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Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

Page 42 of President’s budget plan released today “Eliminates funding for…Great Lakes Restoration Initiative”. This program has received bipartisan support in every budget since its inception in 2010. Over $130,000,000 has come to New York State to improve wetlands, fish habitat, invasive species detection and prevention, pollution abatement and other important projects that have created direct and indirect jobs, improving our environment and our economy. Over $6.4 million has been spent directly in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

Zero it out? Seriously. Decidedly. Outrageous!

It is just one part of the budget’s assault on programs that protect the water we depend on for our world-class fisheries, to sustain our recreation and tourism based economy, AND to drink!

Among many other programs cut or zeroed out is a Department of Agriculture program that assists communities with fewer than 10,000 people with water and sewer infrastructure.

It’s hard to imagine describing the St. Lawrence River as “great” if the water is no longer swimmable, fishable, or drinkable.

The President’s budget plan is chock full of disappointments for anyone who has benefitted from the last half century of progress the United States has made in air and water quality and human health.

Common sense tells us we have more to do to make sure every American has access to clean air and water, both basic human rights.

Instead for Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and our members and supporters, this budget is nothing less than a full on assault on the health of one of North America’s most important waterways and the people and communities that depend on it being and staying healthy.

Call the Congressional switchboard, (202) 224-3121, to connect with your Senators & Representative with the simple message “I support clean water programs – GLRI, revolving loan funds, & EPA”. Then call White House with same message (202) 456-1414 or (202) 456-1111.

Please also consider becoming a member of Save The River to strengthen our ability to fight for a healthy St. Lawrence River, now and for generations to come. Add your voice to thousands of others working to preserve, protect and restore one of the great rivers in North America.

#WePersist

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Riverkeeper Statement to Watertown ‘Sister Rally’

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*.

In part,

“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


Notes:

  • 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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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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International Joint Commission launches public consultations on progress by the governments to restore and protect the Great Lakes

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.ijc-glwqa

“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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St. Lawrence River & Key Figures Play Big Role in Upcoming Film – Updated

August 5th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

In June the crew from Changing Currents, PLU MediaLab, came to New York, Ontario and, specifically the St. Lawrence River for interviews and filming for “Changing Currents: Protecting North America’s Rivers”, an examination of river pollution and restoration efforts in North America.

While here they interviewed two of Save The River‘s strongest partners in our efforts to preserve and protect the St. Lawrence and the larger Great Lakes system – Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER and Jeff Ridal, Executive Director of the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Featured, as well, are Angie Barnes (Tsionerahtase) and Dr. Mary Arquette (Iotenerahtatenion). Both have dedicated their lives protecting the waters, culture, and environment for future generations in Akwesasne on the St. Lawrence River and both are employees of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division, a strong and important voice in St. Lawrence River restoration.

Also interviewed was our very own Board President, Jeff Garnsey, as a local business owner and seventh-generation resident.

In the just released trailer we hear Jeff at the beginning, Angie at the 5 second mark, see Jill at the 30 second mark, Jeff at 46 seconds and Dr. Arquette at 55, all making excellent points. The whole trailer offers a glimpse of how impactful this production will be.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 40 percent of rivers and lakes in the United States are too polluted for swimming or fishing. The mission of the film is to educate others on ecological river health, encourage environmental stewardship and advocate for dialog regarding effective river protection. The film is currently in pre-production and will premiere on Nov. 12, 2016 in the Theatre on the Square at the Broadway Center for Performing Arts in Tacoma, Washington.

 

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Support Canada’s Draft Rules Banning Microbeads!

March 9th, 2016 | Posted by admin
Support Canada’s Draft Rules Banning Microbeads!
The Canadian federal government has proposed rules banning microbeads – an important step to protect the St. Lawrence River! Send an email today supporting the ban to keep microbeads out of our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Comments are due by tomorrow, March 10th, send a comment today to make your voice heard!
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT:
ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca
Sample Language:
·      I support the draft regulations for banning microbeads proposed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
·         Every effort must be made to eliminate the source of pollution and ensure that microbeads do not enter our shared Great Lakes and Rivers. We commend the federal government of Canada for recognizing this, and support the draft regulations.
For more info visit http://ow.ly/ZgfXN.

The Canadian federal government has proposed rules banning microbeads – an important step to protect the St. Lawrence River! Send an email today supporting the ban to keep microbeads out of our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Comments are due by tomorrow, March 10th, send a comment today to make your voice heard!

SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT:

ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca

Sample Language:

  • I support the draft regulations for banning microbeads proposed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Every effort must be made to eliminate the source of pollution and ensure that microbeads do not enter our shared Great Lakes and Rivers. We commend the federal government of Canada for recognizing this, and support the draft regulations.

For more info visit http://ow.ly/ZgfXN.

View Save The River’s Comment Letter.

