March 13th, 2017 | Posted by Lee
Watertown Daily Times calls President Trump’s approach on vital Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River programs a, “Budget blunder.” And they are absolutely right!
In a March 11th editorial the Watertown Daily Times called out the President for his proposal to slash the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and his intention to “wrench most of this from the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative”.
The Times had reported the day before “Mr. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget request calls for funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to fall from $300 million to $10 million, a 97 percent reduction. Reuters reported the Environmental Protection Agency’s overall budget will be cut about 25 percent.”
This is simply outrageous.
As the Times editorial points out, “[t]o date, the GLRI [Great Lakes Restoration Initiative] has invested more than $2.2 billion in restoration projects in the Great Lakes.” In an earlier story the Times noted, “the GLRI provides funding for thousands of projects pertaining to wetlands restoration, combating invasive species and cleaning up toxins in the Great Lakes and along their shores.”
The GLRI has received bipartisan support in Congress since its inception. It is a keystone in the nation’s commitment to restore the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River; the largest freshwater system on earth, drinking water supply to millions and a recreational mecca that draws visitors from all over the world.
GLRI funded projects have certainly benefitted the environment of the communities where they are located. But these projects have also supported the economy of those communities with the direct and indirect jobs they have created and by the increased commercial and recreational use of the waters they have restored.
Save The River wholeheartedly agrees with the Times’ conclusion that, “Mr. Trump cannot be allowed to finance his plans at the expense of the health of the Great Lakes”.
And, while we are fortunate on the St. Lawrence River that Congresswoman Stefanik and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand support the GLRI, we know that restoration of these draconian cuts will not be easy to reverse and the effort will take more than the support of our local representatives.
For these reasons Save The River is committed to working with groups from all of the Great Lakes states to stop the President’s plan to slash the EPA and GLRI funding. You can help two ways:
- Call your representatives at (202) 224-3121:
- If they support full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; say “Thanks”. Positive messages work to shore up support.
- If they don’t support the GLRI; Tell them why it is important to you that they do. Personal stories help them understand how these programs impact real people.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in New York State by the numbers:
Read the full Watertown Daily Times editorial and stories at these links:
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February 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Lee
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.
Click here for the agenda for the day.
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.
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January 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Lee
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
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January 13th, 2017 | Posted by Lee
2017 Summer Internship Positions Available
Save The River is looking for qualified candidates for paid internships this Summer.
The positions run from mid May through Labor Day.
Applications will be accepted until March 17, 2017.
There really is no better way to spend a summer – on the water, in the storefront, working on the frontlines with Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper protecting the River!
For more information and how to apply click here.
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November 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
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.
Program and registration details will be available soon here and on our Facebook page.
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.
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November 8th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
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.
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September 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
Over the next year, citizens throughout the Great Lakes basin can participate in online & in-person discussions & meetings to provide their perspectives about progress by the governments of Canada & the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Their viewpoints will contribute to the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) first assessment of progress made by the governments to restore & protect the Great Lakes under the 2012 Agreement.
“Residents of the Great Lakes basin have a vital interest in this Agreement, which embodies the spirit of cooperation between our two countries, as well as the joint goals & activities needed to restore and protect Great Lakes water quality,” said Gordon Walker, chair, IJC Canadian Section.
“Restoring Great Lakes water quality continues to be an ambitious undertaking, so it is critical that citizens express their views on progress to implement this Agreement & work that still needs to be done,” said Lana Pollack, chair, IJC US Section.
Throughout the next ten months, the IJC will host a series of monthly online discussions on its online democracy platform called ParticipateIJC. The sharing platform will include valuable information about the Agreement & provide opportunities for citizens throughout the Great Lakes region to contribute videos, photos, stories & comments, & talk with others about progress to restore & protect the lakes. It will also provide video from the Great Lakes Public Forum & other meetings held around the basin for those who cannot attend in person. ParticipateIJC will include a variety of discussion forums as well as new information as public meetings are held in towns throughout the Great Lakes region.
