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Group helps give ‘Haas the Great Blue Heron’ wings, and author returns favor

June 19th, 2015 | Posted by admin

By Tim Lyman

Published: Friday June 19, 2015 by the Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — Sometimes, the work you do in college can help your community nearly 20 years down the road. That’s the case with “Haas the Great Blue Heron: The Beginning of an Adventure,” a children’s book in which a father heron eagerly awaits the hatching of his egg near the St. Lawrence River. After a night’s indecision, the father heron names his chick “Haas” after the sound he makes when he is born.

CoverThe book was written by Juliane B. Flora in 1994 and completed in 1996, while she was a student at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., but was never published. It was illustrated with artwork by Ms. Flora’s late mother, Diane Bauer.

Stephanie Weiss, who lives near Fishers Landing, assistant director of Save the River, a Clayton nonprofit dedicated to preserving the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding area, has been friends with Ms. Flora “since we were little” and thought it was a good time to share her book with the world. She contacted the author to tell her about a grant Save the River offered that was funded by the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council in Watertown.

Save the River sent a grant proposal to the Youth Philanthropy Council asking for funds to publish the book.

The grant was approved in early 2013, and the book was published in August.

“My intention has always been to publish it,” said Ms. Flora of Clayton, originally of Red Hook. “I worked at Fort Drum; with starting a family and a busy work schedule, life just got in the way.”

“It would not have happened without the assistance of the grant,” she said.

When the publishing project was presented to Save the River’s education committee, Heather White, a board member who is a kindergarten teacher at Sherman Elementary School in Watertown, suggested adding informational inserts to the book to help it align with Common Core standards. That way teachers could write lesson plans on it to use in the classroom. It was decided that Mrs. White would add the information to the book.

“This book project was a good fit with Save the River’s In the Schools program. It’s a beautiful story of a heron, and with us adding the nonfiction part, it makes a complete package,” she said.

Mrs. White, whose kids are “sixth-generation on Wellesley Island,” has introduced lessons for her class that correlate with the lessons taught in the book. She also built a full-scale model of a heron’s nest for her students, and some children were surprised to see that the nest was bigger than they were.

“Whenever you can add a hands-on experience to a lesson, it helps the student to understand the material,” Mrs. White said.

Ms. Flora decided to donate all the proceeds from sales of the book to the In the Schools program. Launched in 2009, this program introduced a partnership with local schools that educate students about the St. Lawrence River. The program assists with curriculum development and field-trip support.

Kate Breheny of Clayton, Save the River’s program director, said two schools have purchased sets of the book for their libraries: Watertown’s Sherman Elementary and Guardino Elementary School in Clayton.

“By us having the book in our schools, the students are learning about the heron and the organization,” Ms. Breheny said. She said selling the book through Amazon has enabled the nonprofit to reach an “international audience.”

The book was published through CreateSpace, an Amazon company that allows people to self-publish their work online.

Between online sales and school sales, the book has sold 380 to 400 copies, with more sales expected as more people become aware of it.

Ms. Flora plans to write two more books about Haas and hopes to use more original illustrations by her late mother for “The Stormy Adventure” and by Ms. Weiss for “How a Heron Hunts.”

The book can be purchased either at Save the River or Amazon for $10.

Support Save The River’s In The Schools Program Today!

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The Thousand Islands Arts Center and Save The River partner to present Chris Murray Photography from June 18th – July 5th at the Arts Center.

June 11th, 2015 | Posted by admin

2015-06-10 Chris Murray TI Sun

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Its What We, With Our Members & Followers, Do

February 4th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

From this morning’s Watertown Daily Times editorial page:

“This weekend, Save the River will hold its annual winter meeting . . . As the conference attendees listen to the panels and enjoy the raw frozen beauty of the St. Lawrence in midwinter from a first-class hotel, it is time to send a strong message to Washington. The International Joint Commission’s lake level plan must be adopted . . . Save the River should remind U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand about the importance of this work to New York.”

We do and with over 5,000 members and followers, we think it is a message they should listen to.