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Soon to be no more!

December 30th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Soon to be no more! “One tube of exfoliating facewash can contain more than 350,000 microbeads and it’s estimated that 2.9 trillion microbeads enter U.S. waterways annually.”
Yesterday the President signed the microbeads ban. Thank you Senator Kirsten Gillibrand​ and Rep. Elise Stefanik​ for sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
There is still more to do. Plastic pollution from a raft of other sources continues. “Microbeads are a small part of the much larger problem of marine debris. As more people consume more products that are made of substances that do not biodegrade easily, if at all, the volume of plastics that end up in our waterways continues to grow,” says Steve Cohen writing in the Huffington Post.
For the bigger picture, read Microbeads, Marine Debris, Regulation and the Precautionary Principle, http://ow.ly/WshYz

Soon to be no more! “One tube of exfoliating facewash can contain more than 350,000 microbeads and it’s estimated that 2.9 trillion microbeads enter U.S. waterways annually.”

Yesterday the President signed the microbeads ban. Thank you Senator Kirsten Gillibrand​ and Rep. Elise Stefanik​ for sponsoring this important piece of legislation.5 Gyres Microbeads Twitter

There is still more to do. Plastic pollution from a raft of other sources continues. “Microbeads are a small part of the much larger problem of marine debris. As more people consume more products that are made of substances that do not biodegrade easily, if at all, the volume of plastics that end up in our waterways continues to grow,” says Steve Cohen writing in the Huffington Post.

For the bigger picture, read Microbeads, Marine Debris, Regulation and the Precautionary Principle.

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Last Chance to Have Your Year End Gift Matched!

December 27th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Year End Appeal (last chance)

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Microbeads still polluting, despite public’s knowledge of their dangers

September 22nd, 2015 | Posted by admin

From the Watertown Daily Times Published on Sunday, September 20, 2015

Microbeads, which are used to add scrubbing action to tons of products — everything from toothpaste to face wash — represent the most insidious of pollutants. The tiny plastic beads seem innocuous as they slip down your sink, but they never really go away.

According to a new study, up to 8 trillion of these plastic pieces enter aquatic habitats in the United States each and every day. One tiny plastic bead may seem trivial, but it’s not hard to understand why enough of them to cover a tennis court — day after day — pose a major threat to wildlife.

And those 8 trillion beads that make it into aquatic habitats only represent 1 percent of the total number that are being dumped each day. Another 800 trillion or so end up in the sludgy runoff from sewage plants, which can go on to pollute waterways as well.

The new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, calls for a total ban of the scrubbers.

Even consumers who are aware of the dangers posed by the beads are likely to buy them in less obvious forms — like in toothpaste, where they’re barely visible. And once you have them, there’s no good way to get rid of them.

“We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” co-author Stephanie Green of Oregon State University said in a statement.

Furthermore, the researchers said, many of the bans put in place by individual states aren’t cutting it. They tend to contain loopholes allowing for “biodegradable” plastics — many of which only degrade ever so slightly before settling in for a long residence in oceans and rivers.

If you’ve got microbeads lurking in your bathroom, don’t panic — but don’t let any more of them go down the drain. The best options are to filter out the beads with a coffee filter — throwing them in the trash isn’t ideal, but it’s better than the alternative — or to find a researcher who’s studying the products and send them to their lab. There are also organizations that will take the beads and use them for educational outreach.

You can find a list of microbead-free products here: http://wdt.me/4b9bgt.

Watch how microbeads pollute.

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Tell Rep. Elise Stefanik “Thanks!” for her visit to Save The River & continued strong support for Plan 2014.

August 28th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Please take a moment to call Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office to say “Thanks!” Let her know that as a member, supporter or follower of Save The River you appreciate her visiting with us, her concern about the health of the St. Lawrence River and, especially now, her support of Plan 2014.

Jefferson and St. Lawrence County District office number:  (315) 782-3150
Washington, D.C. office number:  (202) 225-4611
-or- Send her an email (click here):

As part of her visits to many communities along the St. Lawrence River. Congresswoman Stefanik came to the Save The River office Wednesday to talk about Plan 2014, aquatic invasive species, microbeads and the threat of oil shipments on the River (among many other topics). It was an excellent first conversation. We came away very impressed with her grasp of the issues and her engagement in trying to find solutions that work for the benefit of all who share the use and enjoyment of the River.

We were particularly pleased with her continued strong support for Plan 2014, based as it is on a complete understanding of the problems the old water levels plan has caused and her commitment to be a strong advocate for adoption and implementation of the new plan soon.

Based on the discussion, we look forward to working with her on this and other River issues.

Your call or email of thanks to her office will let her know the River community appreciates and supports her efforts.

Coverage of her visit:
from the Watertown Daily Times
from TWC News Central/Northern NY

Stefanik Collage

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