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Press Release: Save The River Calls for a Halt on Wind Energy Development Due to Environmental Concerns

August 4th, 2010 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (August 4, 2010) – Save The River is urging local municipalities bordering the Upper St. Lawrence River in the U.S. and Canada to implement a three year moratorium on wind project development. The move was taken after careful review of recent data showing potentially high avian and bat mortality from the first six months of operation of the Wolfe Island Wind project, the only operating wind project in the region.

Additionally, Save The River is calling for a cumulative assessment of bird and bat mortality and other environmental impacts for wind development in the Upper St. Lawrence River valley, coordinated by agencies in the US and Canada. The assessment should consider two regional scenarios, one for 500 wind turbines and the other for 1,000 wind turbines.

“The initial high avian and bat mortality documented at the Wolfe Island Wind Project along with the lack of any cumulative impact assessment for wind projects proposed within the St. Lawrence valley, demand a ‘wait and see’ response from decision makers in the communities that are now involved with examining environmental impact studies from wind developers,” stated Save The River in a position paper detailing the rationale for the moratorium and cumulative assessment.

Several factors influenced the call for a moratorium on wind energy development in the region including:

• The St. Lawrence River valley contains one of the most unique and substantial grassland habitats in eastern North America, which is home to specialized bird populations and provides critical foraging habitat for a variety of raptor species. This habitat is increasingly scarce due to development pressure and further threatened by wind energy development.

• The Indiana Bat, a federally listed endangered species, has been identified as a resident in several communities slated for wind energy projects. The scientific community has expressed growing concern regarding the potential for bat kills and population declines given the rapid proliferation of wind power facilities and the large-scale mortality that has occurred at some facilities.

• No agencies have begun to assess the cumulative impacts of the more than 6 projects proposed along the Upper St. Lawrence River and, as a result, little if anything is known about the cumulative impacts of these projects on the River ecosystem. Nor has any cross-border coordination with Canada occurred, resulting in a lack of information for agencies assessing project impacts.

“Without a full picture of the impacts of wind energy development along the Upper St. Lawrence River, it is irresponsible to move forward with the wind projects currently in development at this time,” stated Save The River Executive Director Jennifer Caddick. “Communities along the St. Lawrence River have worked hard to protect the River’s water quality and wildlife for many years. A precautionary approach is the only way to ensure that the St. Lawrence River ecosystem remains vibrant and healthy.”

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Read Save The River’s full position statement.

For more information, contact Stephanie Weiss, Save The River Assistant Director at (315) 686-2010 or stephanie@savetheriver.org

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Press Release: Save The River’s 21st Annual Winter Weekend Set for February 5-6; Jeff Alexander, award winning journalist and author of Pandora’s Locks, to be keynote speaker; NY DEC Commissioner Grannis to address conference attendees

January 19th, 2010 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (January 18, 2010) – Save The River’s 21st annual Winter Environmental Weekend will be held February 5 – 6 at the Clayton Opera House. This annual event brings together policymakers, scientists and citizens to discuss the most important issues facing the St. Lawrence River environment. Highlights of the weekend’s events include a keynote presentation by award winning author Jeff Alexander and conference remarks by NY Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis.

Winter Weekend kicks off with a cocktail reception on Friday, February 5 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., which includes hors d’oeuvres and a chance to reconnect with friends. The weekend’s main events – the Winter Weekend conference and evening reception – will be held on Saturday, February 6. The packed conference agenda includes morning remarks by NY Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis and presentations on impacts of water levels regulation on the River environment, the latest news on the Asian carp situation, Save The River’s new partnership with area schools, and much more. Conference registration beings at 8:30 a.m. with presentations beginning at 9 a.m. The registration fee for the Saturday conference is $25.00, lunch included. The conference agenda, when finalized, will be available on Save The River’s website, www.savetheriver.org

The weekend’s events will be capped off with a keynote presentation by Jeff Alexander, award winning journalist and author of Pandora’s Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Jeff Alexander has been covering Great Lakes issues for the past 20 years in several Michigan papers and has received numerous awards for his journalism. His efforts as a journalist also helped to spur $30 million dollars worth of pollution clean-ups within the Great Lakes Region. Pandora’s Locks explores the opening of the Great Lakes 50 years ago to exposure of invasive species, one of the world’s worst environmental disasters, and has been called a ‘must read’ by anyone interested in Great Lakes issues. To learn more about Jeff and his books visit jeffalexander.org. Saturday evening’s events begin with a cocktail hour at 5:30 and an opportunity to view silent auction items and to participate in our live auction. Dinner, featuring Jeff Alexander’s keynote presentation, begins at 7 p.m. Dinner is $75.00 per person.

Advance reservations by January 27th are recommended as space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling Save The River at 686-2010.  All events are being held at the Clayton Opera House.

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For more information contact Jennifer Caddick, Save The River Executive Director, at (315) 686-2010, or visit www.savetheriver.org.

