted, there is a mechanism in New York State law that can put the research needed into the hands of the public and decision-makers – a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“GEIS”).

Since 2010 Save The River has called for a comprehensive, region‐wide, cross‐border assessment of the cumulative environmental impacts of the many projects proposed in the River valley.

A GEIS will give the Article 10 Siting Boards and the town, village and county boards and the residents they represent the information they need to make informed decisions on the range of environmental and cultural impacts that are very likely to be compounded by multiple projects.

And you can help make this happen!

As these projects move forward in the application process it is important that the agency heads in Albany hear from all of us who want to make sure that solutions to problems like climate change are balanced, and based on reasoning and research. The Governor’s goal of sourcing 50% of the state’s energy needs from alternative sources by 2030 is a necessary step, but it is important that we make certain the state is not trading one set of negative impacts for another.

Contact the heads of the Public Service Commission and the Department of Environmental Conservation and tell them a Generic Environmental Impact Statement that includes all the industrial wind projects being proposed for the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence Valley must be prepared prior to any project being permitted.

Save The River’s letter is here.

Contact:

Basil Segos, Commissioner
Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1010
phone:  (518) 402-8545
– or – email the Commissioner
Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess
Secretary to the Commission
New York State Public Service Commission
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 3
Albany, NY 12223-1350
phone:  (518) 474-6530
email: secretary@dps.ny.gov


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

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Northern New York Business Magazine Interviews Riverkeeper / Executive Director

January 18th, 2017 | Posted by admin

“It was great to have the opportunity to talk about the tremendous success the River community had on the new water levels plan, Plan 2014, and the importance of the work we do to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River.”

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Interested in Plan 2014?

January 13th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Plan 2014 went into operation on January 7. And we are all interested and eager to know more about the new plan.

Frank Bevacqua, Public Information Officer International Joint Commission, will present “Plan 2014 – The Long-Term Perspective

It was a long journey, but Plan 2014 is a historic achievement. Managing water levels to improve ecosystem health has never been carried out on such a large scale. Frank will talk about the road to Plan 2014 and what it means for the future.

Frank and Rob Caldwell, also from the IJC (Canada), will cover different aspects of the new plan in their presentations to give attendees a comprehensive view of the plan.

Frank grew up in Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan. He has been worked at the International Joint Commission to engage people in issues related to the waters shared by Canada and the United States since 1978. Whenever possible, he enjoys canoeing and kayaking.

So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.

Schedule:  Saturday, February 4, 2017

9:30am  – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations

4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)

RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.

We’ll see you there!

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TODAY! January 7, 2017 – River Music!

January 7th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

TODAY! January 7, 2017! Music to the ears of the St. Lawrence River communities who have worked and waited for it for so long.

From the weekly update of the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board / Conseil international du lac Ontario et du fleuve Saint-Laurent,

“As mentioned in the IJC’s media release of 8 December 2016, Plan 2014 will be implemented effective Saturday, 7 January 2017.

Comme noté dans le communiqué du CMI du 8 décembre 2016, Plan 2014 sera en vigueur le samedi 7 janvier 2017.

We commend the IJC, and the U.S. and Canadian governments and are proud of the role Save The River, its members, followers and partners, played in seeing Plan 2014 enacted. More here.

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Lawrence Gunther, President of Blue Fish Canada, to Speak at Winter Conference

January 6th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Check out the trailer for “What Lies Below” & you will definitely want to meet Lawrence Gunther, a great advocate for sustainable fishing. We are honored to have Lawrence share his experience, knowledge & wit at our Winter Conference.

Lawrence is North America’s only blind professional angler & champion of fish conservation. Drawing on his experience as a commercial fisher for Cod on Canada’s east coast, & as a competitive angler in over 125 fishing tournaments, he now focuses his energy on empowering others to become stewards of their waters & fish resources.

Prior to founding “Blue Fish Canada”, a charity dedicated to the future of fish & fishing, Lawrence earned a Masters in Environmental Studies that included conducting research throughout Canada’s Arctic & Scandinavia. His articles on sustainable fishing can be found in numerous outdoor publications, & his “Blue Fish Radio” podcasts (where he interviewed our Riverkeeper) are heard by over 100,000 listeners each week.

The documentary “What Lies Below” follows Lawrence & his guide dog as they explore ten fish habitat and sustainability stories throughout Canada. As host, Lawrence travels throughout Canada to speak with people who live by & from the water. What he learns is that there are a lot of people who feel strongly about the long term sustainability of their fishing resources.

So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.

Schedule:  Saturday, February 4, 2017

9:30am  – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations

4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)

RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.

We’ll see you there!