Between the end of October 2016 and mid-January 2017, the IJC will pull all the information together – the governments’ progress report, its advisory boards’ reports and assessments, and citizens’ comments – to write a draft of its Triennial Assessment Report. Once that’s released in mid-January, the IJC will head back out to hear what citizens think of that report and issues they’re concerned about in their area in a series of public meetings in communities across the Great Lakes basin. The draft report and its appendices will be posted at IJC.org and on ParticipateIJC to encourage discussion and comments. A final report will be released in summer 2017 that will incorporate all scientific, policy and citizen input.
Click here to join in the conversation.
More on the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website).
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August 17th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
“The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our [US Fish and Wildlife Service] study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guideline.” (from the “Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report; Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York, Spring Season [just released])
This study must be taken into account by every level of government agency – from local municipal, to state and federal – that has any permitting or oversight authority at all. And, in particular the New York State Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation which have shared, sole responsibility, under Article 10, for the permitting and siting of industrial wind projects.
The United State Fish and Wildlife Service, after years of study, using radar generated data, issued a report this July stating, “Our data demonstrate that the shoreline areas of Lake Ontario are important for migrating birds and bats. We have identified behaviors that concentrate migrants along the shoreline, demonstrated that these behaviors occur regularly throughout the season, and established that migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (USFWS 2012).
Per Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of the American Bird Conservancy Bird-Smart Wind Energy Program, “The study provides fresh and compelling evidence that wind-energy development does not belong on the shores of the Great Lakes, as ABC, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, and other conservation groups have argued. It confirms what we have long known: In the absence of proven methods to reduce bird collisions with turbines, wind-energy development must be sited in areas where there are fewer birds and bats to minimize harm to these ecologically important animals.”
ABC continued “The FWS currently recommends that no wind turbines be built within three miles of the Great Lakes’ shorelines, while The Nature Conservancy recommends five miles. However, this new radar study suggests that the minimum should be extended even farther, perhaps as far as 10 miles. Unfortunately, the wind industry is eager to build in these sensitive areas.”
We couldn’t agree more.
more information at:
American Bird Conservancy
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June 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Lee
40 Years Ago the St. Lawrence River joined the ranks of waterways abused and assaulted by the vagaries of careless industrial use when 300,000 gallons of petroleum was spilled and spread into its countless bays, backwaters and coves.
The River and the communities that depend on it being healthy have never been the same.
The River faces some of the same challenges now as then, but also new ones as well. NCPR helps us remember the “Slick of 76” and put it into a perspective for today, when our River has been named as one of the ten most endangered rivers in America for a water levels plan that predates the NEPCO 140 spill by almost 20 years.
The “Slick” reminds us all that vigilance in the effort to protect our River is a must. Personal action to ensure its health is imperative.
Now the action needed is replacing an outdated water levels plan with a modern one – Plan 2014 – to begin the restoration of the over 64,000 acres of wetlands the River and Lake Ontario have lost, bring back the native species whose populations have been decimated – Northern Pike down 70%, Black Tern down 80% – and give our children and their children the opportunity to know the River our grandparents knew.
Take action – Support Plan 2014.
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January 27th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
From today’s Watertown Daily Times editorial page, “Promoting the Thousand Islands as a wonderful tourist destination recently became a little easier. . . By focusing on water quality and watershed issues, members of Save the River do their part to attract visitors.” It is worth a full read.
With a super shout out to Save The River, the editorial correctly mentions our members. They are full-time and seasonal residents, boaters, kayakers, swimmers, anglers, divers, birders, hunters, scientists, artists, teachers, students of all ages, public figures, business owners, Canadian and American. And they are members because they believe in our mission to protect and preserve the St. Lawrence River.
Even so, we are not in this alone, and the River region (and Save The River) is blessed to have a tremendous number of groups and agencies all working to keep the land and water clean and sustaining for generations. A partial list of those we partner with: Waterkeeper Alliance, Thousand Islands Land Trust, Indian River Lakes Conservancy, Minna Anthony Common Nature Center – Friends, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, IJC – International Joint Commission, Audubon New York, Ducks Unlimited, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, WWF-Canada, SUNY-ESF, Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative, Clarkson University, Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition, Antique Boat Museum, The Nature Conservancy in New York, Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area, St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Thousand Islands Tourism Council, Aquatarium, and so many others.
We all have a place on the River and we all have a role in using it sustainably, and ensuring it is swimmable, drinkable and fishable to seven generations.
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