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Thank You!

January 11th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Watertown Daily Times editorial makes the point. Breaking ice to get ships to locks they can’t get through once they’re there just doesn’t make sense.

   Watertown Daily Times, January 11, 2018

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Seaway Closing Update

January 9th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

from the Seaway:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look forward to the opportunity for a discussion of the time and manner of selecting and modifying the opening and closing dates of the Seaway. Particularly in light of increasing variability in weather on the Lake and River.

We appreciate the fact that the challenging and dangerous nature of some incidents requires extreme effort and resources. And it is always our fervent hope that any and all incidents end with no injury and no environmental harm. But as we made clear with respect to the Federal Biscay, we believe the public must get timely updates from official sources about the nature of any incident and the steps being take to bring it to a safe and successful conclusion.

We are glad the 2017 Seaway season can come to a close with the ships cleared, the crews, responders and Seaway personnel safe and the River laying up while we all wait for spring.

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Federal Biscay Now Freed from Snell Lock

January 6th, 2018 | Posted by Lee
Statement from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation on the Federal Biscay being freed from the Snell Lock earlier today.
 
Per the Seaway an update will be issued when the five ships awaiting transit downbound have exited the Upper River.
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With Ship Still Stuck, Silence from the Seaway – Updated

January 5th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Since Tuesday, the Federal Biscay, a 650+ long bulk carrier, has been stuck in the Snell Lock near Massena, the last U.S. lock on the St. Lawrence River. Up River four more ships wait for it to be cleared.

As they sit surrounded by persistent severe cold, more ice is forming on the River, raising the reasonable question of whether and when the Federal Biscay will be freed, allowing it and the other ships to exit the Upper St. Lawrence. Until then, the Seaway, which was supposed to close December 31st, remains open.

Based on the one statement the Seaway has issued it appears this prolonged delay resulted from the ship being allowed to enter the lock with significant ice present on its hull and in the lock.

In the vacuum created by the Seaway’s silence all we have to go on are tweets and social media posts by followers and watchers of shipping on the River. Other than a reported “No further updates” from the Seaway, the press has had to rely on these “sources” as well.

This, in a word, is unacceptable.

We understand that an incident like this requires an “all hands on deck” approach. But with no official updates on the Seaway’s plans and actions, the public is left to imagine the potential harm that can result from ships with full holds and presumably large quantities of fuel stopped for an indeterminate time in a freezing river? The public is left to wonder what measures are being taken to protect the environment and the health of those nearby and involved in the operation to release the ship? What plans are being made in case it cannot be released until the spring thaw?

Given the Seaway’s legal responsibility as “Captain of the Port” over the River and its enormous moral responsibility to do its part to protect the health of the River as a “shared user”, silence about its actions in response to an incident of this magnitude is a dereliction of its duty to the rest of us who share the River and rely on it remaining healthy and safe. It is reasonable to expect transparency and accountability from a public agency with such tremendous responsibility for and potential impact on our River. It is incumbent on us to demand transparency and accountability when it is not forthcoming.

It may well be that there is nothing to worry about from this incident. Perhaps only environmentally benign measures will be necessary and in a few days all five ships will be on their way.

But then what? We will still be left wondering how the decisions of when to open and close the Seaway are made? How did this incident happen? Why wasn’t the Seaway better prepared to deal with it when it did? How can it be prevented from happening again? Will there be a public inquiry?

We need to hear from the Seaway.

Lee Willbanks, Upper St.Lawrence Riverkeeper

 

Shortly after our original post the Seaway issued this statement:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Incident on the Seaway – Updated

January 3rd, 2018 | Posted by Lee

The shipping season is not ending well for the St. Lawrence Seaway. Sudden deep freeze and rapid onset of ice has presented challenges.

