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Environmental Documentary Featuring St. Lawrence River to Premiere in Clayton

April 17th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

 

Saturday, April 29th at 4:00pm Save The River is bringing the award-winning documentary “Changing Currents: Protecting North America’s Rivers” to the Clayton Opera House for its East Coast premiere.

The film explores the many challenges facing the St. Lawrence River and other North American waterways and highlights several significant restoration and protection efforts underway in the U.S. and Canada. It was produced by MediaLab, an award-winning, applied research and media production program based at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington.

During nearly one year of research and interviews, in addition to the St. Lawrence River region, the MediaLab team traveled to cities across North America. They spoke with citizens, community leaders, elected officials, and a variety of organizations working to protect rivers in their areas. While on the St. Lawrence, they spoke to members of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, researchers at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, and members of Save The River.

Following the screening the filmmakers, as well as St. Lawrence region experts from New York and Ontario, will hold a discussion with the audience.

The screening, sponsored by Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, is open to the public with a suggested donation of $10.00 to support Save The River’s education programs and advocacy efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River.

Watch the trailer for the “Changing Currents” East Coast Premiere

 

from Jeff Garnsey, Save The River Board President, River guide and a participant in the film

“As a third-generation guide, I have seen firsthand the damage to the River from poor stewardship practices and thoughtless actions,” said Jeff Garnsey, River Guide and Save The River Board President. “But I have seen the positive results of informed, persistent community action. This film is a great examination of both the challenges and the successes in our efforts to restore rivers like the St. Lawrence.”

from a member of the documentary team

“River restoration has come a long way in the last 50 years,” said MediaLab member John Struzenberg, who served as the film’s chief videographer and editor. “What people don’t realize is that there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Click here for more information about the film.

About MediaLab at PLU

MediaLab is an award–winning, applied research and media production organization housed within the Center for Media Studies at Pacific Lutheran University’s School of Arts and Communication. MediaLab students work on projects across the media spectrum, including market research, photography, graphic design, web design, writing, video, public relations, event planning, filmmaking, and more.

The Changing Currents research team members are: Creative Director Rachel Lovrovich; John Struzenberg chief videographer and editor; Christopher Boettcher, social media associate; Kelly Lavelle, publicity, design, and photography; and Joshua Wiersma, assistant editor and videographer. The team was led by Robert Marshall Wells, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication at PLU and the film’s executive producer.

About Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper

Since 1978 Save The River, a community-based membership not-for-profit organization, has been the leading environmental organization fighting for the ecological integrity of the St. Lawrence River. Its mission is to preserve, protect and restore the River now, and for generations to come. It delivers educational programs to students and adults about the River, its fragility, and the importance of protecting it. Save The River is committed to being a forceful advocate for policies and programs that promote clean water protections and to resist those that eliminate or weaken them.

Please consider becoming a member of Save The River to support our education programs and advocacy for a healthy St. Lawrence Riverwww.donate.savetheriver.org 

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Interested in Plan 2014?

January 13th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Plan 2014 went into operation on January 7. And we are all interested and eager to know more about the new plan.

Frank Bevacqua, Public Information Officer International Joint Commission, will present “Plan 2014 – The Long-Term Perspective

It was a long journey, but Plan 2014 is a historic achievement. Managing water levels to improve ecosystem health has never been carried out on such a large scale. Frank will talk about the road to Plan 2014 and what it means for the future.

Frank and Rob Caldwell, also from the IJC (Canada), will cover different aspects of the new plan in their presentations to give attendees a comprehensive view of the plan.

Frank grew up in Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan. He has been worked at the International Joint Commission to engage people in issues related to the waters shared by Canada and the United States since 1978. Whenever possible, he enjoys canoeing and kayaking.

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

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

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!

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Save The Date! Winter Environmental Conference is Coming.

November 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

2017-wec-header

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 bridget@savetheriver.org.

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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Save the date! September 12th, 3-5pm

August 18th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

2015 WSFF Small Poster Final

Save The River and Clarkson University are partnering to bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival to the River region this fall.

Join us on September 12th at Clarkson University from 3-5pm to enjoy short films and discussion focused on a healthy environment and clean water. This event is free of charge and open to everyone.

Stay tuned for more details.

Generous support also provided by the Northern New York Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council – Ogdensburg Free Academy.

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Save The River Honors Its Exceptional Volunteers

August 7th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.
While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.
This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their faculty advisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauber and Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.
This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.
With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.
Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

IMG_0443

Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.

While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.

This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their facultyadvisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauberand Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.

This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.

With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.

Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

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Thank you to all involved in Rock for the River 12

July 6th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Rock 12We want to give special thanks to our 2015 Rock for the River artists Jay NashGarrison StarrAmber RubarthChris PierceEmilie Cardinaux, The Contenders, Natalia Zukerman and Matt Delvecchio for putting on a once in a lifetime show. We missed Joe Purdy and Eliza Moore and hope you can return next year for Rock for the River 13!

