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Join Us! Save The River’s 28th Winter Environmental Conference

January 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Lee

It’s here – a new year, ice, lake effect snow, and . . .

Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference.

Attendees at our 28th annual conference, Saturday, February 4th, will hear presentations on the state of the fishery, policy changes in the U.S. and Canada that may impact the health of the River, local projects affecting the River and more. AND, of course, Plan 2014.

In addition to information sharing, the Conference is an excellent mid-winter opportunity to gather and renew the ties and fellowship that bind us together in the common cause we share – protecting the St. Lawrence River now and for generations to come.

So join us, your friends – old & new at Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel to celebrate and learn about the River we love.

Schedule:  Saturday, February 4, 2017

9:30am  – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 am – 4:00pm Presentations

4:00 pm – Cocktail Reception with cash bar

Additional details and updates will be posted here & on our Facebook events page

Conference fee: $50 (includes coffee, lunch, & cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres)

RSVP no later than Friday, January 27, 2017 to Save The River using the form found here or by calling us at (315) 686-2010.

We’ll see you there!

 

 

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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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“The current method of regulation [of water levels on the River] is antiquated, . . .

June 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Macfarlane Image 2

A great read on why we need to support #Plan2014Now.

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“The current method of regulation [of water levels on the River] is antiquated, recognized [by American Rivers] by the designation in April 2016 of the St. Lawrence as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. The history of trying to regulate the St. Lawrence River shows that there is an underlying conceptual flaw in the notion that we should control the hydrological regimes on rivers and lakes. Plan 2014 is a major step in the right direction.”


Daniel MacFarlane, a speaker at our 2016 Winter Environmental Conference, in a guest blog on the American Rivers website.


More information at: http://plan2014now.savetheriver.org/

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Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director named Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year

March 30th, 2016 | Posted by Lee
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director Recognized as Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year
Freshwater Future has added Lee Willbanks to its 2016 list of Freshwater Heroes and honored him with the distinction of Citizen Advocate of the Year.
Based in Michigan, the Freshwater Future has a singular and vitally important mission: to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region.
This month the organization issued its list of Freshwater Heroes. The list includes extraordinary groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond to protect what they hold dear—our waters.
In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “From on-the-water monitoring and restoration efforts, to educating the next generation of river champions, to his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues like aquatic invasive species and regulation of water levels, you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.”
For more: http://ow.ly/1067E4

Freshwater Future has added Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River’s Executive Director, to its 2016 list of Freshwater Heroes and honored him with the distinction of Citizen Advocate of the Year.

Based in Michigan, Freshwater Future has a singular and vitally important mission: to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region.

This month the organization issued its list of Freshwater Heroes. The list includes extraordinary groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond to protect what they hold dear—our waters.

In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “From on-the-water monitoring and restoration efforts, to educating the next generation of river champions, to his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues like aquatic invasive species and regulation of water levels, you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.”

2016 Freshwater Future Freshwater Hero Award
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Save The River’s 27th Winter Environmental Conference Agenda

February 5th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

There’s still time to register for the conference. For more information call Save The River at 315-686-2010 or click here.

2016 WEC Agenda

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“Meet the upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper; Save The River prepares to host annual conference”

February 3rd, 2016 | Posted by admin

Great coverage by North Country Public Radio of our upcoming Winter Environmental Conference

“The upper St. Lawrence River’s largest environmental group holds its annual winter conference this weekend.

North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik will be one of the speakers at Save The River’s conference this Saturday at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton.”

Tony Maas, Principal of Maas Strategies, is a nationally recognized water policy expert in Canada. He will be providing an update on Canadian environmental policy and Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act.

With the potential for New York State voters to vote for a constitutional convention in 2017, van Rossum will speak about the need for constitutional guarantees for clean water and air in the New York State constitution.

“Speakers will also tackle topics that kept Save The River busy in 2015, including passing a new, more environmentally-friendly water levels management plan for the river, and opposing Montreal’s dumping of raw sewage into the river last fall.”

Visit NCPR’s website for the full story:http://ow.ly/XTDaK

There’s still time to register for the conference. For more information call Save The River at 315-686-2010 or visit: http://ow.ly/WUDZF

WEC Speakers Panel Image

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Thousand Islands ranked No. 1 on list of nation’s archipelagos

January 27th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

From today’s Watertown Daily Times editorial page, “Promoting the Thousand Islands as a wonderful tourist destination recently became a little easier. . . By focusing on water quality and watershed issues, members of Save the River do their part to attract visitors.” It is worth a full read.

With a super shout out to Save The River, the editorial correctly mentions our members. They are full-time and seasonal residents, boaters, kayakers, swimmers, anglers, divers, birders, hunters, scientists, artists, teachers, students of all ages, public figures, business owners, Canadian and American. And they are members because they believe in our mission to protect and preserve the St. Lawrence River.

