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
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.
Her talk, “Working Together for Real Results for Our River Community”, is particularly timely as the new water levels plan for the River and Lake Ontario – Plan 2014 – for which Congresswoman Stefanik was a vocal supporter, has just gone into effect after an almost two decades long effort.
Ms. Stefanik, who spoke at last year’s conference, has worked with conservation and environmental organizations, like Save The River, on a broad range of issues of importance to preserving and protecting the vast and unique natural resources within the 21st Congressional District.
We are pleased to have her return.
Registration for the conference closes Friday, February 3.
Click here to download your registration form: http://ow.ly/zo3r308q3QM
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.
Save The River and the standing heron are registered trademarks. Riverkeeper is a registered trademark of the Waterkeeper® Alliance
- 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
Check out the trailer for “What Lies Below” & you will definitely want to meet Lawrence Gunther, a great advocate for sustainable fishing. We are honored to have Lawrence share his experience, knowledge & wit at our Winter Conference.
Lawrence is North America’s only blind professional angler & champion of fish conservation. Drawing on his experience as a commercial fisher for Cod on Canada’s east coast, & as a competitive angler in over 125 fishing tournaments, he now focuses his energy on empowering others to become stewards of their waters & fish resources.
Prior to founding “Blue Fish Canada”, a charity dedicated to the future of fish & fishing, Lawrence earned a Masters in Environmental Studies that included conducting research throughout Canada’s Arctic & Scandinavia. His articles on sustainable fishing can be found in numerous outdoor publications, & his “Blue Fish Radio” podcasts (where he interviewed our Riverkeeper) are heard by over 100,000 listeners each week.
The documentary “What Lies Below” follows Lawrence & his guide dog as they explore ten fish habitat and sustainability stories throughout Canada. As host, Lawrence travels throughout Canada to speak with people who live by & from the water. What he learns is that there are a lot of people who feel strongly about the long term sustainability of their fishing resources.
So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.
Schedule: Saturday, February 4, 2017
9:30am – Registration and morning coffee
10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations
4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar
Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)
RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.
We’ll see you there!
Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference is a regionally significant event we have held every February for over a quarter of a century.
Saturday, February 4, 2017, we will host our 28th Winter Conference. Preparations are well underway. It will be another great opportunity for coming together with other friends of the River to share information, discussion and fellowship as we hear from national and regional policymakers, scientists, opinion leaders and students about the important issues facing the River we all love and want to protect.
It does take significant effort and resources to bring interesting and informative speakers to our conference and to hold it in a setting like the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Individual and business sponsorships help make sure the conference is a continued success. If you are interested in supporting our conference, contact Bridget at (315) 686-2010 or email@example.com.
We’ll see you in February!
Save The River has reserved a limited block of rooms at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel at a rate of $109 per night. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (315) 686-1100. This discounted rate is only guaranteed through Wednesday, January 3, 2017.
Vote as if your children and their children’s access to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water depends on it.
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.
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.