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You’ll want to be at our Winter Environmental Conference for this presentation

January 4th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Plan 2014 is officially on the agenda for the conference!

Rob Caldwell, Canadian Regulation Representative to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, will be presenting at the conference on: “Regulation of Lake Ontario Outflows with Plan 2014”

He knows the subject well. In 1999, Rob joined the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Regulation Office of Environment and Climate Change Canada inCornwall, Ontario as a Water Resources Engineer, and has been the Manager since 2013. Rob is Canadian Regulation Representative, International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence Board, and Canadian Secretary, International Lake Superior Board of Control. He participated in the Hydrology & Hydraulics Technical Working Group during the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence Study and worked on the transition to Plan 2014.

If you have questions, Rob will have answers. His presentation will cover the new Supplementary Order issued by the IJC December 8, 2016, adopting Plan 2014 effective January 7, 2017. He will compare this long-anticipated new regulatory regime to the former one. Differences, including potential benefits and impacts, will be also discussed.

So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.

Schedule:  Saturday, February 4, 2017

9:30am  – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations

4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)

RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.

We’ll see you there!

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Join Us! Save The River’s 28th Winter Environmental Conference

January 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Lee

It’s here – a new year, ice, lake effect snow, and . . .

Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference.

Attendees at our 28th annual conference, Saturday, February 4th, will hear presentations on the state of the fishery, policy changes in the U.S. and Canada that may impact the health of the River, local projects affecting the River and more. AND, of course, Plan 2014.

In addition to information sharing, the Conference is an excellent mid-winter opportunity to gather and renew the ties and fellowship that bind us together in the common cause we share – protecting the St. Lawrence River now and for generations to come.

So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.

Schedule:  Saturday, February 4, 2017

9:30am  – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations

4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)

RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.

We’ll see you there!

 

 

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Success! Plan 2014 Enacted!

December 9th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Success!

After almost 20 years of effort the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario have a new, modern water levels plan.

success-plan-2014-enacted-square-1Today the International Joint Commission announced that Plan 2014 will be implemented, returning more natural levels and flows to the River.

Replacing the current, more than 50-year-old plan, will begin the restoration of critical wetland habitat. The tourism economy of the River communities, dependent as it is on a healthy River ecosystem, will also see significant benefits.

Save The River has advocated for a modern water levels plan for the River for decades and we continued our efforts with others this year following American River’s designation of the St. Lawrence as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. But the announcement today could not have happened without our members and followers, the thousands of individuals who love the Lake and River and the other conservation, environmental and sportsmen organizations, businesses, governments, and elected officials who have demanded real change and action.

We commend the IJC, and the U.S. and Canadian governments and are proud of the role Save The River, its members, followers and partners, played in seeing Plan 2014 enacted.

plan-2014-appealThe benefits of Plan 2014 include: a 40%, increase in wet meadow acreage; a 39% rebound in populations of Northern Pike, the top fish predator in coastal marshes; a 16% rebound in Black Tern populations, a state listed endangered species; a $9.1 annual increase in recreational activity along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario; a frequently longer recreational boating season; and will continue over 50 years of significant shoreline protection.

Save The River is committed to seeing that the improvements in River health envisioned in Plan 2014 are realized. And while the new plan is a significant step to restoring the River, it is just a piece of our mission to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River to ensure it is passed on undiminished for future generations to share; providing safe drinking water, is a home to a thriving range of indigenous species and supporting sustainable economic activity.

Click here for our press release on the enactment of Plan 2014.

Click here for links to Plan 2014 support efforts in 2016.

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Tremendous video from the IJC summarizing the need for and benefits of Plan 2014

December 6th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

For the first time in over 50 years, we have a unique and rare opportunity to reduce the ecological impacts of unnatural water levels management on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Plan 2014, if implemented, will allow for more natural variability in water levels, set a positive precedent for deliberations on the Upper Great Lakes water levels regulation, and set the stage for the restoration of 64,000 acres of coastal wetlands – easily the largest single example of Great Lakes restoration to date.

Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River enhance the quality of life for all citizens who live, work and recreate in the coastal zones of the Lake and River. Since 2001, the IJC has worked with governments and stakeholders in New York, Ontario and Quebec to develop a new set of procedures for regulating the flow of water through dams in the St. Lawrence. This plan will “contribute to the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence system” (the IJC’s previously stated goal for a new regulation plan).

The benefits of Plan 2014 are not limited to the environment – recreational boating, hunting, fishing, increased coastal wetland resilience in the face of climate change, and cost-effective shipping all are strengthened under this new approach to regulation. Plan 2014 continues to provide considerable protection for coastal property as well.

It truly is time for #Plan2014Now.

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