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Critical Piece of Equipment Lost – Replacement Essential to Effort to Ban Microplastics

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Microplastics researcher Dr. Sherri Mason, a speaker at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference earlier this year, has had an equipment loss that cripples her ability to conduct much needed research on microplastics in the Great Lake and the St. Lawrence River. Her research into this emerging threat has proven pivotal in the basin-wide effort to ban these tiny, toxin accumulating ingredients used in many personal care products.

Dr. Mason and Save The River need your assistance to keep the effort to understand and eliminate the threat of microplastics afloat.

Manta Trawl

Dr. Mason’s microplastic samples are taken using a net called a Manta Trawl. These nets are specially designed to float on the surface of the water, where the majority of the plastics accumulate. Unfortunately, as part of a recent shipboard science expedition, her manta trawl met with an untimely demise. It was sucked under the ship where it became tangled in the motor wheel and sank to the bottom of the Lake Erie.

Dr. Mason and her team cannot continue their ground-breaking work without a manta trawl. Save The River and many other organizations, including the New York State Attorney General, rely on her research in our efforts to ban microplastics.

Her first trawl was purchased in 2012 as part of the first-ever expedition for plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Over the past three summers it has collected samples in all five of the Great Lakes, as well as the St. Lawrence River. These samples have shown that plastic pollution in Lakes Erie, Ontario and the St. Lawrence River have some of the highest counts of any place in the world sampled to-date – including the oceans.

Understanding the extent and impact of microplastic pollution and enacting effective bans requires scientific research, and diligent, focused advocacy based on that research.

Save The River is asking for your help to replace Dr. Mason’s Manta Trawl and to ban microplastics from our Lakes and River.

Please make a donation today so Dr. Mason can replace this critical piece of equipment. Each Trawl is made on demand at a cost of $3,500. That is our goal, with any additional money raised to be used in our efforts to secure a basin-wide ban of these harmful products.

Clich here to help buy Dr. Mason a new manta trawl.2014-07-22 Microbeads at Potters Beachsmall

More about Dr. Mason’s work:

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

More about our effort to ban microplastics:

ACTION NEEDED – Tell Your State Senator: Get Plastic Microbeads Out of Our Waters!

Save The River Calls for Ban on Microbeads

Push to Protect Waterways from Microplastics Continues

Thank you for your help in keeping this important research afloat and keeping the equally import effort to ban microplastics alive.

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55th Anniversary of the Seaway Opening

June 26th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsey

Seaway Opening

JUNE 26, 1959: The Queen opened the 2,300-mile St Lawrence Seaway on this day in 1959. A lot has changed since then, but our water levels plan has not. Let’s hope this is the last anniversary with the outdated, destructive plan in place.

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Agenda set for 25th Annual Winter Environmental Conference, Saturday, February 8, 2014

January 20th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

For 25 years, Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference has brought together policy makers, scientists, elected officials and citizens to discuss the most critical issues facing the River.  This year we are pleased to announce a diverse agenda highlighting topics on important policy issues , emerging sciences and exciting programs that focus on the  health of  the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.

Morning Presentations: (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

The Seaway – Environmentally Friendly, Economically Important. Betty Sutton, Tenth Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

The Seaway as Gatekeeper – Managing Ballast Water. Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

The Great Lakes Environmental Assessment Mapping Project. Greg Boyer, Ph.D. Department of Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

The Great Lakes: Solutions for 21st Century Economic and Environmental Challenges. Stu Gruskin, Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer, The Nature Conservancy New York

Lunch (12:00 noon) Featuring a special artistic preview of Louis Helbig’s upcoming Sunken Villages exhibition.

Keynote Address

  • The Great River Needs Great Friends, Protecting the St Lawrence Forever. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of The Blue Planet Project

Afternoon Presentations: (2:00 – 4:30 pm)

The Perils of Plastics: Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Survey. Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Professor of Chemistry, SUNY Fredonia

Lake Sturgeon: The Once and Future King. Rodger Klindt, Aquatic Biologist, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Lake Ontario Education & Research Aboard the Lake Guardian. Helen Domske, Sr. Extension Specialist, New York Sea Grant, Cornell University

Save The River In the Schools. Kathy Morris, Education Consultant with Save The River’s In the Schools

Cocktail Reception & Silent Auction (4:30 – 6:00 pm)

  • Book Signing with Maude Barlow
  • Meet the speakers and learn more about their projects and programs.
  • Bid on wonderful River inspired art, literature, events, adventures and gear.

