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Vote!

November 8th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

vote.

Vote as if your children and their children’s access to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water depends on it.

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Demand that our elected officials at every level work for a healthy St. Lawrence River that provides safe drinking water, is home to a thriving range of indigenous species and supports sustainable economic activity.

 

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Winter Icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River?

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

2013 Ice on the River at Clayton“We [Save The River and the River community] remain vigilant to any renewed efforts for destructive ice-breaking for winter shipping and we stand ready to block it again.”

In a August 17 story by Brian Kelly the Watertown Daily Times covers the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Maritime Transportation Strategy that, among other things, “suggests ways the shipping season could be extended.”

Ice-breaking on the St. Lawrence River has not and will not be appropriate – either economically or environmentally.

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Local Fishing Guide Participates in Discussion About Stopping Asian Carp

August 9th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Alexandria Bay fishing guide Matt Heath, owner of Seaway Charters, took part in a Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, basin-wide discussion about the threat of Asian Carp and what is needed to prevent their spread to the Lakes and River.

The meeting, organized by Freshwater Future, included guides from Illinois, Michigan, Ontario, Ohio and Matt.

Their conclusion: Physical separation is the only effective way to prevent the spread of Asian Carp.

As Matt pointed out, “We know from experience that aquatic invasive species have devastating impacts on the Great Lakes all the way down the St. Lawrence River. Preventing future invasions is crucial to protect our waters. Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin have invested time and resources to close their connections, and it’s time we finally shut the front door to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.”

From the Freshwater Future press release: “Asian carp are voracious eaters, eating up to 20% of their body weight. They spawn rapidly, and can grow to more than 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. To make matters worse, silver carp are easily startled and will jump up to 8 feet out of the water when disturbed by a passing boat. These fish have injured boaters in several states. These destructive fish dominate whole ecosystems, outcompeting native fish, like perch, bass, and walleye, for food and resources. . . Global biological invasions, including the potential carp invasion of the Great Lakes, could cost an estimated $1.4 trillion per year in damages – 5 percent of the global economy.”

We really appreciate Matt speaking out and participating in this very important issue. And we appreciate Freshwater Future for giving local voices a chance to speak out.

More at: Charter Boat Captains from Around the Region Calling on Congress to Separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River

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New York Invasive Species Week

July 11th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Invasive Species are not a pretty sight. And they are wrecking our River.2016-07-10 Invasive Species Week

It’s Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York. And it is up to each of us to keep new invaders out. By supporting strict ballast water discharge rules on ships, demanding the physical separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins, or taking personal responsibility and Cleaning, Draining & Drying our boats and equipment.

For more information visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Invasive Species webpage.

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Congresswoman Stefanik works to remove Bad Ballast Bill tucked Into Defense Authorization Act

May 31st, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and conservation groups around the country are working to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency retains its authority to clean up ballast water discharges.

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As reported by the Watertown Daily Times in a May 27, 2016 story by Brian Molongoski, “Non-defense-related legislation tucked away in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, would remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels.” The story was also covered by ABC and other media.


Exempt from the Clean Water Act?

Exempt from the Clean Water Act?

Two weeks ago we asked you to contact your Congressperson to stop this from happening. Many of you responded and Congresswoman Stefanik heard you. And although she did what she could, the “must pass” Defense Authorization Act was approved the House of Representatives with language rolling back Clean Water Act protections from the threat of invasive species in ships’ ballast water that our River, and the Great Lakes now have.

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Your calls made a difference. Ms. Stefanik has vowed to continue to work to remove the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act” language from the defense bill.

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Let her know you appreciate her efforts and that you support her work to protect the St. Lawrence River. Call her office at (202) 225-4611 or send an email by going to: https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email

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This type of advocacy takes resources. If you would like to contribute to our efforts by becoming a member please click here. And keep coming back for updates.

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:  (202) 225-4611
or send an email by going to:  https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email
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Tell Congress: Do Not Weaken Ballast Water Rules – Keep New Invasives Out of the St. Lawrence River!

May 16th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

After years of struggle the federal government is requiring shippers to take action to clean up their ballast water discharges and stop the introduction of new invasive species.

We on the St. Lawrence River know all too well the scourge of invasive species introduced through the discharge of ballast water into our River and the Great Lakes. Zebra mussels, round goby, eurasian milfoil, and VHS have disrupted the River’s fragile ecosystem, displaced or decimated native species and cost millions each year in eradication efforts and lost economic activity.

Using the clear authority of the Clean Water Act, shippers are finally being required to clean up their act and their ballast water.

But now the House of Representatives is considering a bill that will undo the progress made and once again open the spigot to aquatic invasive species.Ballast Water Discharge

Language that will essentially remove shipping from the requirements of the Clean Water Act has been added to the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 4909), a bill that is considered a “must pass” piece of legislation.

The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) is a tremendous step backward for the River and Great Lakes and opens these great waterbodies to the threat of a new wave of invaders.

We need you to contact your Congress person today and tell them “no rollback of Clean Water Protections from invasive species – no VIDA in HR 4909.

If your Congress person is Elise Stefanik:

call her at:  (202) 225-4611

or send an email by going to:  https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email

If you vote in a different Congressional District, but love the River and want to protect it from new invasives, you can find contact information for your Congress person here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Suggested script for a call or email. Personalizing it will give it greater impact:

“I urge Congresswoman Stefanik to oppose the inclusion of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act in HR 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act. Its provisions remove Clean Water Act protections for the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes from the threat of invasive species in ballast water discharges. It is critical to the health of the River and the economy of communities all along it to stop the introduction of new invasive species.”

Please SHARE this with others who also want a healthy St. Lawrence River. Ask them to call their representative in Congress too.