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Save The River Reports on Summer Beach Water Quality: Concerns raised about high bacteria levels found at Wilson’s Beach

August 24th, 2009 | Posted by admin

Save The River Reports on Summer Beach Water Quality
Concerns raised about high bacteria levels found at Wilson’s Beach

Clayton, NY (August 24, 2009) – Save The River’s Beach Watch Program monitored six local swimming areas over a five-week period in July and August, providing a snapshot of summer swimming water quality. Overall, the results for this year indicated that the water quality at sampled beaches was within state and federal safe swimming standards but there is continued cause for concern with Wilson Beach in Cape Vincent.

Bacteria levels spiked above healthy water quality standards at Wilson Beach on two occasions, July 13 and July 27, during the sampling period. On those two dates, bacteria levels ranged from 220/ml to 1600/ml. In accordance with New York State Health Department standards, a finding of 61 or higher of bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of sample water is deemed unsafe water quality at swimming beaches. The samples collected each week are tested for Enterococci, a bacteria found in warm-blooded animals, including humans, which is closely linked to human health impact.

High levels of bacteria can cause health problems such as rashes and gastrointestinal illness, and are most dangerous for the very old, very young or anyone with a compromised immune system. Symptoms of infection include: chills, fever, diarrhea and cramping. To reduce the risk of acquiring a bacteria-related illness, beach goers should employ the following simple safety measures: never swallow swimming water and wash hands after swimming and before eating.

Frequent high levels of bacteria at Wilson’s Beach may be linked with the presence of Cladophora, a type of green algae. Recent scientific studies have indicated that Cladophora can harbor unsafe levels of bacteria. Many of the spikes in bacteria levels at Wilson’s Beach have occurred during times of high algae contamination at that beach. The continued correlation over several years of sampling amongst the two occurrences would suggest a need for caution at Wilson Beach when significant amounts of algae are observed.

Save The River volunteers sampled six sites in 2009: Wilson Beach in Cape Vincent, Frink Dock in Clayton, Potter’s Beach on Grindstone Island, Lake of the Isles near Wellesley Island, Round Island near Clayton, and Scenic View Park in Alexandria Bay. A fact sheet detailing sampling results for all beaches sampled can be found at Save The River’s website, www.savetheriver.org by clicking on ‘On the Water Programs’ and then ‘BeachWatch’.

“The Beach Watch program is an important snapshot of swimming water quality along the River,” stated Save The River Executive Director, Jennifer Caddick. “Save The River is the only organization sampling the most popular summer swimming spots on the River and providing this important health information to the public. Our goal is to help swimmers make informed decisions about where and when to swim at these beaches.”

Save The River’s Beach Watch Program has been providing swimming water data to the Thousand Islands community since 1999. All samples were taken by Save The River volunteers and analyzed by Converse Laboratories in Watertown, a state certified facility.

Several organizations provided key support to the Beach Watch program in 2009. Samples were collected at Bowes Realty in Clayton and taken to Watertown each week through a sample collection coordination program in conjunction with Converse Laboratories. Jefferson County Water Quality Coordinating Committee provided staff support for the additional sampling at Wilson Beach.

The 2009 sampling results and summary are available on Save The River’s website, ww.savetheriver.org, as well as prior year results. During the swimming season, interested beach goers can sign up for Save The River’s weekly notification of Beach Watch information. To sign up, call Save The River at (315) 686-2010 or e-mail striver@savetheriver.org.

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Fact Sheet: Beach Watch Results 2009 (PDF)

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Save The River’s 20th Annual Winter Weekend Set for February 6-7: Tim Palmer, photographer and award winning author, to be keynote speaker

January 21st, 2009 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (January 12, 2009) – Save The River’s 20th annual Winter Environmental Weekend will be held February 6 – 7 at the Clayton Opera House. This annual event brings together policymakers, scientists and citizens to discuss the most important issues facing the St. Lawrence River environment.

Save The River has also announced Tim Palmer, an award winning photographer and author as the keynote speaker for the event. Palmer has been writing about rivers across the United States for over 25 years, combining his accomplished photography and his deep appreciation for rivers into his vivid books. He has been honored with multiple awards for his books and his work as a river conservationist including the Benjamin Franklin Award for the best American book on nature and the environment for The Heart of America: Our Landscape, Our Future, and River Conservationist of the Year Award from Perception, Inc for his conservation work. For more information on Tim Palmer and his work, visit www.timpalmer.org.

The schedule of events for the weekend begins on Friday, February 6 with a welcome cocktail party from 6-8 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. On Saturday, February 7, conference registration being at 8:30 a.m. with conference presentations beginning at 9 a.m. The conference agenda is currently being finalized with more details to be posted on the Save The River website. The registration fee for the Saturday conference is $25.00, lunch included. Saturday evening begins with a cocktail hour at 5:30 and an opportunity to view silent auction items and to participate in our live auction. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and featuring keynote speaker Tim Palmer. Dinner is $75.00 per person.

Advance reservations by January 23rd are recommended as space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling Save The River at 686-2010. All events are being held at the Clayton Opera House.

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For more information contact Jennifer Caddick, Save The River Executive Director, at (315) 686-2010.

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