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Save The River Appoints New Outreach Coordinator, First Focus Promoting Catch and Release Program

April 15th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Save The River announced today that Lindsey Leve has joined the staff as its Outreach Coordinator to promote their growing educational and advocacy programs.Leve Photo

Lindsey brings extensive experience and background promoting programs and events for various not-for-profit organizations. She was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. She has spent every summer in the Thousand Islands on the River with her family and is very familiar with the area. Currently she is a summer resident of Wintergreen Island and a winter resident of Fisher’s Landing.

Executive Director Lee Willbanks said, “We are extremely pleased to have Lindsey join the staff. She will be using her knowledge and enthusiasm for the River community to promote Save The River’s Catch and Release programs and volunteer outreach. The timing couldn’t be better as we are finally seeing the ice leave and everyone is getting ready to be on the water.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of an organization that has played such an important part in protecting the River. And I’m really looking forward to being in at the beginning as the Catch and Release program expands from Muskies to Bass and other species,” stated Ms. Leve.

In 2013 Save The River began the effort to expand it’s successful Muskellunge Catch and Release program to include bass as part of the continuing effort to improve the quality of the St. Lawrence River fishery and to ensure a healthy, sustainable aquatic and economic resource.

Since 1987 more than 1,000 muskies have been caught and released. In addition to muskies, the Thousand Islands section of the River has traditionally supported one of the best bass fisheries in New York State. Historically, this fishery has been a major factor in the growth of tourism on the River.  However, today the River environment is far different from what early tourists experienced 100 years ago.

Catch and release fishing has become a globally accepted and duplicated practice to ensure plentiful game fish populations. Releasing a greater proportion of bass caught by anglers is one approach that can be used to reduce the mortality of adult fish and allow more bass to survive. The bass population in the River will benefit if anglers restrict their take of fish to only that which they will consume that day while releasing the rest.

Save The River believes a successful catch and release program, with significant numbers of anglers participating, will result in a more sustainable and larger number of adult bass in the River. Improving the quality of the River’s fisheries is good economic and tourism policy as well as an appropriate fishery management strategy.

After all according to Lindsey, “a bass is too valuable to catch only once.”

Save The River to Army Corps, “Physically Separate the Great Lakes & Mississippi River”

March 31st, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Save The River joined thousands of citizens and hundreds of organizations in urging the Army Corps to move forward with the work necessary to physically separate the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River as the only viable alternative to stop Bighead and Silver carp from entering the Great Lakes and eventually the St. Lawrence River.

The letter, the full text of which can be read here, states, “Although obvious, it bears stating that if water does not flow between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River watersheds, aquatic plants, animals and diseases will not be able to migrate actively or passively between them.”

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ACTION NEEDED – Keep Asian Carp Out of the St. Lawrence River!

March 26th, 2014 | Posted by Lee
Tell the Army Corps of Engineers physical separation is the only way to
keep Asian Carp out of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.

The Corps is accepting comments until Monday, March 31st, on its ”Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study” (GLMRIS). The study asian-carp_face2identified 8 alternative methods to help control Asian Carp and other aquatic nuisance species (ANS). The study makes it clear that the only way to protect the River and the Great Lakes is to install a physical barrier.

The St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes are national treasures, supporting a $7 billion fishing industry, $16 billion boating industry, and 1.5 million jobs. The introduction of Asian Carp and other species will put the well-being of our communities, wildlife, and waters at risk.

Tell the Corps this cannot be allowed to happen!

Find sample language below to submit comments directly to the Corps.

Doing nothing (or just more of the same) will cost far more than building the barrier and carrying out intermittent steps in the meantime. Once Asian Carp are in the River and Great Lakes it will cost us all hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year to health, commerce, recreation, and the environment.

We need Army Corps to act now to protect the River and Great Lakes.

Thank you for your help!


Sample Language. Just copy and paste into the email form (of course personalizing your message will give it more impact):

·         The Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study illustrates that physical separation is the most effective means of preventing the transfer of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin. The threat of these invaders poses a catastrophic risk to people, wildlife, and our economies.

·         We need to move from studying separation to planning it.

·         We must prevent an ecological catastrophe that could inflict huge damage on the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi River basin – the establishment of Asian carp and other harmful nuisance species

·         Invasive species threaten a $7 billion fishing industry in the Great Lakes, a $16 billion boating industry, and 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages.

·         $12 million is spent annually on operation and maintenance of electric barriers that studies continue to show are flawed and ineffective.

·         Preventing further transfer between the basins is a shared responsibility that should include federal state, local and private sector investment and leadership. Separation must be a product of collaboration between local leaders and partners across the region.

·         The health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, as well as the communities and jobs they support are worth it. We cannot put a price tag on these resources.