This show would not have been possible without our loyal sponsors: Cerow Agency, The Duane & Dailia Stiller Charitable Trust, Raks Dept. Store and The Glassberg Family. And, many thanks to Byron & Jen O’Neill for designing another beautiful poster!

We had an amazing night with a full Clayton Opera House. We want to thank everyone who attended this special River event. We are already looking forward to next year’s Rock for the River and hope you are too.

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Risk of Crude Oil Spills Highlighted at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference

February 9th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Risk of crude oil spills spotlighted at Save the River winter conference

Published: Sunday, February 8, 2015 by the Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — Stephen C. Taylor asked a group of panelists a question on Saturday morning at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel about the risk posed by crude oil extracted from Alberta’s tar sands, which sinks to the bottom of water bodies and can cost millions to clean up.

“It seems to me that one of the most clear things from this discussion is that we aren’t ready for this, but that the industry is going to force it down our throats,” the resident of Wellesley Island said, speaking to the four panelists who made a presentation on the impact of crude oil shipments from Canada’s Alberta oil sands during the annual winter environmental conference held by Save the River. “What are the oil and pipeline companies doing? … I think they’re dumping it on our lap. And it’s quite clear we aren’t ready for this.”

Mr. Taylor was among about 170 people — about 30 of them Canadians — who attended a variety of river-related presentations during the 26th annual conference. Most of the attendees were members of Save the River, an environmental advocacy group based in Clayton.

Emma Lui, water campaigner for the Council of Canadians of Ottawa, responded to Mr. Taylor’s comments by saying that his concerns about crude oil were merited. She said research shows that the Canadian government, for example, would be ill-equipped to handle a crude oil spill of about 10 percent from a standard-size Aframax oil tanker. The government would have a maximum of about $1.4 billion to cover such a spill, she said, which would cost at least $2 billion to clean up.

“That’s a huge concern,” Ms. Lui said. “And I appeal to everyone in the room that it’s our responsibility to be highlighting this. If we’re not ready for a spill, we shouldn’t be going ahead with it.”

The Council of Canadians believes that all transportation of tar-sands oil should be banned on and near the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, Ms. Lui said.

Much of the panel discussion was focused on the glut of crude oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana, which is being transported to refineries across the U.S. Experts said the crude oil — called diluted bitumen — has posed a serious threat to the Great Lakes and could impact the St. Lawrence River in the future.

Tar sands are a type of petroleum deposit that contains sand, clay and water saturated with a dense kind of petroleum called bitumen, Ms. Lui said. Because bitumen has the consistency of molasses, it has to be separated with chemical diluents to be transported by pipelines. Diluted bitumen floats briefly when spilled, she said, but then it sinks as its light components evaporate. As a result, it becomes more difficult to clean up and poses a greater risk to watersheds than conventional crude oil.

To illustrate, Ms. Lui cited a massive spill in July 2010 in southwestern Michigan, in which nearly 4 million liters of diluted bitumen spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. A ruptured pipeline operated by Calgary-based Enbridge Pipelines Inc. was responsible for the spill, which resulted in a cleanup cost of about $1.2 billion.

“And even after 1.2 billion dollars was put into it, it’s still not clean,” she said.

Though the St. Lawrence River isn’t now used much to transport diluted bitumen, Ms. Lui said, that could change. Last fall, the first oil tanker to transport diluted bitumen on the St. Lawrence made a shipment from the port of Sorel-Tracy in Quebec, east of Montreal, she said. Owned by Suncor Energy Inc. of Calgary, that tanker carried about 700,000 barrels of the oil to Italy, while a second tanker carried a load in October to the Gulf of Mexico.

PREPARING FOR THE WORST

The U.S. Coast Guard has focused much of its attention in recent years to understanding how to respond effectively to diluted bitumen spills, according to T.J. Mangoni, supervisor of the District Response Advisory Team for the 9th District of the Coast Guard, which is responsible for overseeing operations across the Great Lakes. He said that in the case of the Enbridge oil spill on the Kalamazoo River, 22 Coast Guard posts supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in cleanup efforts.

Mr. Mangoni said that the Coast Guard is required to plan for worst-case scenarios and that he is confident in the Coast Guard’s ability to respond effectively to serious oil spills. He said the Kalamazoo River spill helped the Coast Guard develop better techniques.

“There are many different techniques that organizations are now prepared to try to capture it within the (water) column, and also removing sediments from the bottom,” he said. “And it’s going to be a case-by-case.”

The effectiveness of the response to an oil spill is often based on how quickly crews are able to remove it from the water surface, said Gary P. McCullouch, spill engineer for state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6, which encompasses Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Oneida and Herkimer counties.

Diluted bitumen “doesn’t sink immediately,” he said. “So I think our greatest focus is speed … you can get a lot of that oil off the surface before it sinks. And I think part of the discussion should be about our initial response techniques.”