Even so, we are not in this alone, and the River region (and Save The River) is blessed to have a tremendous number of groups and agencies all working to keep the land and water clean and sustaining for generations. A partial list of those we partner with: Waterkeeper AllianceThousand Islands Land TrustIndian River Lakes ConservancyMinna Anthony Common Nature Center – FriendsNew York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic PreservationIJC – International Joint CommissionAudubon New YorkDucks UnlimitedLake Ontario WaterkeeperWWF-CanadaSUNY-ESFAlgonquin to Adirondacks CollaborativeClarkson UniversityHealing Our Waters – Great Lakes CoalitionAntique Boat MuseumThe Nature Conservancy in New YorkWilson Hill Wildlife Management AreaSt. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental SciencesAlliance for the Great LakesThousand Islands Tourism CouncilAquatarium, and so many others.

We all have a place on the River and we all have a role in using it sustainably, and ensuring it is swimmable, drinkable and fishable to seven generations.

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Dr. Daniel Macfarlane, environmental historian, to speak on Plan 2014 at Winter Environmental Conference

January 21st, 2016 | Posted by admin

Macfarlane- Sustainability Studies_150_0Dr. Daniel Macfarlane, Assistant Professor of Freshwater Policy at Western Michigan University, will speak at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference about Plan 2014, the long anticipated, but currently stalled, modern water levels management plan, proposed by the International Joint Commission in June 2014.

In a well-received editorial published last September in the Standard-Freeholder, a Cornwall, Ontario newspaper, Dr. Macfarlane wrote, “Since the IJC can’t unilaterally implement its Plan 2014 recommendation, it is up to the Canadian and American governments to decide what to do. They must adopt it. The current method of regulation is an anachronism. Plan 2014 is just a step in the right direction.”

Save The River is pleased to have Dr. Macfarlane share his perspective on the need for a modern water levels plan for the River. His extensive knowledge of the history of the Seaway and dams that have caused ecological damage to wetland habitat and declines in key species will be very helpful as we approach the second anniversary of the referral of Plan 2014 – a plan that will begin to reverse that damage.

Dr. Macfarlane is an environmental historian and policy scholar specializing in border waters in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin, and is author of the award-winning 2014 book “Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway” which was based on his doctoral dissertation at the University of Ottawa and explores, among other aspects, the ecological impact of building the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. He is currently writing a book on the history of engineering Niagara Falls, researching the history of Great Lakes water levels, co-editing a book on US-Canadian border waters, and working on the history of the International Joint Commission.

Other speakers at Save The River’s conference include Congresswoman Stefanik who will update attendees on her work to address issues of importance to the St. Lawrence River. Other speakers will address Montreal’s sewage dump this past fall, possible transport of crude oil on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, plastic pollution in our waterways, and the need for constitutional guarantees for clean water and air in the New York State constitution.

Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference is open to the public. Registration is $50 and includes coffee, lunch and a cocktail reception with light hor d’oevres.  Anyone interested in attending can RSVP by Friday, January 29th by calling (315) 686-2010 or by downloading and submitting the registration form.

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Congresswoman Elise Stefanik to speak at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference

January 20th, 2016 | Posted by admin

Stefanik Official PortraitSave The River announced Congresswoman Elise Stefanik will speak at its upcoming Winter Environmental Conference, Saturday, February 6th. Ms. Stefanik, whose district covers the entire length of the St. Lawrence River in the U.S., will update attendees on her work to address issues of importance to the St. Lawrence River and those in and out of her district who are connected to the River.

Congresswoman Stefanik has been a vocal supporter of Plan 2014, the modern water levels plan for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, and a co-sponsor of the recently enacted law banning microbeads in consumer products. She also recently convened a cross-boundary roundtable on dealing with the threat from invasive species and has met with Save The River to discuss a range of issues related to the threats and opportunities facing the River.

“I am very excited to speak at Save the River’s Winter Conference,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Save the River is the leading voice protecting the St. Lawrence River, and together we have already successfully worked to protect this important body of water from plastic microbead pollution. We have much more left to accomplish, and I look forward to speaking with Save the River activists about important initiatives, including Plan 2014 and my work in Congress to combat the epidemic of invasive species in our waters.”

Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River executive director stated, “We are very pleased to have our Congresswoman speak to attendees at our 27th conference. Rep. Stefanik has, in a very short time, become a knowledgeable and thoughtful supporter of policies that are important to the health of the St. Lawrence River and the communities that rely on it. Speaking to this very informed and engaged audience will be an excellent way to continue the very productive dialogue she has with the River community.”

Ms. Stefanik was first elected to Congress in 2014 and is a Member of the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. She was elected by her freshman peers in the 114th Congress to serve as the freshman representative to the Policy Committee. In the fall she joined with several of her colleagues backing a resolution acknowledging climate change as a threat that should be combated.

Other speakers at Save The River’s conference will address the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014 to reverse the harm caused by the current water levels plan for the River, Montreal’s sewage dump this past fall, possible transport of crude oil on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, plastic pollution in our waterways, and the need for constitutional guarantees for clean water and air in the New York State constitution.

Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference is open to the public. Registration is $50 and includes coffee, lunch and a cocktail reception with light hor d’oevres.  Anyone interested in attending can RSVP by Friday, January 29th by calling (315) 686-2010 or by downloading and submitting the registration form.

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Save The River Honors Its Exceptional Volunteers

August 7th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.
While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.
This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their faculty advisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauber and Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.
This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.
With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.
Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

IMG_0443

Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.

While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.

This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their facultyadvisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauberand Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.

This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.

With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.

Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

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