Of course you can mail your comments to th Corps also at:

US Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District
231 S. LaSalle St. Suite 1500
ATTN: GLMRIS Comments, Dave Wethington
Chicago, IL 60604

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Announcement of Spring Icebreaking Operations Along the St. Lawrence River

March 19th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

We received the following from the Canadian Coast Guard

Please pay attention to the announced dates of icebreaking activities and be very mindful of conditions when on the ice.

Notice of Public Interest

Spring Icebreaking Operations Along the St. Lawrence Seaway

MONTREAL, Quebec – The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is working closely with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in planning the Spring 2014 icebreaking operations in both the Seaway and on the Great Lakes.

The Canadian Coast Guard, in partnership with the United States Coast Guard and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), is advising residents and visitors near the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway that annual spring icebreaking operations will begin on or around March 21, 2014.

  • The Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Martha L. Black, icebreaker, will enter the Seaway via the St. Lambert Locks (Quebec) on March 21 and make its way up the St. Lawrence River.

  • The CCGS Martha L. Black will be icebreaking in the Brockville (Ontario) area on or about March 22-23 and will proceed to Lake Ontario, where it will then assist with harbour breakouts in Picton NGCC_MARTHA_L._BLACK_au_port_de_Rimouski(Ontario) and Bath (Ontario). Once these harbours have been opened, the CCGS Martha L. Black will return downriver to assist with shipping in anticipation of the official opening of the Seaway, currently scheduled for March 31, 2014.

  • The CCGS Pierre Radisson will enter the Seaway on March 24, making its way to the Great Lakes to provide additional icebreaking capacity to the area.

The CCG strongly recommends that fishermen and snowmobilers and other recreational users leave the ice immediately if they see an icebreaker in the vicinity. The ice may move or break apart even at a significant distance, creating a hazard for anyone in the area of an icebreaker. All personal property, temporary structures and recreational equipment, should also be moved to shore well before these dates.

All dates and routes are subject to change with little or no notice due to operational requirements or sudden and significant changes to weather and ice conditions.

The 2013-2014 winter has produced unusually heavy and persistent ice conditions throughout the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Canadian Coast Guard crews and icebreakers have been working hard to provide icebreaking services during such a challenging time.

Public service announcements made prior to impending icebreaker and shipping activity are issued for the safety of all ice surface users, who can expect disrupted and unstable ice conditions related to icebreaking and shipping operations.

Quick Facts

  • Icebreaking operations and shipping traffic create fragmented ice or open water that may be: difficult to see from afar; may be obscured by newly fallen snow; may not refreeze immediately and may be further weakened due to changes in weather.

  • Icebreaking creates locally unstable ice conditions or open water that may persist long after ships have left the area.

  • All ice near icebreaking operations and shipping activity should be considered unsafe.

  • Canadian Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard assets in the Great Lakes are working hard together to maintain or open routes for maritime commerce, despite extreme and persistent ice conditions on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.


Rachelle Smith

Communications Manager

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Canadian Coast Guard

Central and Arctic Region

(204) 983-4197


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Seaway Opening Delayed to March 31.

March 18th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Seaway Notice 8

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Respect the Conditions on the River, Delay the Seaway Opening

March 17th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

2014-03-17 Seaway Opening Ltr

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Save The River Urges State to Not Weaken Water Quality Monitoring

March 14th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Save The River joined individuals and organizations across the State today and submitted comments urging the Department of Environmental Conservation to maintain its water quality monitoring of the state’s waters and the St. Lawrence River on a 5 year schedule, not the 10 years it has proposed. It also urged the DEC to resume monitoring for a range of disease causing pollutants that it recently and quietly stopped.

Save The River’s comments can be read here: 2014-03-14 STR Comment Ltr on NYS DEC CALM Proposal

Some notable comments from around the St. Lawrence River basin:

I am a year-round resident of an island in the St. Lawrence River. Water quality is an issue to me every day. Testing it once every ten years and then using that one set of data to decide issues for the ensuing ten years is useless, in my view. We sample the water weekly during the summer months, and it is tested by Save the River. I would think that you might utilize that data and therefore have more data to support water quality decisions. In any event, saving money by not monitoring our most valuable resource, is foolish economy. You can do better than that. Thanks for your consideration. - RL Withington, MD

As a proponent of clean rivers and a woman who has worked for this for many years–now being 88–please do not let water pollution increase. Keep and improve the standards–my grandchildren depend on you!! - Ann B. Ward

I am concerned about the presence of pollutants in our waterbodies and rely on DEC to test for all the pollutants that impact the health of our waterways. . . Without regular testing and reporting on pathogens/sewage-contamination, public health is put at risk and the sources of pollution are left undetected. . . Like so many New Yorkers, I consider clean water one of our most valuable resources. Please invest our clean water dollars in a robust water quality monitoring and assessment program that conducts regular and thorough testing of our waterways and utilizes all reliable sources of water quality data. – S. Jeffrey Burt

