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Save The River Appoints New Outreach Coordinator, First Focus Promoting Catch and Release Program

April 15th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Save The River announced today that Lindsey Leve has joined the staff as its Outreach Coordinator to promote their growing educational and advocacy programs.Leve Photo

Lindsey brings extensive experience and background promoting programs and events for various not-for-profit organizations. She was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. She has spent every summer in the Thousand Islands on the River with her family and is very familiar with the area. Currently she is a summer resident of Wintergreen Island and a winter resident of Fisher’s Landing.

Executive Director Lee Willbanks said, “We are extremely pleased to have Lindsey join the staff. She will be using her knowledge and enthusiasm for the River community to promote Save The River’s Catch and Release programs and volunteer outreach. The timing couldn’t be better as we are finally seeing the ice leave and everyone is getting ready to be on the water.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of an organization that has played such an important part in protecting the River. And I’m really looking forward to being in at the beginning as the Catch and Release program expands from Muskies to Bass and other species,” stated Ms. Leve.

In 2013 Save The River began the effort to expand it’s successful Muskellunge Catch and Release program to include bass as part of the continuing effort to improve the quality of the St. Lawrence River fishery and to ensure a healthy, sustainable aquatic and economic resource.

Since 1987 more than 1,000 muskies have been caught and released. In addition to muskies, the Thousand Islands section of the River has traditionally supported one of the best bass fisheries in New York State. Historically, this fishery has been a major factor in the growth of tourism on the River.  However, today the River environment is far different from what early tourists experienced 100 years ago.

Catch and release fishing has become a globally accepted and duplicated practice to ensure plentiful game fish populations. Releasing a greater proportion of bass caught by anglers is one approach that can be used to reduce the mortality of adult fish and allow more bass to survive. The bass population in the River will benefit if anglers restrict their take of fish to only that which they will consume that day while releasing the rest.

Save The River believes a successful catch and release program, with significant numbers of anglers participating, will result in a more sustainable and larger number of adult bass in the River. Improving the quality of the River’s fisheries is good economic and tourism policy as well as an appropriate fishery management strategy.

After all according to Lindsey, “a bass is too valuable to catch only once.”

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Save The River to Army Corps, “Physically Separate the Great Lakes & Mississippi River”

March 31st, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Save The River joined thousands of citizens and hundreds of organizations in urging the Army Corps to move forward with the work necessary to physically separate the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River as the only viable alternative to stop Bighead and Silver carp from entering the Great Lakes and eventually the St. Lawrence River.

The letter, the full text of which can be read here, states, “Although obvious, it bears stating that if water does not flow between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River watersheds, aquatic plants, animals and diseases will not be able to migrate actively or passively between them.”

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Great Video, Saving the Sturgeon

November 12th, 2013 | Posted by Lee

SturgeonGreat video from St. Lawrence River. Filmed in our backyard and featuring friends. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Saving the Sturgeon.

Jonathan Bird travels to upstate New York to learn how biologists are working to save the sturgeon in the St. Lawrence river. During a dive he films an amazing spectacle that has never been recorded before!

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Riverkeeper Program Training August 18th & 21st

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Lee

Save The River will offer training sessions for its Riverkeeper Monitoring Program on Saturday, August 18th at 10:00 a.m. and Tuesday, August 21st at 6 p.m. at its office at 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton.

As the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, Save The River is the primary voice and advocate for the health of the River and our right to clean water from the River’s beginning in the vicinity of Cape Vincent to the Massena / Cornwall area. To cover an area that large it relies on volunteers to be its eyes and ears on the water.

Riverkeeper volunteers are trained to assess potential pollution problems and to effectively report these problems to the appropriate agencies. They also receive training to recognize wildlife die-offs, invasive species and subtle changes in the River that indicate negative impacts to this fragile and already stressed ecosystem.

Since Save The River began its Riverkeeper Monitoring Program in 2008, more than 200 volunteers have been trained and now use the skills they have acquired to monitor the River.

Attending one of these hour-long training sessions is all that is needed to become a Riverkeeper volunteer. All volunteers will be given Save The River’s Riverkeeper Identification Guide as an on-the-water guidebook and a free t-shirt.

Interested volunteers should contact Save The River, 315-686-2010 or e-mail Kate Breheny, Program Manager at

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Save The River Raises Concerns about Proposed Dam on Grasse River

August 25th, 2009 | Posted by admin

Save The River recently notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of serious concerns regarding a proposed hydroelectric project on the Grasse River in Massena, NY. Two species in particular would be impacted by the proposed Massena Grasse Hydroelectric project – Lake Sturgeon and American Eel. The project has the potential to significantly damage any remaining populations of both species and to seriously hamper restoration efforts to restore the region’s American Eel and Lake Sturgeon populations.

Historically, American Eel and Lake Sturgeon have been devastated by hydropower projects already in place throughout the region, such as the Moses-Saunders Power Dam on the mainstem of the St. Lawrence River. These structures have devastated the American eel population by impeding the species’ ability to travel from the region’s freshwater to their ocean spawning grounds. Additionally, they have changed flows in the St. Lawrence River, damaging historic Lake Sturgeon spawning grounds.

Save The River is deeply concerned about the construction of additional structures within the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, such as the Grasse River, that could impede fish movement or damage existing fish spawning grounds and nursery habitat.

In the letter, Save The River urged that the Massena Grasse Hydroelectric project be subject to lengthy, independent scientific review before further consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Fully understanding the environmental impacts of this proposed project is absolutely necessary to determine project feasibility. Save The River noted that if environmental studies find that the project will create further degradation of the regional ecosystem or impede regional restoration efforts, the project should not proceed.

Read Save The River’s full letter regarding the Massena Grasse Hydroelectric Project that was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on August 24, 2009.

Numerous agencies, including the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe have also expressed concerns about the project. To read all comments filed regarding this project, visit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s e-library and search for docket P-12607.

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Lecture Series – Rivers and Oceans: Indicators of Our Global Health

July 29th, 2009 | Posted by admin

Join the Antique Boat Museum and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Thousand Islands Biological Station for an engaging lecture series on topics including fishes of the St. Lawrence, american eels, and amphibians.

August 7 – Fishes of the St. Lawrence: Mysteries Unraveled – Dr. John Farrell

August 21 – American Eels at the Edge (anguilla rostrata) – Dr. John Casselman

September 4 – Amphibians: Why We Need Them and Why They Need Us – Dr. James P. Gibbs

Lectures are held at 4:00 p.m. in the Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary Street, Clayton, NY. For more information call (315) 686-4104 or visit

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