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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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Microplastic Producers Hope You Won’t Help Out

July 30th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Your $50 Contribution will Help Replace Equipment Essential to the Effort to Ban Microplasticsthe makers of the products that use these tiny, toxin accumulating particles want you to do nothing.

But we know, as a Save The River follower, you understand the need and will make a contribution today.Progress 25

Monday we alerted you to the fact that microplastics researcher Dr. Sherri Mason has had an equipment loss that cripples her ability to conduct much needed research into the extent and impact of microplastics in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Save The River and other organizations are using her research to secure a ban of these polluting particles. See Monday’s post here.

Many of you responded and we are about 25% of the way to the $3,500 it will cost to replace the lost manta trawl.

Understanding the extent and impact of microplastic pollution and enacting effective bans requires scientific research, and diligent, focused advocacy based on that research. Every $50 (or amount you are comfortable with) gets us closer to replacing Dr. Mason’s manta trawl, gets her closer to being back on the water before the end of our very short boating season and gets us closer to banning microplastics from our Lakes and River.

Click here to make your contribution.

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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Race Results Announced for the 12th annual Run for the River 5K/10K

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

Many thanks to the 516 runners and walkers who came out Saturday morning to support Save The River’s 12th annual Run for the River 5K/10K.  We saw record turnouts and the event was our biggest ever, raising several thousand dollars for our River protection programs.

Congratulations to our 5K Winner Duncan Stark with an amazing time of 16:49 and our Top 5K Female Susan Friedrich with an overall 10rd place finish and a 19:23 time. The first 10K overall winner was Lawrence Joseph Franks Jr. who timed in at 35:49 and our first 10k Top Female is Michelle Collie with a time of 35:49. Congrats to all runner and walkers on a spectacular race!

5K Results

Top Overall –Duncan Stark (16:49) 1st Place

Overall Female – Susan Friedrich (19:23) 10th place

Female 13 and Under – Emily Blight (23:39)

Male 13 and Under - Joshua Rainbolt (23:05)

Female 14-19 –Lynde Wrangler (21:19)

Male 14-19 – Xufeng Pan (17:38)

Female 20-29 – Amanda Schleicher (23:38)

Male 20-29 – Jordan Goff (18:41)

Female 30-39 – Caryn Pamphier (20:36)

Male 30-39 – Scott Wilkes (18:17)

Female 40-49 – Susan Beiswenger (23:08)

Male 40-49 – Steven Doe (18:05)

Female 50-59 – Laurie Beth Matthew (22:13)

Male 50-59 - Mike Sayers (21:04)

Female 60-60 – Sylvia Hungerford (28:51)

Male 60-69 – Thomas Cain (25:27)

Female 70+ – Kathy O’Neill (48:29)

Male 70+ – Robert Hasseler (23:03)

10K Results

Overall Male –Lawrence Joseph Franks Jr. (35:49)

Overall Female – Michelle Collie (41:40)

Female 14-19 –Joanne Bechaz (52:28)

Male 14-19 – Kevin Moore (42:49)

Female 20-29 –Krista Clarke (50:54)

Male 20-29 – Nathanael Franks (41:39)

Female 30-39 –Julie Curtin (42:09)

Male 30-39 – Gradin Junn (38:25)

Female 40-49 – Judith Carbonell (47:04)

Male 40-49- Matthew Westerlund (40:00)

Female 50-59- Karen Godshall (50:40)

Male 50-59- Gregory McLean (49:11)

Female 60- 69 – Nancy Werthmuller (49:11)

Male 60-69 –  Dave Kortz (50:40)

5K Results sorted by Age Group

5K Overall Results

10K Results Sorted by Age Group

10K Overall Results

Many thanks to our Generous Event Sponsors and Supporters! All proceeds from the event support our River protection and education programs!

American Legion Colon-Couch Post 821, Clayton

Against the Grain Gourmet

Caskinette’s Lofink Ford Mercury

Camelbak

Cheney Tire

Community Bank

Howard Orthotics & Prosthetics

Innovative Physical Therapy Solutions

The Phinney Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Reinman’s Department Store

Clayton Shur Fine

Clayton Chiropractic

Road ID

Frontenac Crystal Spring

And, many thanks to the many volunteers who help make the run possible along with organizations including Clayton Fire Police, Clayton Police Department, Thousand Island Emergency Rescue Service (TIERS), Thousand Islands Young Leaders Organization (TIYLO) and the Village and Town of Clayton.

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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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Plan 2014 must be enacted

July 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

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

Restoring the Common Tern in the Islands

July 18th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey
Meet our newest Riverkeeper volunteers, Patti, Jennifer, and Nathan, they are dressed and ready for the part.
Don’t miss out on your chance to attend a Riverkeeper Volunteer Training. We still have openings in our next training on Wednesday, July 30th from 6-7pm at the Save The River office in Clayton. To register call 315-686-2010. See you there!

Tern1Once a very plentiful part of our waterbird population in the St Lawrence River Valley, the Common Tern has dropped to significantly low levels, due to a loss of nesting habitat and the expansion of Ring-billed Gulls. As a result of this dramatic decline in numbers, the Common Tern was listed as a threatened species in New York State. Save The River (STR) and the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) have formed a cooperative effort, in conjunction with Dr. Lee Harper, of Riveredge Associates, to monitor Common Tern nesting areas on the River. Residents from the Chippewa Bay area have also been very involved in helping to monitor and restore Tern habitat.

STR first became involved in 1997, with TILT volunteering the use of their Eagle Wing Shoals and Tidd Island soon thereafter. TILT maintains some of the last natural nesting shoals, still utilized by Common Terns, on the Upper St. Lawrence River.

Tern 2

All of the date collected by STR and TILT’s volunteers is gathered on standardized reporting format and reported the o the season to Dr. Harper. This critically important information helps Dr. Harper plan for habitat restoration efforts. Most of the navcells have now been encircled by plastic netting, which helps to keep young chicks from jumping off the high cells into the River before they can fly. A necessary tool at chick banding time is a small fish net to retrieve “jumpers” who jump into the water. The Eagle Wings shoals located just off Clayton, has been covered with a polypropylene line grid, installed each spring and broken down late summer by TILT and STR volunteers. Holes are drilled into the granite and steel bars are stuck into the holes to anchor the grid. It is an intense fun day long effort. TILT transports the crew out to the islands in their fantastic work boat, lunch is provided for all volunteers. And more volunteers are always welcome!

To read the entire article visit thousandislandslife.com.

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Save The River Reports on Week 2 of Beach Watch Program

July 17th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Clayton, NY (July 17, 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 2.

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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