It is a moral crime and a disservice to our citizenry to reduce water quality testing in NY State at a time when it’s waters are under increased threat due to fertilizer run-off from farming and waste run-off from CAFOs -both producing algae blooms that are killing fish and wildlife.  All this at a time when our watershed will be increasingly exposed to the potential of spills from the tar sands crude oil proposed to pass through the watershed via rail, ship and pipeline.  With fracking and other dangers, the list is endless. To stop monitoring water quality amounts to NY State shirking it responsibility.  Sticking its head in the sand.  It will lead to exposing our environment and populace to dangerous hazards. It would be a disgrace. – Steve Taylor

And perhaps our favorite:

Have you lost your mind?  We need a more robust water testing and assessment of our New York State water ways not a lesser one!!Beatrice Schermerhorn

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2014 Summer Internship Positions Available

March 12th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

Interested in working at Save The River this summer?  We are looking for qualified candidates to work at Save The River this summer from mid May through Labor Day.  We are currently accepting applications and interviews will begin in early April.   Resumes can be sent to Kate Breheny, Program Manager at Kate@saSara  Photo: Sara Orvis, 2012 Summer intern collects water samples for the Beach Watch program.

Categories: Blog, Homepage, Jobs, Staff, Uncategorized Tags: ,
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February 23-28 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week

February 26th, 2014 | Posted by Lee

Aquatic invasive species are one of the most critical problems facing the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. With 186 species introduced into the River and Lakes, the region’s ecosystem is bending under the weight of these

Bloody Red Shrimp

Bloody Red Shrimp

introduced species. Some scientists worry that the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River may be close to collapse because of these species.

The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year.

To learn about invasive species in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River click here.

Help Prevent the Spread

Many aquatic invasives are transported from one lake or river system to another by hitchhiking on boats, boat trailers, barges, seaplanes and other aquatic equipment. They attach to boat hulls, engines, anchors, and other submerged equipment, as well as to plant material that may get caught on boats and trailers. They are also carried in boat bilge water, live wells, bait buckets, and SCUBA gear.

By taking a few precautionary steps after boating and fishing, people living along or visiting the shoreline can prevent the spread of invasives.

·      Inspect boat and trailer carefully for mussels and aquatic vegetation and discard them in the trash.

·      Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location.

·      Drain all water from the boat, including the bilge, live well and engine cooling system.

·      Dry the boat and trailer in the sun for at least five days, or if you use your boat sooner, rinse off the boat, trailer, anchor, anchor line, bumpers, and engine with hot water or at a car wash.

·      Leave live aquatic bait behind – either give it to someone using the same waterbody, or discard it in the trash.

·      Cottagers, homeowners and businesses who draw water directly from a zebra mussel infested waterbody will need to protect their system from infestation.

·      Avoid dumping aquariums into waterways.

·      Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.”

·      Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.

·      Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. (In New York click here, for a state-by-state list of contacts click here.)

·      Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.

·      Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.

Additional Ways You Can Help

Asian Carp

Asian Carp

·      Go to the Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study website and add your support for physical separation to prevent Asian Carp from invading the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins.

·      Let your Senator know that you support Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s bill, the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, to bring federal invasive species regulation and control into the 21st century.

To learn more about aquatic invasive species and Save The River’s campaign to stop further introductions, visit our Clean Up the Ballast page.

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2014 Run for the River 5K/10K Registration is now open!

February 24th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

Registration is now open!  Save The River’s Run for the River 5K/10K will be held on Saturday, July 26th! Each year this fun event raises several thousand dollars for our River protection programs.

The fast and flat course winds through downtown Clayton and along the waterfront.   Once again we’re excited to welcome back Yellow Jacket Racing to provide professional timing for the race.  Runners and walkers are welcome to participate in this event for all ages and abilities.

Event Details

Date: Saturday, July 26, 2014

Times: Registration begins at Frink Park @ 7:30 a.m. Race begins promptly at 9 a.m.

Location: Registration and race start @ Frink Park, downtown Clayton


Pre-register On-line - Visit,  search for Save The River, and follow instructions to register on line.  On-line registration is available now and is subject to additional online registration fees or download this year’s Registration brochure 2014.    New this year! Pre-registration packet pick up will take place Thursday, July, 24 and on Friday, July 25 from 12 – 4pm at the Save The River Office, 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton.

Race Day registration - Register on the day of the race.  Registration begins at 7:30 am and ends at 8:45 am.  For the safety of all participants no Jogging Strollers or Dogs are permitted on the race course.

5K  $25 (Early Registration – by 7/1 Includes Race T-shirt)   $30 (Regular Registration)

10K  $30 (Early Registration – by 7/1 Includes Race T-shirt)   $35 (Regular Registration)

Save The River members receive $5 off.

Awards will be given for top male and female runners in each age category.

Event timed by Yellow Jacket Racing.

Volunteers Needed! Contact Bridget Wright at (315) 686-2010 for opportunities.  Family and friends of run participants are encouraged to volunteer!

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Clayton, NY 13624

p: (315) 686-2010

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