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Save The River Announces Interim Executive Director

June 11th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River announced today that John Peach has been appointed to serve as the executive director and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper in an interim capacity until a new director has been hired. John has resigned from his position on the board of directors to serve in this interim role. The search process for the next executive director has already begun, overseen by a search committee chaired by Diane Leonard, secretary of the board.  

“We are pleased to have John stepping into this leadership role while we search for our next executive director,” said Jeff Garnsey, president of Save The River’s board of directors. “His experience as a long-time board member and active volunteer ensures that we will continue the progress we’ve made during Lee Willbanks’ time as executive director. John will provide continuity for our projects while we focus on finding the right person to join our organization.”

“My passion is that Save The River remains strong in our work to protect the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education, and research,” said Peach. “Summer is a busy season for us with many of our programs and events taking place in the next few months, including the celebration of our 40th anniversary. I look forward to representing our organization and will be available to our members and communities both at the office and out on the River.”

John joined Save The River’s board in 2000 and has served in several key roles including as president from 2004-2007, on the executive committee, and most recently as treasurer leading the finance committee. He is an active volunteer in Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring program and shoal marking program and will continue his work in these programs while serving as executive director. Prior to his retirement several years ago, Peach worked as an international business consultant in fields including arts, oceanographic research, environmental, and pharmaceuticals. He and his wife Pat call Huckleberry Island near Ivy Lea home for a significant portion of the year; their children and grandchildren represent the fifth and sixth generations of family living in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region.

The complete executive director job description and application instructions are available here.

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Save The River Executive Director Departing

May 16th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River announced today that after six years of leadership Lee Willbanks will be departing his position as Executive Director and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper at the end of June.

Willbanks joined Save The River in June of 2012 and played a critical role in significant achievements for the organization including:

    • Oversight of the advocacy enactment of Plan 2014;
    • Creation of Bass Catch & Release program;
    • Expansion of the In the Schools program;
    • Strengthened relationships with fellow Waterkeeper organizations and elected officials; and
    • Led member engagement in the advocacy effort to ban Microbeads in New York State.

“I have loved the responsibility and challenge of being the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and working with the staff, board and volunteers to advance Save The River’s mission to protect and preserve the River,” said Willbanks. “After six years of hard fought accomplishments I am looking forward to other ways to engage with this great River, starting with a lot of delayed boating.”

“I have enjoyed working with Lee during his tenure at Save The River. His depth of knowledge and passion for both regional and global environmental issues have allowed us to reach beyond the ends of our docks and impact the entire St. Lawrence River basin. He will be sorely missed,” said Jeff Garnsey, president of Save The River’s board of directors. “Our board is committed to supporting our dynamic staff team during this transitional period. Our priority is to find the best individual to fulfill Save The River’s mission to protect the Upper St. Lawrence River.”

The search for new leadership will begin immediately; a position description is available here. Interested individuals should submit application materials by June 1, 2018.

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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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Thank You to the Sponsors of Our 29th Winter Environmental Conference

February 6th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Thank you to our sponsors of the 29th Winter Environmental Conference. Their support makes the conference a regionally significant event promoting the health of the St. Lawrence River. Click here if you would like your business to support a healthy St. Lawrence River by supporting our annual Winter Environmental Conference. Our 30th Winter Environmental Conference will be February 2, 2019. Click here for updates.

 

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Agenda Set for Save The River’s 29th Winter Environmental Conference

January 30th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Saturday, February 3rd, attendees of this annual conference focused on the health of the St. Lawrence River will hear from a diverse group of speakers about a wide range of topics. Ann Ward, Save The River Board Member Emerita, will provide a welcome address reflecting on Save The River’s 40th anniversary. 

Click here for the conference agenda.

Commissioner Lana Pollack, U.S. Section Chair for the International Joint Commission (IJC), will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.

Bill Werick, retired water resources planner and technical adviser to the IJC, will speak about the adaptive management component of Plan 2014.

David Bolduc, executive director of Green Marine, will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification program for the maritime transportation industry. 

Henry Lickers, Ph.D., Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program, and Michael Twiss, Clarkson University professor and member of the IJC Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, will provide a unique dialogue about the St. Lawrence River as habitat from native and non-native perspectives.

Lee Harper, Ph.D., president of Riveredge Environmental, Inc., and Michael Morgan, NYS DEC Project Manager, will explore the opportunities and challenges restoring and maintaining habitats for bird populations along the St. Lawrence River.

John Farrell, Ph.D., SUNY ESF professor and director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station, and Scott Schlueter, fish biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Program Manager for the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund, will discuss their respective work studying fish of the St. Lawrence River along with restoration and conservation efforts being made to enhance populations.

Eric Sunday, Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program, will close the conference with a presentation about the efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Registration for this year’s Conference closes Friday, February 2nd. To secure a place, it is best to call the Save The River office at (315) 686-2010.

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Trends in St. Lawrence Fish Populations and Efforts to Enhance the Fishery

January 29th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

John Farrell, Ph.D., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station, and Scott Schlueter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Program Manager for the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund (FEMRF) will speak about trends in St. Lawrence River fish populations and efforts to enhance the fishery, focusing on the conservation efforts for focal species. 

Long- term environmental monitoring of fish populations reveal the effects of aquatic invasive species and environmental variation. Apex predators in the St. Lawrence River, including muskellunge, have declined substantially following outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic septicemia. Restoration work (both species and habitat levels) holds promise to enhance populations within environmental constraints. The FEMRF is a settlement fund resulting from the St. Lawrence Power Project relicensing with a goal to benefit the fishery resources in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin and continue research on the American Eel and other species that may be affected by the Project.

