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Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director named Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year

March 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director Recognized as Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year
Freshwater Future has added Lee Willbanks to its 2016 list of Freshwater Heroes and honored him with the distinction of Citizen Advocate of the Year.
Based in Michigan, the Freshwater Future has a singular and vitally important mission: to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region.
This month the organization issued its list of Freshwater Heroes. The list includes extraordinary groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond to protect what they hold dear—our waters.
In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “From on-the-water monitoring and restoration efforts, to educating the next generation of river champions, to his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues like aquatic invasive species and regulation of water levels, you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.”
For more: http://ow.ly/1067E4

Freshwater Future has added Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River’s Executive Director, to its 2016 list of Freshwater Heroes and honored him with the distinction of Citizen Advocate of the Year.

Based in Michigan, Freshwater Future has a singular and vitally important mission: to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region.

This month the organization issued its list of Freshwater Heroes. The list includes extraordinary groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond to protect what they hold dear—our waters.

In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “From on-the-water monitoring and restoration efforts, to educating the next generation of river champions, to his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues like aquatic invasive species and regulation of water levels, you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.”

2016 Freshwater Future Freshwater Hero Award
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Ontario Holds First Great Lakes Guardians’ Council Meeting

March 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Lee

On World Water Day, Ontario held its first Great Lakes Guardians’ Council meeting to discuss, gain input and build consensus on priority actions for protecting the Great Lakes and opportunities for partnerships and funding.

The council was established by the Great Lakes Protection Act to help strengthen the province’s ability to keep the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River clean, as well as to protect and restore the waterways that flow into them.

Ministers, representatives from First Nations and Métis communities, and experts from across Ontario, including municipalities and conservation authorities, agriculture, industry and science communities, environmental groups and the recreation and tourism sectors, discussed strategies to tackle significant environmental challenges to the Great Lakes, including climate change and algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Work to date was highlighted today through the release of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy’s first progress report. The report highlights key accomplishments and new scientific findings since the release of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy in 2012.

Maintaining and improving the health of the Great Lakes is fundamental to the province’s economy and quality of life, and is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario is also creating a working group that will include a broad spectrum of partners to help reduce algal blooms in Lake Erie, and contribute to the 40 per cent phosphorus load reduction target established for Lake Erie’s western and central basins. This will help meet commitments under the Great Lakes Protection Act, the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative, the Great Lakes Commission’s Lake Erie Nutrient Targets Joint Action Plan, and other agreements.
  • The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region generated $5.8 trillion (USD) in 2014 and supports nearly 47 million jobs, which is almost 30 per cent of the combined Canadian and U.S. workforce.
  • The Great Lakes basin is home to nearly 99 per cent of the province’s population, over 95 per cent of the province’s agriculture and food production, 80 per cent of the province’s power generation, and 75 per cent of the country’s manufacturing sector.
  • Ontario has 10,000 kilometres of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence shoreline, the longest freshwater coastline in the world.
  • Since the launch of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy in December 2012, Ontario has invested $47 million into more than 680 local Great Lakes protection projects.
  • Since 2007, Ontario has invested more than $140 million into 1,000 local Great Lakes protection projects that have reduced harmful pollutants, restored some of the most contaminated areas, and engaged hundreds of partners and community groups to protect and restore the health of the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes St Lawrence River from space

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World Water Day 2016

March 22nd, 2016 | Posted by Lee

As we celebrate World Water Day it is important to recognize the vital role clean water plays in the functioning of the Earth’s ecosystems and to our economy. The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Water and Jobs,” and never has that focus been more critical.

Our waterways are facing more threats than ever before and the problems of water scarcity and pollution seem to touch every corner of the globe. By the middle of next century, it is predicted that over 40% of the world population – 3.9 billion people – could be living in areas under severe water stress as climate change adds to the pressure from economic and population growth.

Water pollution threatens drinking water resources, tourism dollars and commerce and is a major contributor to economic water scarcity. Economic water scarcity is the result of a lack of investment in water infrastructure and is impacted by a population’s lack of monetary means to utilize an adequate source of water. The tragedy that unfolded in Flint, Michigan is emblematic of just how much this type of crisis can cost a community, with economic damages alone predicted to exceed $10 million.

An effective way to give our waterways a voice is the presence of vigilant advocates focused on clean water issues to “watchdog” our communities’ precious water resources. Today there are currently 934 advocates employed by 277 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide working to protect 2.3 million square miles of waterways so that people have clean water to support a vibrant and healthy community. Save The River as the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper is proud to be one of them.

On the St. Lawrence River, Save The River is fighting for a modern water levels management plan that puts ecosystem health on equal footing with shipping, hydropower production and flood protection to replace the more than fifty-year-old regime that has lead to the loss of 64,000 acres of wetlands, steep declines in the populations of indigenous species and threatens the tourism-based economies of communities along its banks.World Water Day STR

For almost two decades Save The River has been part of a robust multi-national collaboration working to bring a modern plan to the management of the River. After a $20 million binational study and extensive public comment and consultation with government at all levels and other stakeholders, the International Joint Commission (IJC) referred “Plan 2014” to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments.