And while our advocacy agenda may not embrace every item the editors of the Watertown Daily Times suggests, we agree 110% on the need for:

We have come to far in our joint effort with communities up and down the River it the US and Canada to restore our great River to back down now.

Join us at our conference Saturday, contact our office for how you can become a member, and let your representatives know you care and you speak out.

Read the full editorial here.

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2016 Save The River T-shirt Design Contest

January 18th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Save The River announces the 2016 Save The River T-shirt Design Contest

archived shirt picture

(Straight from Save The River’s Archives, 37 years of T-shirt history!)

Calling all River Artists! Save The River is searching for next year’s t-shirt design and we want it from you, our members.

Artists and designers of all ages and abilities please submit your original design that best captures the essence of Save The River and the excitement of the St. Lawrence River for the next iconic River T-shirt!

The winner will receive a free t-shirt, 2 tickets to Rock for the River 13, as well as recognition for your design in our storefront and in any materials promoting the 2016 Save The River t-shirt.

To be considered, submissions must follow ALL specifications and rules below:

1. You must be a Save The River member. Not a member? Join today!

2. All designs submitted must be original work from the artist.

3. Designs should be simple and able to be easily transcribed to a t-shirt.

4. Designs should include the following: Save The River and 2016.

5. Designs should be no larger than 12” tall and 9.5” wide.

6. Designs may include up to 4 colors.

7. Designs and rights to it will become the property of Save The River.

8. Submissions must be received NO LATER THAN February 1, 2016. Photos will not be accepted.

Please send your submission and contact information to:

2016 Save The River T-shirt Contest, Save The River, 409 Riverside Drive , Clayton, NY 13624

or email a PDF of your design to Save The River at info@savetheriver.org,  Re: 2016 Save The River T-shirt Contest.

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Save The River’s Winter Raffle!

November 25th, 2014 | Posted by admin

Save The River’s winter raffle is a hand carved, hand painted Wood Duck decoy generously donated by Glenn Sweet. Glenn Sweet is a 3rd generation Alexandria Bay waterfowl carver.  He has been carving for over 40 years and carved his first decoy at the young age of 10.   Glenn has carved this Wood Duck from white cedar and applied acrylic paint to give it vibrant color.  When not out on the River he can be found working in his decoy shop, Thousand Islands Decoy Company in Alexandria Bay.  Thank you Glenn!

2014 Winter Raffle

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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, hand painted wood duck decoy and support Save The River.

Drawing to be held on Monday, February 9th, 2015.

Good luck and Thank You for Supporting Save The River!

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2015 Save The River T-shirt Design Contest

August 11th, 2014 | Posted by admin

Save The River announces the 2015 Save The River T-shirt Design Contest

T-shirts (Straight from Save The River’s Archives, 36 years of T-shirt history!)

Calling all River Artists! Save The River is searching for next year’s t-shirt design and we want it from you, our members.

Artists and designers of all ages and abilities please submit your original design that best captures the essence of Save The River and the excitement of the St. Lawrence River for the next iconic River T-shirt!

The winner will receive a free t-shirt, 2 tickets to Rock for the River 12, as well as recognition for your design in our storefront and in any materials promoting the 2015 Save The River t-shirt.

To be considered, submissions must follow ALL specifications and rules below:

1. You must be a Save The River member. Not a member? Join today!

2. All designs submitted must be original work from the artist.

3. Designs should be simple and able to be easily transcribed to a t-shirt.

4. Designs should include the following: Save The River and 2015.

5. Designs should be no larger than 12” tall and 9.5” wide.

6. Designs may include up to 4 colors.

7. Designs and rights to it will become the property of Save The River.

8. Submissions must be received NO LATER THAN November 14, 2014. Photos will not be accepted.

Please send your submission and contact information to:

2015 Save The River T-shirt Contest, Save The River, 409 Riverside Drive , Clayton, NY 13624

or email a PDF of your design to Save The River at info@savetheriver.org,  Re: 2015 Save The River T-shirt Contest.