To register:

Open to the Public.  Conference Registration is $40 and includes coffee, lunch and a cocktail reception with light hor d’oevres by Bella’s.  Please RSVP by calling (315) 686-2010 or downloading and returning the reservation form.

Conference will be held at the Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY 13624.

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Looking for Winter Conference Lodging?

January 16th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

Save The River’s annual Winter Environmental Conference will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Clayton Opera House. For those of you joining us from out of town we have compiled a list of local area accommodations that will be available during that weekend:

Islander Marina & LodgeIslander Marina & Lodge
Discounted off-season rates
500 Theresa Street, Clayton, NY
(315) 686-5574

Thank you Islander Marina & Lodge for being a Winter Environmental Conference Sponsor!

Angel Rock Cottages
34311 St. Rte 12E, Cape Vincent, NY
(315) 654-2495

Bertrands’s Motel
229 James Street, Clayton, NY
(315) 686-3641

North Star Motel & Restaurant
Alexandria Bay, NY
(315) 482-9332

Riveredge Resort
17 Holland St., Alexandria Bay, NY

Additional lodging options may be found via the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

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Are you attending the Winter Environmental Conference? Then plan your weekend with other River events

January 16th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

Save The River’s annual Winter Environmental Conference isn’t the only event happening in Clayton the weekend of February 8th. While you are here for the Conference also check out these other area events to complete your winter weekend get-a-way.

Friday, February 7th,  5:00 – 7:00 pm

The Thousand Islands Arts Center will host  an opening reception for the Art of Winter Exhibition and the unveiling of the Handweaving Museum Display on Friday, February 7th, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. TIAC

The Art of Winter is a multi-media exhibition that displays artwork from regional artists of all ages and talents who have been inspired by the North Country’s cold weather months. The Handweaving Museum Display will house beautiful handwoven textiles from the Art Center’s permanent collection and will feature pieces from notable North American weavers, antique weaving tools, and informative displays that illustrate the basics and history of weaving.  The event is free, a wide selection of artwork is for sale, and light refreshments will be served. To learn more about the exhibition, display, and/or the Thousand Islands Arts Center, visit

Sunday, February 9th, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

The Thousand Islands Land Trust will host an Eagle Watch Trek at Wellesley Island’s Thousand Islands Park on Sunday, February 9th from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Join the Thousand Islands Land Trust as ornithologist Gerry Smith leads this unique bird watching opportunity. Bald Eagles often huntTILT around the waters off T.I. Park, so we will meet in the parking lot next to The Guzzle with hopes of seeing some of these majestic birds. Please dress warmly and wear appropriate footwear. Don’t forget your binoculars! Light refreshments will be served. Please register in advance by emailing, by calling the TILT office at 686-5345, or by signing up on the website,

For other events and activities happening in the area, check out the Clayton Chamber of Commerce or the Thousand Islands Tourism Council.

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Save The River’s Winter Raffle!

January 15th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

This winter Save The River is raffling off a beautiful Common Goldeneye that was hand-carved and painted by Glenn Sweet of Alexandria Bay.  Glenn is a 3rd generation waterfowl carver who has been carving for 40 years and created this piece from locally sourced pine and acrylic paint. Thank you Glenn for your generous donation!

Raffle for web

Click Here to get to a printable entry form. Just fill out all the contact information and return it with your payment to:

Save The River
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

We will fill out the tickets so you too can be entered to win this exclusive, hand carved Common Goldeneye and support Save The River.

Drawing to be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Winter Environmental Conference.

Good luck and Thank You for Supporting Save The River!

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Maude Barlow, water rights advocate, keynote at Winter Conference

January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Kate

BarlowMaude Barlow, internationally renowned activist, author and advocate of the principle that water must be held as a public trust, will be the keynote speaker at Save The River’s 25th annual Winter Environmental Conference.

Ms. Barlow, is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, founder of The Blue Planet Project, a founding member of the International Forum on Globalization, and a Councilor with the World Future Council.

Regarding the Great Lakes, The Blue Planet Project website states, “In order to protect the waters of the Great Lakes for future generations, we must establish a new narrative that recognizes the lakes a living commons, public trust and protected bioregion.”

In 2005 Ms. Barlow was one of the “1000 Women for Peace” nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received the Right Livelihood Award. She was awarded the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, and in 2009 received the Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environment Achievement Award. That same year she received the prestigious Lannon Cultural Freedom Fellowship, known as the “Alternative Nobel” given by the Swedish Parliament.  In 2011 she received the Earth Care Award, the highest international honor of the Sierra Club. Ms. Barlow is the recipient of 11 honorary doctorates.