Plan 2014 is based on science, developed since the River was first dammed, showing the benefits of healthy, intact wetlands – including improved water quality, stronger fisheries, increased biodiversity, and erosion control. When adopted, it will begin the restoration of 64,000 acres of wetlands, increase populations of key indigenous species, and increase the resilience of hundreds of miles of shoreline in the U.S. and Canada. Plan 2014 is also a net economic winner, providing millions annually in increased economic benefits for the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region as well as increased hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities worth as much as $9.1 million annually to New York’s economy.

This World Water Day it is time for our federal governments – Canadian and U.S. – to accept Plan 2014 as it was referred and begin restoration of our River and the communities that depend on it for a sustainable future.

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Audubon on Wind Development

March 18th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
from Audubon (edited for emphasis): The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recommends all new wind developments consider several factors before choosing a location.
Among these AVOID:
– bird migration routes;
– places where raptors’ prey congregates, and
– water-filled landscapes that would encourage birds to flock, such as wetlands.
The full piece is worth a read: http://ow.ly/ZFhkS
Isn’t the St. Lawrence River valley, a place:
– ON the Atlantic Flyway, a MAJOR bird migration route;
– WHERE raptors’ prey congregates, and
– a WATER-FILLED landscape that encourages birds to flock?
Save The River’s position: http://ow.ly/ZFlS0
photo credit: Heidi Blackwell

photo credit: Heidi Blackwell

from Audubon (edited for emphasis):

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recommends all new wind developments consider several factors before choosing a location.

Among these AVOID:
– bird migration routes;
– places where raptors’ prey congregates, and
– water-filled landscapes that would encourage birds to flock, such as wetlands.

The full Audubon piece “Will Wind Energy Ever Be Safe for Birds?” is worth a read.

Isn’t the St. Lawrence River valley, a place:
– ON the Atlantic Flyway, a MAJOR bird migration route;
– WHERE raptors’ prey congregates, and
– a WATER-FILLED landscape that encourages birds to flock?

Save The River’s position on industrial wind development in the St. Lawrence River valley

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NYSDEC’s 2015 Lake Ontario Fisheries Programs

March 15th, 2016 | Posted by admin

from the Watertown Daily Times, published on March 14, 2016.

Biologists, anglers talk state of Lake Ontario fishing

“The anglers knew it, and the biologists had the charts to confirm it: last season’s fishing on Lake Ontario was officially lousy.

With few answers about the cause of the dip, beyond colder-than-average water, there was little hope the state Department of Environmental Conservation could offer for fishing this year.”

For the entire story click here: http://ow.ly/ZqZ2q

For NYSDEC’s 2015 Lake Ontario Fisheries Report click here: http://ow.ly/Zr4Oj

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Save The River’s Position on Industrial Wind Development in the St. Lawrence River Valley

March 14th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Position on Industrial Wind (as of 2016-03-14).

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New Canadian Member Random Bonus

March 11th, 2016 | Posted by admin

Join Save The River and enter a random bonus drawing for an Akona Vibe package with paddle & leash with a $999 retail price from Ed Huck Marine.

All new Canadian members who join or renew between August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016 are automatically eligible.

Become a member today!

Canadian Member Bonus

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Reuters Special Report Covers Salt & Lead Contamination in Town of Orleans

March 10th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

ORLEANS, New York – In this town of 2,800 just south of the Canadian border, residents have long worried about the water flowing from their taps.

The water in one household is so corrosive it gutted three dishwashers and two washing machines. Another couple’s water is so salty the homeowners tape the taps when guests visit. Even the community’s welcome center warns travelers, “Do Not Drink The Water.”

Read the full story here,

and our letter published in several papers here.

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Plan 2014 needed to restore fish populations

March 9th, 2016 | Posted by admin

Originally published in the Watertown Daily Times on March 9, 2016.

We, the undersigned, would like to call your readers’ attention to a recent proposed change in state fishing regulations and the unique policy opportunity it provides. The Department of Environmental Conservation suggested changes to the fishing regulations that would reduce the daily limit of northern pike from five to three on the St. Lawrence River.

The reason for this change?…damaging water-level regulations that have been in place for more than 50 years and have yet to be updated.”

Click here to read the full letter.

View NYSDEC’s proposed fishing regulation changes.

More Pike

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Support Canada’s Draft Rules Banning Microbeads!

March 9th, 2016 | Posted by admin
Support Canada’s Draft Rules Banning Microbeads!
The Canadian federal government has proposed rules banning microbeads – an important step to protect the St. Lawrence River! Send an email today supporting the ban to keep microbeads out of our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Comments are due by tomorrow, March 10th, send a comment today to make your voice heard!
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT:
ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca
Sample Language:
·      I support the draft regulations for banning microbeads proposed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
·         Every effort must be made to eliminate the source of pollution and ensure that microbeads do not enter our shared Great Lakes and Rivers. We commend the federal government of Canada for recognizing this, and support the draft regulations.
For more info visit http://ow.ly/ZgfXN.

The Canadian federal government has proposed rules banning microbeads – an important step to protect the St. Lawrence River! Send an email today supporting the ban to keep microbeads out of our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Comments are due by tomorrow, March 10th, send a comment today to make your voice heard!

SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT:

ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca

Sample Language:

  • I support the draft regulations for banning microbeads proposed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Every effort must be made to eliminate the source of pollution and ensure that microbeads do not enter our shared Great Lakes and Rivers. We commend the federal government of Canada for recognizing this, and support the draft regulations.

For more info visit http://ow.ly/ZgfXN.

View Save The River’s Comment Letter.

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