Mr. McCullouch cited the last major recorded oil spill in the St. Lawrence River, in the summer of 1976, when the fuel barge Nepco 140 ran aground near Alexandria Bay, spilling about 300,000 gallons. He said that spill cost about $8 million to clean up, but the process wasn’t effective because the Coast Guard’s knowledge about oil discharges was limited at the time.

“With that experience behind us, and a greater focus on safety, cooperation and more comprehensive cleanup and disposal strategies, a spill of that magnitude today would easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” Mr. McCullouch said, emphasizing the importance of efforts to prevent future spills.

Mr. McCollouch said that while oil spills have always been a threat, the recent national spotlight on the risks of crude oil transportation has re-emphasized the importance of preventing spills. In that sense, he said, it has been a positive trend. He said organizations at the state and federal level are cooperating more to understand how to better combat spills.

“It’s fashionable to work together again,” he said.

2015 WEC Oil Panel

Photo Credit: Sarah Ellen Smith

From left to right: Lee Willbanks, Kushan Dave, TJ Mangoni, Gary McCullouch, and Emma Lui

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Save The River’s Winter Conference to Feature Panel on Oil Transport

January 5th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Transporting Tar Sands Oil is Problematic

A tug recently sank down river of Montreal, releasing almost 7,000 gallons of fuel that is still being cleaned up. Fault hasn’t been assigned, but is blame important when the fuel or the toxic cargo is already in the water and spreading?

There is a huge difference between a tug and a tanker carrying the equivalent of 300 to 600 rail cars or 1,000 to 2,500 trucks of tar sands oil. It is a difference that should concern everyone who shares the use of the St. Lawrence River. A spill of that magnitude of tar sands oil, a cargo the Coast Guard has admitted it is “not prepared to handle,” would quickly dwarf the capabilities of first responders, would devastate the river for almost any conceivable use, would lay waste to the environment of one of North America’s most significant rivers and devastate the economies of communities along its shores in two countries.

Maybe lower oil prices will temporarily reduce the intense pressure, and thus the risk to our river, that has been building to get tar sands oil to market by whatever means possible. But maybe they won’t because producers will still seek the cheapest transportation alternative without regard to environmental impacts.

The proposals for new pipelines and ship terminals are still around. History shows we frequently construct beyond our ability to mitigate. The river community needs to shape the debate about such shipments and demand that not one drop of heavy oil should be put on a ship or in a rail car on or near the St. Lawrence River until response plans have been developed and tested and the Coast Guard and local first responders have the equipment and training to effectively implement them.

Become involved. Attend our Winter Environmental Conference on Feb. 7. We will have a panel of experts from the Coast Guard, spill responders, academia and advocacy organizations discussing the issue.

Letter to the Editor by Lee Willbanks
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper / Executive Director

Published by the Watertown Daily Times on January 5th, 2015.

Click here to view the print article.

Click here for conference information.

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Local Business ‘Smokes’ Competition, Supports Save The River

October 30th, 2013 | Posted by Lee

Congratulations Nolan Knapp and Dustin Orvis of Reinman’s Ace Hardware team ‘Smoke on the Water’ for taking 1st place in both the chicken and rib bbq categories at Clayton’s 2nd annual Punkin Chunkin & BBQ Festival. Also a big thanks for choosing Save The River as your charity of choice, the BBQ was delicious and the donation is greatly appreciated! (pictured from left to right: Nolan Knapp, Melissa Tinney, Dustin Orvis)Smoke On the Water

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The Non-Gala is Over, but We Can All Still Celebrate the River!

October 24th, 2013 | Posted by Lee

Just a few final thoughts from this year’s non-gala participants.

leaf-art-thumbI will ‘revisit’ all the poems that I’ve written about the River – the collection I hope to publish someday! (and my husband will join me with a couple glasses of wine!)

Leah Farrell

leaf-art-thumbMy family ‘Loves the River’ and enjoy and take care of it.

Rita Walters


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My husband and I love to travel but our favorite vacation is our week in the summer on our 23 foot SeaRay anchored out among the 1000 Islands! No place better!

Cary & Jacqueline Derrigo

leaf-art-thumbWe haven’t been to the River in two years, but are able to enjoy our cottage in October. We will celebrate early as we watch the River from our porch that allows us to see miles up the River.

Anne T.


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Keep up the great work! We had a wonderful two week family reunion in August.

Ed B.

It was a wonderful evening. Quiet, calm and perfect for reflection whether you were on, near or miles away from the St. Lawrence. Its power and magic binds us all together – and it always will.
We’ll do it again next year, look for the invite and join us with your reflections.

It was a wonderful evening. Quiet, calm and perfect for reflection whether you were on, near or miles away from the St. Lawrence. Its power and magic binds us all together – and it always will.

We’ll do it again next year. Look for the invite and join us with your reflections.

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Clayton, NY 13624

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