John Farrell is a Professor of Aquatic and Fisheries Science and Director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station on Governors Island in Clayton, New York. He has been engaged in aquatic research and management on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes for nearly 30 years and has mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students and has published and lectured extensively on fisheries, wetlands, and aquatic ecology.

Scott Schlueter is a Fish Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from SUNY-ESF. Scott has spent more than 20 years working on St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes fisheries issues, with a special interest in the conservation of Lake Sturgeon and American Eel.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Henry Lickers and Michael Twiss will speak about the St. Lawrence River as habitat from a native and non-native perspective.
  • Eric Sunday will speak about efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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The St. Lawrence River as Habitat from Divergent Viewpoints

January 25th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program, and Michael Twiss, Clarkson University and member of the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, will present on the St. Lawrence River as habitat from divergent viewpoints. 

Lickers will discuss the Mohawk’s worldview of integration, not domination, with the environment concentrating on different points of view between native and non-native societies. Twiss will discuss the current status and assessment of Great Lakes connecting channels.

Lickers, member of Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan, works to incorporate First Nation’s people and knowledge into environmental planning and decision making. He has worked to address local, national, and international environmental issues with organizations including the International Joint Commission, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and the Science and Technology Advisory Council to Environment Canada. Lickers is the author of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Action Plan and several influential writings on indigenous perspectives on resource management and environmental protection.

Twiss grew up in northern Ontario, became a dual citizen, and joined the faculty at Clarkson University in 2002, following a brief tenure at Ryerson University and a post-doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He became engaged with limnology (the science of lakes) during his baccalaureate at Trent University when he found there was such a thing. Twiss has focused his career on the Great Lakes with the goal to produce and convey the best scientific information that can be used to protect this remarkable and globally significant environment.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Eric Sunday will speak about efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.
  • John Farrell and Scott Schlueter will speak about trends in upper St. Lawrence River fish populations (complete announcement coming soon).

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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Community Awareness and Education About Sturgeon

January 24th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Eric Sunday of the Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program (ACRP) will present on efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne. 

Sunday is of the Wolf Clan of the Akwesasne Mohawks. For the past four years he has studied under the Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program as an apprentice of Fishing and River Use. The ACRP emphasizes the reconnection of youth with the land and river through hands-on workshops and educational presentations, nurturing the future with knowledge from our elders.

Sunday was one of the primary educators during the 2016 and 2017 Lake Sturgeon fingerling release for the Salmon River outreach event from the ACRP.  He was also one of the 2017 interns who assisted with interviews of Mohawk elders and creating signage for Akwesasne specific to Lake Sturgeon.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Henry Lickers and Michael Twiss will speak about the current status and assessment of Great Lakes connecting channels from divergent view points (complete announcement coming soon).
  • John Farrell and Scott Schlueter will speak about trends in upper St. Lawrence River fish populations (complete announcement coming soon).

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

 

 

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Something “Fowl” About Our Winter Environmental Conference

January 23rd, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Lee Harper, Ph.D, President of Riveredge Environmental, Inc. and Michael Morgan, NYS DEC Project Manager and Biologist for St. Lawrence Habitat Management Project, will present on the state of St. Lawrence River Fowl at the 29th annual Winter Environmental Conference. 

Harper and Morgan will explore opportunities and challenges restoring and maintaining habitats for bird populations along the St. Lawrence River, and highlight some very successful restoration efforts. Common Terns, Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors will be discussed.

Harper is a consulting conservation biologist with a special interest in rare, threatened, and endangered birds, fish, and freshwater mussels. For the past 28 years, he has worked with St. Lawrence River waterbirds and other fauna under contract to State, Federal, and Tribal agencies. Lee and his crew have banded almost 40,000 Common Tern chicks over the years to learn about their survivorship, post-fledging dispersal, and migration from the River to Central and South America and back. For many years Harper has guided and advised Save The River’s initiative to restore Common Terns in the 1000 Islands area of the St. Lawrence River.

Morgan has assisted with the conservation of New York’s natural resources while studying for a graduate degree at SUNY Brockport, and subsequently working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and then Audubon New York. Mike now serves as Project Manager for the DEC’s St. Lawrence Habitat Management Project and also manages Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area near Massena, New York. Morgan has hosted Save The River Riverkeeper Volunteer Trainings at the Wilson Hill offices.

Other presentations at the Conference will focus on Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions, the environmental improvement efforts being made by shippers, terminals and ports, the condition of the River as habitat, and the general state of fish that depend on the River being healthy. 

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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Conference Welcome Address to Reflect on 40th Anniversary of Save The River

January 19th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

In celebration of our 40th anniversary the welcome address at our upcoming 29th annual Winter Environmental Conference will be provided by Ann Ward, past president and long time Board member of Save The River. Ann will reflect on 40 years of challenges and accomplishments of Save The River as the leading grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River. 

Ann is a retired legal administrator and a perennial volunteer. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and past Chair of Glassboro State College Board of Trustees (now Rowan University). Ann has served her community as a member of a variety of organizations including the League of Women Voters, Haddonfield Planning Board, Habitat for Humanity, and as a current Board member of Macsherry Library Board. She resides in Alexandria Bay.

Other presentations will focus on Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions, the condition of the River as habitat, and the general state of fish and birds that depend on the River being healthy.

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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