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.”
Graphic from the EPA website (for now): https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule
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*.
“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.
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- 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
“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.”
2017 Summer Internship Positions Available
Save The River is looking for qualified candidates for paid internships this Summer.
The positions run from mid May through Labor Day.
Applications will be accepted until March 17, 2017.
There really is no better way to spend a summer – on the water, in the storefront, working on the frontlines with Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper protecting the River!
For over 50 years the St. Lawrence River has suffered under a destructive water levels management plan. On this 44th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, almost 20 years after the destruction of over 64,000 acres of wetlands habitat and the precipitous decline of species dependent on those wetlands was identified and more than 2 years after a plan to begin the restoration of those wetlands was referred to them by the International Joint Commission, the U.S. and Canadian federal governments still have not acted, and the St. Lawrence remains one of America’s most endangered rivers.
This is not right!
In June following American Rivers designating the St. Lawrence as one of America’s 10 most endangered rivers, we wrote about it on their website. At that point we and a broad coalition of groups and individuals supporting a modern plan for managing the River – Plan 2014 – had collected over 22,000 expressions of support for the plan. Now we have over 36,000.
Now is the time for our federal governments to act. Now before we reach any more anniversaries. Now before we lose any more wetlands and the species dependent on them.
It is time for #Plan2014Now!
Riverkeeper and Executive Director records his Watermark.
The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways people interact with water started by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in 2015. A Watermark is a true story about you and a body of water. Your Watermark connects you to a shared water heritage. A Watermark describes a memory of time spent near water or the way a body of water has shaped your life. Watermarks create a living record of our powerful connection. When you archive your Watermark, you help protect your water heritage.
Submit yours by clicking here.
Join us in our work to protect, preserve and restore the St. Lawrence River now and for future generations.
We do this by educating children about the River, and how to live with and sustain it and the creatures that depend on it being healthy. And we work for policies that will protect it from invasive species, toxic chemicals and untreated waste dumping, microplastics and an outdated dam management plan that has decimated tens of thousands of acres of wetlands and species.
But to do it well and to reach even more children and adults and bring about meaningful policy change we need a community of members that is large, vocal and supportive.
We need you! Please join Save The River today and become a partner in our effort to pass on a healthy St. Lawrence River for generations to share.
As we reported here in an earlier post, “St. Lawrence River & Key Figures Play Big Role in Upcoming Film“, in June the crew from Changing Currents, PLU MediaLab, came to New York, Ontario and, specifically the St. Lawrence River for interviews and filming for “Changing Currents: Protecting North America’s Rivers”, an examination of river pollution and restoration efforts in North America.
In a recently released trailer for the movie portions of an interview with Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River Executive Director Lee Willbanks are shown. “I am honored to be able to speak about the work we and many others have done to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River as part of what looks to be an excellent documentary about the threats to freshwater bodies across North America and some of the restoration efforts occurring in communities across the continent.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 50 percent of rivers and lakes in the United States are too polluted for swimming or fishing. The mission of the film is to educate others on ecological river health, encourage environmental stewardship and advocate for dialog regarding effective river protection. The film is currently in pre-production and will premiere on Nov. 12, 2016 in the Theatre on the Square at the Broadway Center for Performing Arts in Tacoma, Washington.
Save The River Reports on Week 6 of Beach Watch Program
Save The River’s Beach Watch Program is in the process of monitoring popular summer swimming locations on the River from July 5th through August 29th on a weekly basis. Save The River reports all samples collected on August 8, 2016 passed.
For the 2016 sampling season Save The River volunteers are collecting water quality samples at six swimming areas along the River: Wilson’s 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.
|Location||Pass/Fail||Parts per 100mL|
|Lake of the Isles||PASS||<1.0|
|Scenic View Beach||PASS||25.0|
|Wilson’s Beach 3 ft||PASS||5.2|
|Wilson’s Beach 6ft||PASS||1.0|
Results are expressed in numbers of bacteria colonies found in 100 milliliter (mL) sample of swimming water. The NY State Department of Health has set a swimming quality limit of 235 colonies of E. coli bacteria per 100 mL of water.
As in previous years, Save The River will be testing for E. coli bacteria in all of its swimming locations and will compare water quality results with state and federal regulations. Save The River will make the results available to the public each week with a pass/fail system at the organization’s office, online 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.
To sign up for weekly Beach Watch updates or for more information about the program please contact the Save The River office at (315)-686-2010 or visit www.savetheriver.org.