Questions? Please email: info@gmail.com

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Critical Piece of Equipment Lost – Replacement Essential to Effort to Ban Microplastics

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by admin

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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Push to Protect Waterways from Microplastics Continues

July 23rd, 2014 | Posted by admin
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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Plan 2014 must be enacted

July 22nd, 2014 | Posted by admin

Our communities, economy and the environment experienced a significant win last month.

After five hard-fought years and a $20 million study that engaged nearly 200 stakeholder representatives and thousands of citizens, the International Joint Commission took unanimous, historic action to protect the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario and the North Country. It sent a new water regulation plan, now called Plan 2014, to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments for approval.

This action stands as one of the singular most important policy decisions of our lifetime. It is the direct result of efforts by north country citizens to bolster our environment and our recreation-based economy. Our leaders and neighbors should be proud of the role they have played in this historic step.

The benefits of Plan 2014 are well researched and well documented.

This new plan will restore wetlands, beaches and other coastal habitats that have been degraded by current regulation. To name a few of the ecological benefits: Wet meadows will increase by 40 percent; northern pike populations will increase by 39 percent; and marsh-nesting birds will make a comeback.

These environmental benefits lead to direct economic advances that benefit our region’s recreation-based economy and quality of life. Healthier lake and river wetlands will support stronger populations of native fish and wildlife, improving the area’s hunting, angling and wildlife-viewing opportunities.

The Nature Conservancy estimates economic benefits, just from improved wildlife recreation, of $4 million to $9.1 million per year, every year.

The battle is not over.

Opponents to the plan remain vocal, repeating mischaracterizations about the process and the plan without offering solutions. New York state has yet to publicly support the plan and may not due to election year politics.

And the parent agency of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. has openly opposed the plan, stating the environment “cannot be accommodated” if doing so is detrimental to commercial shipping.

These factors cast shadows and doubts upon what should be a straightforward task: approval of the plan by the U.S. and Canadian federal governments without delay.

There is hope.

The opponents may be vocal, but their dissent is not widespread. While the opposition is largely located along the south shore of Lake Ontario, so are thousands of supporters of the plan.

For example, the IJC has received 1,000 letters and more than 3,000 petition signatures in favor of Plan 2014 (then called Bv7) from the south shore’s Monroe County.

New York under previous governors has endorsed a modern plan, and we are hopeful it will again under Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency have expressed support for Plan 2014 as a balanced solution.

Alone among federal agencies is the Seaway, whose opposition is particularly confounding given the IJC’s conclusion that commercial navigation will not be harmed by Plan 2014. We do hold out hope as the Seaway’s new administrator, Betty Sutton, has repeatedly stated she puts a high value on the environment.

In an interview with the North Country Public Radio last August, she stated: “I am a person who rejects the kind of thinking that we sometimes hear — that it’s either the environment or jobs, jobs or the environment. I’m a person who believes it’s really important that we protect the great assets that we have. … I reject, ‘You’re either for the commercial aspects of the Seaway or you’re for the environment.’”

Administrator Sutton and the Seaway should seize this historic opportunity and accept the science that shows that the current plan is harming the environment and in turn our region’s economy, and that Plan 2014 is necessary to reverse that harm. We will welcome the Seaway’s support for a balanced approach to water levels management.

In the forefront of everyone’s mind who cares about the health of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and the economies that depend on them should be this sobering statement from the IJC’s report: “If such an opportunity is lost due to delayed implementation of Plan 2014, then the next opportunity may not arise for decades.”

Our communities need this. In the river region, our economy is directly tied to our environment.

Plan 2014 will improve both. We can no longer claim that we don’t understand the effects of our outdated water levels plan — we have the data and knowledge we need to restore the lake and river.

Now we just need the wisdom and will to leave a healthy, vital and thriving river to the generations that follow.

The IJC has done its part; now our federal officials must do theirs and implement Plan 2014 immediately.

North Country Perspective by Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River Executive Director

Published by the Watertown Daily Times on July 22, 2014

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Save The River Reports on Week 1 of Beach Watch Program

July 10th, 2014 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (July 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 1.

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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Clayton, NY 13624

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