Once you make the call let us know on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NoVIDA.

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“How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever”

December 31st, 2015 | Posted by Lee

MJS GREATLAKESExcellent series by Dan Egan in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first published July 26, 2014.

On the day the last ship has left and the Seaway locks are closed just briefly to the outside world it’s a good time to look at one of the most significant and ongoing impacts international shipping has had on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

The whole series is worth the time to understand the nature of the invasion, the invaders and what might be next.

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Tell Rep. Elise Stefanik “Thanks!” for her visit to Save The River & continued strong support for Plan 2014.

August 28th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Please take a moment to call Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office to say “Thanks!” Let her know that as a member, supporter or follower of Save The River you appreciate her visiting with us, her concern about the health of the St. Lawrence River and, especially now, her support of Plan 2014.

Jefferson and St. Lawrence County District office number:  (315) 782-3150
Washington, D.C. office number:  (202) 225-4611
-or- Send her an email (click here):

As part of her visits to many communities along the St. Lawrence River. Congresswoman Stefanik came to the Save The River office Wednesday to talk about Plan 2014, aquatic invasive species, microbeads and the threat of oil shipments on the River (among many other topics). It was an excellent first conversation. We came away very impressed with her grasp of the issues and her engagement in trying to find solutions that work for the benefit of all who share the use and enjoyment of the River.

We were particularly pleased with her continued strong support for Plan 2014, based as it is on a complete understanding of the problems the old water levels plan has caused and her commitment to be a strong advocate for adoption and implementation of the new plan soon.

Based on the discussion, we look forward to working with her on this and other River issues.

Your call or email of thanks to her office will let her know the River community appreciates and supports her efforts.

Coverage of her visit:
from the Watertown Daily Times
from TWC News Central/Northern NY

Stefanik Collage

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Invasive Species Awareness Week Ends, But Not the Invasions?

July 18th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Heard of Caspian Sea Kilka? Black Sea Silverstripe? Black-striped Pipefish? Monkey (not Round) Goby?

Not yet? But maybe soon. These may be the next wave of invaders to swarm the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.

Which of these is next?

Which of these is next?

Groundbreaking research by scientists at Buffalo State College, translating (from Russian) and analyzing previously unpublished research on Ponto-Caspian fish species, have identified these four species among forty-two as having a high risk potential of surviving current treatment methods and successfully establishing breeding populations in our already overtaxed and reeling waterbodies.

The Seaway and international shippers frequently state: “Since the latest measures [salt water flushes of ballast water tanks] were introduced in 2006, no new aquatic nuisance species have been discovered in the Great Lakes due to shipping.” Chamber of Marine Commerce

This new research calls the longterm effectiveness of salt water flushes into question. To quote the scientists, “Our results also indicate that ballast water exchange, if carried out according to current regulations governing shipping in the Great Lakes, should reduce but not eliminate the probability of future introductions of invasive Ponto-Caspian fishes.”

Their alarming conclusion, “Our updated listing of high-risk Ponto-Caspian fishes includes five species identified previously (the Black and Caspian Sea sprat, Eurasian minnow, big-scale sand smelt, European perch, and monkey goby) and five additional species (the Black sea shad, Caspian tyulka, Volga dwarf goby, Caspian bighead goby, and black-striped pipefish). Of these ten species, four (the monkey goby, big-scale sand smelt, Caspian tyulka, and black-striped pipefish) are likely to survive ballast water exchange as eggs, larvae, or adults based on salinity tolerances. The black-striped pipefish has spread rapidly throughout Europe and could cause significant ecological changes in the Great Lakes, and it is unlike anything currently found in the Great Lakes.

These conclusions make it imperative that the most stringent means possible must be put in place to protect our River and the Great Lakes from the next wave of unwanted invasives. Although very late to the game, the EPA and Coast Guard regulations to control vessel discharge must not be weakened by misguided Congressional efforts to do so. We will keep you posted and raise the alert to see that does not happen.

Summary of the Buffalo State research here: http://www.lakescientist.com/research-summary-updated-invasion-risk-assessment-for-ponto-caspian-fishes-to-the-great-lakes/

Fact Sheet prepared by New York Sea Grant here: http://blog.savetheriver.org/wp-content/uploads/Predicted-Fish-Invaders-fact-sheet-March-16-2015.pdf

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RIverkeeper Volunteers Learn to Spot Invasives

July 17th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Learn about invasive species on the River and how to report them by becoming a Riverkeeper Volunteer.

Recent Riverkeeper Volunteers

Recent Riverkeeper Volunteers

The next Riverkeeper Volunteer Monitor Training is Wednesday, July 29th at 6pm at the Save The River office. Space is limited so sign up today! Call 315-686-2010 or email info@savetheriver.org

Save The River’s new Riverkeeper Volunteer Program trains volunteers to be our eyes and ears out on the River, by teaching the basics on assessing River health and identifying potential pollution problems.

Riverkeeper volunteers will be trained to keep an eye out for pollution, wildlife die-offs and subtle changes in the River ecosystem that can indicate changes in River health. Volunteers will also learn how to assess pollution problems and how to effectively report these problems to the proper authorities.

Volunteers who attend a training session will receive all the materials needed to participate in the program as well as a Save The River t-shirt.

Save The River’s new Riverkeeper Volunteer Program trains volunteers to be our eyes and ears out on the River, by teaching the basics on assessing River health and identifying potential pollution problems.
Riverkeeper volunteers will be trained to keep an eye out for pollution, wildlife die-offs and subtle changes in the River ecosystem that can indicate changes in River health. Volunteers will also learn how to assess pollution problems and how to effectively report these problems to the proper authorities.
Volunteers who attend a training session will receive all the materials needed to participate in the program as well as a Save The River t-shirt.
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