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Clean Water Safeguards Eliminated in Must-Pass Budget Bills

March 13th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River will always stand in opposition to attacks on our nation’s most vital resource: clean water. We joined 115+ groups around the country urging our senators and congresspeople to oppose damaging ideological riders in spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2018:

Outdoor recreation is a way of life in New York, especially here on the St. Lawrence River. We can’t afford to eliminate conservation safeguards that protect our waters & wildlife. The dirty water riders attached to the upcoming federal budget vote will do just that.

The dirty water riders attached to the upcoming budget vote will undermine protections for drinking water that 1 in 3 Americans depend on, eliminate conservation safeguards that protect our waters & wildlife, and cut the public out of the decision making process.

Raise your voices to New York’s congressional leaders: ask them to reject all policy riders attacking safeguards for the St. Lawrence River and all streams, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and other waters that our families, communities, and economy depend on. Call them at (202) 224-3121.

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Director’s Waypoints, Winter Conference Edition

February 20th, 2018 | Posted by Lee Willbanks

Go to this edition of Director’s Waypoints

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US Chair of IJC to Speak at Winter Environmental Conference

January 16th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Commissioner Lana Pollack, United States Section Chair of the International Joint Commission (IJC), will be the headline speaker at our upcoming 29th annual Winter Environmental Conference, Saturday, February 3. Commissioner Pollack will speak about a topic of intense and ongoing interest to the River community – Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.

In the year since Plan 2014 went into effect, Commissioner Pollack has travelled the region speaking about the proper relation between the Plan, weather conditions, and this past year’s high water. She has been quoted as saying, “We’d love a perfect plan where everybody is protected, but nature has not allowed us to do that,” pointing out that the IJC is required to balance the interest of shippers, dam operators, recreational boaters, upstream and downstream residents, and the environment.

In addition to presenting, Commissioner Pollack will be accepting Save The River’s “Friend of the River™” Award on behalf of the other Commissioners and the staff and boards of the IJC for their for “unwavering support of initiatives and policies that support a healthy St. Lawrence River”.

Prior to the IJC, Commissioner Pollack served in the Michigan State Senate from 1983-1994 where she was a leading advocate for women, children and the environment. From 1996-2008 she was president of the Michigan Environmental Council, a coalition of 70 environmental organizations working to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s environment. Ms. Pollack has been a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, taught at the University of Michigan and an elected trustee of the Ann Arbor Board of Education. In 2002, she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Other presentations will focus on the environmental improvement efforts being made by shippers, terminals and ports, the condition of the River as habitat, and the general state of fish and birds that depend on the River being healthy.

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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Thank You!

January 11th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Watertown Daily Times editorial makes the point. Breaking ice to get ships to locks they can’t get through once they’re there just doesn’t make sense.

   Watertown Daily Times, January 11, 2018

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Seaway Closing Update

January 9th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

from the Seaway:
















We look forward to the opportunity for a discussion of the time and manner of selecting and modifying the opening and closing dates of the Seaway. Particularly in light of increasing variability in weather on the Lake and River.

We appreciate the fact that the challenging and dangerous nature of some incidents requires extreme effort and resources. And it is always our fervent hope that any and all incidents end with no injury and no environmental harm. But as we made clear with respect to the Federal Biscay, we believe the public must get timely updates from official sources about the nature of any incident and the steps being take to bring it to a safe and successful conclusion.

We are glad the 2017 Seaway season can come to a close with the ships cleared, the crews, responders and Seaway personnel safe and the River laying up while we all wait for spring.

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Federal Biscay Now Freed from Snell Lock

January 6th, 2018 | Posted by Lee
Statement from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation on the Federal Biscay being freed from the Snell Lock earlier today.
Per the Seaway an update will be issued when the five ships awaiting transit downbound have exited the Upper River.
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Save The River Announces Additions to Staff – Updated

