If you’ve followed news on the Great Lakes, you know that Canada and the United States, and the IJC, have released reports on progress to restore the vitality of the Great Lakes. The reports are required every three years by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which provides goals to guide the two countries’ work. Now’s your chance to influence what actions will be taken for the Great Lakes in the next triennial cycle.
The IJC has launched ParticipateIJC, a website for gathering public comment on progress made by our two countries and sharing conversations and videos from meetings the IJC is holding around the Great Lakes. You may review the reports – the Parties Report on Progress and the IJC’s draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report – and provide written comments as well as joining online discussions on topics in the TAP report. We welcome perceptions of the lakes from your unique vantage point, locally and as a Great Lakes citizen. All written comments can be submitted by April 15, 2017.
January 7th was a red-letter day for the St. Lawrence River.
It was the day Plan 2014 – the modern water levels plan Save The River has advocated for since the 1990’s – went into effect.
Unfortunately, even before it was unanimously approved by the International Joint Commission, a few elected officials and self-appointed spokespersons from the south shore of Lake Ontario began using “alternative facts” to block its approval and now its operation.
Their plan? Is no plan at all – They would keep in place the outdated regulatory scheme that has destroyed critical wetland habitat, decimated key species like Northern Pike and Black Term, and choked economic development up and down the River for the past 50 years.
Their efforts continue – and they are wrong on every point.
ECONOMIC AND SHORELINE BENEFITS
Their claim? The new plan “will set the stage for very large man-made disasters . . . [and] the real numbers [of damages] will be in the hundreds of millions [of dollars] . . . that could destroy the economies of six counties” (note 1)
PUBLIC SUPPORT AND INPUT
Their claim? “The approval of this plan was a midnight action“ (note 2) and it “was a last-minute mid-night approval by U.S. and Canadian officials having no understanding of [its] ramifications.” (note 3)
THE BOTTOM LINE
Their claim? “[A] recent decision by the International Joint Commission on Lake Levels [sic] to increase the maximum lake level by another two feet.” (note 4)
1. January 30, 2017 letter from the Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance (LORA) to President Trump
2. January 17, 2017 letter from Reps. Collins and Katko to then Vice President-elect Pence
3. January 30, 2017 LORA letter to President Trump
4. Letter to the editor from NYS Assemblyman Peter Lawrence published in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle April 30, 2016
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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
Thank You to the Sponsors of the 28th Winter Conference
Our Winter Conference Sponsors help make the conference a regionally significant event that promotes understanding of the health of the River and the need for greater stewardship to protect it.
We thank all our sponsors for their support of our conference and our work to preserve, protect and restore 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 29th Winter Environmental Conference will be February 3, 2018. Click here for updates.
Saturday, February 4, attendees of this annual conference focused on the health of the St. Lawrence River will hear from an influential and diverse group of speakers.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose district covers the entire length of the St. Lawrence River in the U.S., will speak on the strides made to protect the River Community and the important work done on issues ranging from Plan 2014 to combating invasive species.
Frank Bevacqua, Public Information Officer with the International Joint Commission, will talk about the differences in water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario under Plan 2014, and what it means for boaters, shoreline residents and the natural environment.
Rob Caldwell, Canadian Regulation Representative with the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, will cover how the new plan compares to the one it replaced and potential impacts and benefits.
Lawrence Gunther, North America’s only blind professional angler and founder of Blue Fish Canada. Lawrence will talk about his experiences making the documentary “What Lies Below” for which he crossed Canada and spoke to sport and commercial fishermen and women about the challenges facing Canada’s wild fish stocks.
The St. Lawrence River Institute’s Mesha Boyer will present the film “A Great River Runs Through Us” which documents their extremely successful citizens’ River cleanup efforts in the Cornwall area this past summer.
Wrapping up the conference will be the First Lego League Team: Heritage Hi-Techs whose “Animal Allies” themed robotics competition entry was based on knowledge gained from Save The River and others about the need for responsible stewardship of the River’s threatened Muskellunge population.
Registration for this year’s Conference closes tomorrow Friday, February 3rd. To secure a place, it is best call the Save The River office at (315) 686-2010.
Robert Howard, Rhys Jenis, Rebecca Leonard, team members of The Heritage Hi-Techs, a rookie First Lego League team of 5th graders from Clayton, NY, wanted to call attention to an iconic, but threatened River species – the Muskellunge – as part of their solution to this year’s robotic competition.
So they asked Save The River for input and came up with “Animal Allies” as a theme for their entry. Based on knowledge gained from Save The River and others about the need for responsible stewardship of the River’s threatened Muskellunge population, they will present their solution, which earned them tremendous first-year success, at our conference.
The team’s name, Heritage Hi-Techs, is based on the neighborhood which they all live in. Robert, Rhys and Rebecca all share an interest in robots and have been friends since they were in strollers. Since their elementary school does not have a robotics class or club currently, they decided work together to learn robotics as a team.
Registration for this year’s Conference closes Friday, February 3rd. To secure a place, it is best call the Save The River office at (315) 686-2010.