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Dr. Sherri Mason, Groundbreaking Researcher in Plastics Pollution, to Speak at Winter Environmental Conference

January 28th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

‘Single-Use’ plastic was named the word of the year by Collins Dictionary highlighting the wave of news stories, social media hits, and policies that have become increasingly common over the last few years. Why? What is the problem with plastic?

At this year’s Winter Environmental Conference, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason will present a basic primer on what plastic is and the realities of plastic pollution right here, right now in the Great Lakes region.

Dr. Mason earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. While a Professor of Chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, her research group was among the first to study the prevalence and impact of plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems. Among her accolades Dr. Mason was named an EPA Environmental Champion in 2016, was awarded for her Excellence in Environmental Research by the Earth Month Network in 2017 and was selected to receive a Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2018. She has recently moved into a new role as Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State Behrend.

Watch Dr. Mason’s Tedx Talk Beads of Destruction.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Peter Annin will analyze the future of Great Lakes water diversion management.
  • Evie Brahmstedt will describe her ongoing research about mercury in St. Lawrence wetlands.
  • Elaine Tack will present It’s Hard to be a Tern, her short film exploring Save The River’s common tern restoration program.
  • John Casselman will discuss the catastrophic decline of the American eel in the St. Lawrence River system.
  • Chad Lord will explore the threat of Asian carp and what can be done to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Hear Dr. Mason speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form. 

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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Peter Annin, Leading Expert on Water Diversions, to Speak at the Winter Environmental Conference

January 28th, 2019 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Peter Annin, author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, will be our featured speaker at this year’s Winter Environmental Conference (WEC). Learn about the long history of political maneuvers and water diversion schemes that have proposed sending Great Lakes water everywhere from Akron to Arizona. Through the prism of the past, this talk analyzes the future of the Great Lakes water diversion management, currently controlled by the Great Lakes Compact, a legal document that went into effect in 2008. Learn about several noteworthy Great Lakes diversions that already exist, along with potential water diversions of the future, including the controversial Foxconn water diversion that has been proposed south of Milwaukee, WI.

Peter Annin is the director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College in Ashland, WI. Before coming to Northland College in 2015, Peter served as a reporter at Newsweek, the associate director of the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, and the managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative. He continues to report on the Great Lakes water diversion issue and published a second edition of The Great Lakes Water Wars in the fall of 2018.

In addition to hearing Peter speak at the WEC, you’ll be able to purchase a copy of his recently released, revised version of The Great Lakes Water Wars ($30) and have your copy signed during an author meet and greet (hosted during the 12 – 1 pm lunch hour of WEC).

Hear Peter speak Saturday, February 2 at the WEC, hosted at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Call (315) 686-2010 to register; $50 conference fee includes morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon snack, and light appetizers during cocktail hour (cash bar). Click here for the registration form. 

New this year: for those unable to make the trip to Clayton, we will be hosting a professional live stream of the WEC. In order to support this exciting new offering, there is a suggested donation of $25. The hyperlink for the live stream will be emailed the week of the conference.

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Senate Protects St. Lawrence River & Great Lakes

April 26th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Senate Votes to Protect the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes: Defeats Vessel Incidental Discharge Act

Last Wednesday, after a tremendous outpouring of opposition led by Save The River members and many others across the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence region, the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017 (S.1129). This bill contained a harmful provision, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), that would have weakened rules protecting clean water and shift the oversight of ballast water discharge from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Coast Guard.

If S.1129 with the VIDA amendment had passed, the health of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes would have been put in serious jeopardy with the threat of new aquatic invasive species introduced via ballast water discharges. Learn more here.

Your calls and emails were enormously important in defeating this harmful legislation. Thank you!

Join us in thanking the Great Lakes region Senators who voted to block this bill from going forward; call the Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 or send a message of thanks via social media (sample message below):

Thank you [insert your Senator(s)] for voting to protect our #StLawrenceRiver, #GreatLakes & #CleanWater by opposing VIDA! This bad bill would have weakened #invasivespecies protections. @SaveTheRiver member.

Senators to thank:

Minnesota – @AmyKlobuchar and @SenTinaSmith

Wisconsin – @SenatorBaldwin

Illinois – @SenatorDurbin (Sen. Duckworth did not vote either way)

Michigan – @SenStabenow and @SenGaryPeters

Ohio – @SenSherrodBrown

New York – @SenGillibrand and @SenSchumer

Since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, ocean-going freighters carrying contaminated ballast water have introduced 100+ aquatic invasive species to the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, and the fish-killing VHS virus have caused irreparable environmental and economic damage to the River and the entire Great Lakes regions.

For 40 years Save The River has been the voice for the St. Lawrence. We will always stand to protect the health of the River but we can’t do it without your support.
Stand with us as the voice for the St. Lawrence River by becoming a member or making a donation today.

 

A copy of our latest annual report may be obtained upon request at 409 Riverside Dr, Clayton, NY 13624 or from the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, 19th Flr, New York, NY 10005

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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: http://ow.ly/W1UR30iV3CW

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.
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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.
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Kendall Hathaway, Cape Vincent, a recent graduate of Auburn University, fills the new position of Office Assistant.
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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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