January 1st, 2018 | Posted by admin
Additions to Save The River staff in key positions – Program Manager, Outreach Coordinator and Office Assistant – add depth and experience.
Patricia Shulenburg, who most recently worked for the New York State Office of Parks as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Dunes and Wetlands Restoration Coordinator, brings experience with educational programming to Save The River as Program Manager.
Margaret Hummel, Clayton, previously Director of Events and Marketing at the Antique Boat Museum, is the organization’s Outreach Coordinator.
Kendall Hathaway, Cape Vincent, a recent graduate of Auburn University, fills the new position of Office Assistant.
As Program Manager, Ms. Shulenburg, will implement all aspects of Save The River’s current educational programs including its very successful In the Schools and On the Water programs which currently introduce over 1,000 kindergarten to twelfth grade students to environmental issues facing the St. Lawrence River and the Riverkeeper and Jr. Riverkeeper Volunteer programs that teach 100s volunteers each year of all ages stewardship principles.
Ms. Shulenburg has a Master’s of Science degree in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from the University at Buffalo where she focused her graduate studies on Great Lakes ecology and stream restoration. While at the NYS Office of Parks she managed projects at Sandy Island Beach State Park and founded the region’s first volunteer monitoring and stewardship program for the federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover.
Ms. Hummel will be involved with all aspects of Save The River’s communications with its membership, supporters and the public and be an integral part of the delivery of its education and volunteer programs, events and fundraising as Outreach Coordinator. She has been a Clayton resident since 2007 and brings seven years of experience with volunteer coordination, and event planning at the Boat Museum.
Ms. Hathaway graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While at Auburn, she worked in the agricultural department where she gained a greater appreciation for environmental conservation. She will be able to combine her education and experience in her work at Save The River.
Lee Willbanks, Save The River’s Executive Director, stated, “significant progress has been made in protecting the St. Lawrence River’s water quality and habitat, and in expanding the number of people and communities involved in that effort during the 40 years Save The River has been the voice for the River. However, much remains to be done and we are very excited to have Margaret, Patricia and Kendall join the existing staff – Bridget Wright, Linda Wright and me – as we take on the task.”
He added, “We have heard from many partners and community members that they are excited to build on past successes as we expand our capacity at this critical time when the St. Lawrence River and the communities that depend on it being healthy are facing existing and new challenges.”
Save The River, a member-based, nonprofit environmental organization, has been the “voice for the St. Lawrence River” in the U.S. and Canada since 1978. Save The River’s mission has always been to restore, preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. In 2004, Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and became a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance with the goal of a swimmable, fishable, drinkable River.
As the leading grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River, Save The River takes an active role in River policy issues, engaging decision makers, community leaders, residents, visitors and volunteers to make positive change. Every year it works with educators in school districts in the watershed to educate 1,000+ students in a place-based curriculum that stresses age appropriate aspects of stewardship.

Patricia Shulenburg


Margaret Hummel


Kendall Hathaway



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Save The River’s 29th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

December 8th, 2017 | Posted by Lee


Save the date! Or, better yet, sign up and lock in your attendance now.

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The International Joint Commission assesses U.S. and Canadian efforts to improve Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water quality:

December 4th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

‘Commendable progress. Much more to be done.’

We were pleased to see the scope of the findings and the recommendations in the IJC report, premised as they are on sound science and significant public input. We were also pleased to get to comment on the report in a recent Watertown Daily Times​ article, “IJC report talks water quality concerns on Lake Ontario” by Gordon Block published December 1, 2017.

In its first assessment on how the two countries are doing to meet the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the IJC found progress on the general objectives of accelerated restoration of contaminated Areas of Concern, the development of binational habitat conservation strategies, the absence of newly introduced aquatic invasive species, and comprehensive reporting on groundwater science.

But, and we here at Save The River​ definitely agree, the IJC finds:

– insufficient progress toward achieving human health objectives;
– insufficient progress on chemicals of mutual concern that pose a threat to the health of humans, wildlife and aquatic organisms;
– more work is required to control the spread of invasive species already in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River;
– there is no basin-wide perspective, approach or strategy for addressing climate change;
– the governments have not fully incorporated robust public engagement into their activities; and
– they should reach beyond the limits & audiences typically recognized & should factor in consideration of environmental justice as a key objective.

There is a lot in the report for anyone who cares about the health of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River and the people and communities that rely on them to be swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

The full report, “First Triennial Assessment of Progress on Great Lakes Water Quality“, is worth a read.

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It’s Giving Tuesday!

November 28th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

On this Giving Tuesday

Help Kick Off Our 40th Year

of being the Voice for the St. Lawrence River!


Help Us Educate the Next Generation of River Stewards!

2014-08-02 Jr Riverkeepers

your gift of $40 or more will allow us to get more students On the Water,

reach a few more Jr. Riverkeepers, and

fight a little longer to restore, preserve and protect

the St. Lawrence River now, . . . and for generations to come.

Thank you so much!




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