The Federal Biscay is stuck in the Snell Lock down bound with several other ships waiting her clearance. Including the recently grounded and re-floated Pacific Huron.

from the Maritime Bulletin

 

from the Seaway:

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Save The River Announces Additions to Staff – Updated

January 1st, 2018 | Posted by admin
Additions to Save The River staff in key positions – Program Manager, Outreach Coordinator and Office Assistant – add depth and experience.
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Patricia Shulenburg, who most recently worked for the New York State Office of Parks as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Dunes and Wetlands Restoration Coordinator, brings experience with educational programming to Save The River as Program Manager.
 
Margaret Hummel, Clayton, previously Director of Events and Marketing at the Antique Boat Museum, is the organization’s Outreach Coordinator.
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Kendall Hathaway, Cape Vincent, a recent graduate of Auburn University, fills the new position of Office Assistant.
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As Program Manager, Ms. Shulenburg, will implement all aspects of Save The River’s current educational programs including its very successful In the Schools and On the Water programs which currently introduce over 1,000 kindergarten to twelfth grade students to environmental issues facing the St. Lawrence River and the Riverkeeper and Jr. Riverkeeper Volunteer programs that teach 100s volunteers each year of all ages stewardship principles.
 
Ms. Shulenburg has a Master’s of Science degree in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from the University at Buffalo where she focused her graduate studies on Great Lakes ecology and stream restoration. While at the NYS Office of Parks she managed projects at Sandy Island Beach State Park and founded the region’s first volunteer monitoring and stewardship program for the federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover.
 
Ms. Hummel will be involved with all aspects of Save The River’s communications with its membership, supporters and the public and be an integral part of the delivery of its education and volunteer programs, events and fundraising as Outreach Coordinator. She has been a Clayton resident since 2007 and brings seven years of experience with volunteer coordination, and event planning at the Boat Museum.
Ms. Hathaway graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While at Auburn, she worked in the agricultural department where she gained a greater appreciation for environmental conservation. She will be able to combine her education and experience in her work at Save The River.
 
Lee Willbanks, Save The River’s Executive Director, stated, “significant progress has been made in protecting the St. Lawrence River’s water quality and habitat, and in expanding the number of people and communities involved in that effort during the 40 years Save The River has been the voice for the River. However, much remains to be done and we are very excited to have Margaret, Patricia and Kendall join the existing staff – Bridget Wright, Linda Wright and me – as we take on the task.”
 
He added, “We have heard from many partners and community members that they are excited to build on past successes as we expand our capacity at this critical time when the St. Lawrence River and the communities that depend on it being healthy are facing existing and new challenges.”
 
Save The River, a member-based, nonprofit environmental organization, has been the “voice for the St. Lawrence River” in the U.S. and Canada since 1978. Save The River’s mission has always been to restore, preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. In 2004, Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and became a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance with the goal of a swimmable, fishable, drinkable River.
 
As the leading grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River, Save The River takes an active role in River policy issues, engaging decision makers, community leaders, residents, visitors and volunteers to make positive change. Every year it works with educators in school districts in the watershed to educate 1,000+ students in a place-based curriculum that stresses age appropriate aspects of stewardship.

Patricia Shulenburg

 

Margaret Hummel

 

Kendall Hathaway

 

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Latest update on the Pacific Huron from the U.S. Coast Guard

December 31st, 2017 | Posted by Lee

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Ship Aground off Blind Bay – Updated

December 28th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

The Pacific Huron is hard aground off Blind Bay near Twin Island since earlier this morning.

Per the Seaway Development Corporation no pollution released to River, no breach and no injuries reported. Inspectors are in route and more details will follow.

Given the weather conditions let’s hope for a speedy and uneventful re-float.

Ship’s position per Marine Traffic is Latitude / Longitude: 44.27595° / -76.03012°

Seaway press release on the grounding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coast Guard press release:

 

 

 

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Holiday Wishes from the St. Lawrence

December 21st, 2017 | Posted by admin

photo by Patricia O’Hara

Categories: Blog,Homepage,News
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Save The River’s 29th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

December 8th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

 

Save the date! Or, better yet, sign up and lock in your attendance now.

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