In 2008 Ms. Barlow was named the first Advisor on Water to the United Nations where she advised the 63rd President of the General Assembly for two years.

Her passion and concern for the future of water rights is evident in this video: Water – Maude Barlow

Ms. Barlow is the bestselling author or co-author of 16 books, including the international bestsellers Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World’s Water, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water and most recently Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever.

To learn more about the public trust doctrine as it relates to water and Ms. Barlow’s contributions visit

Conference registration:

Registration is open until January 31, 2014

To register call 315-686-2010 or download the invitation, fill out your information and mail to Save The River: 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY 13624

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Speakers announced for the 2014 Winter Environmental Conference

December 10th, 2013 | Posted by Kate

2014 Winter Environmental Conference banner

The 25th Annual Winter Environmental Conference will be held Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Clayton Opera House, Clayton, New York. Each year the conference provides attendees the opportunity to hear from and engage with knowledgeable and recognized speakers about topics of significance to the health of the St. Lawrence River.

The upcoming anniversary conference will feature two women with unique and critical perspectives on the current and future uses and protection of the River.

Maude Barlow, is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of The Blue Planet Project. She is the recipient of numerous environmental awards and has served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Ms. Barlow is the author of the international bestseller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water and, more recently Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever, considered a call to action to create a water-secure world.

Betty Sutton, is the tenth Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Since being sworn in August 2013, Administrator Sutton has traveled the length of the Seaway meeting with a range of stakeholders. She has spoken frequently about the need to balance the economic interests of the shippers, industries and ports who use the Seaway with the environmental impact of those uses on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.

Additional speakers will update attendees on emerging science about water quality issues in the Great Lakes and River, and share news about critical River fisheries and Save The River’s In the Schools program.

Conference Details: (Full Agenda to follow)

9:30 – Registration and morning coffee

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Winter Environmental Conference

4:00 p.m. – Cocktail Reception, cash bar and silent auction

Conference registration:

$40 Registration includes coffee, lunch, and cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres

Registration is open until January 31, 2014

To register call 315-686-2010 or download the invitation, fill out your information and mail to Save The River: 409 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY 13624

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Save The Date! 25th Annual Winter Environmental Conference is Saturday, February 8, 2014

October 31st, 2013 | Posted by Kate

Save The River’s 25th annual Winter Environmental Conference will be held Saturday, February 8th 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.  Stay tuned for more details!

Winter Conference banner

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Save The River’s 24th Annual Winter Conference a Success

February 5th, 2013 | Posted by Kate

In spite of blizzard-like conditions Saturday, over 100 community members, scientists, policy makers, educators and advocates filled the 3rd floor of the Clayton Opera house to hear about the state of the St. Lawrence River. Speakers shared information about invasive species, wetlands and habitat restoration, mercury contamination in common terns, and a program under consideration to expand Save The River’s successful Muskie catch and release program to bass. Area educators also shared personal accounts about Save The River’s In the Schools program.

Conference - small

“To see so many people come from near and far, through challenging conditions to exchange information about the state of the River we all love is very heartening,” stated Lee Willbanks, Executive Director of Save The River. “The information shared at our Winter Conference empowers individuals and decision makers to take actions to preserve and protect the St. Lawrence now and for the future.”

Teddy McNally, Chair of the Save The River Board of Directors said, “We are very pleased to see this kind of turnout for our 24th Winter Conference. It shows the information our presenters are providing continues to be relevant and useful to the River community.”

Attendees included the Honorable David Henderson, Mayor of the City of Brockville, Ontario, and representatives from Senator Ritchie and Congressman Owen’s office, as well as state, local and St. Regis Mohawk Tribal offices.

They heard from JChris Baird - smalleff Garnsey, owner Classic Island Tours, and Clif Schneider, former NYS DEC Conservation Biologist, about the background and justification for an expanded catch and release program. Christina C. Killourhy, a graduate student at SUNY-ESF, presented her research on the impact the round goby has on nesting fish in the River. Yasmeen Smalley, a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, showed her work in progress documenting the aggressive nature of gobies through underwater photography.

Jennifer Nalbone, Director of Navigation and Invasive Species at Great Lakes United, updated the audience on invasive species.  Christopher Baird (seen here on the right),  master’s candidate at Queens University, spoke about his research into mercury contamination in Common Terns on the River . Dr. John Farrell of SUNY-ESF spoke about wetlands restoration success stories. Concluding the day, Kathy Morris and Heather White, both educators, provided compelling stories of the positive impacts on the area’s elementary and high school students of Save The River’s In the Schools Program.

Throughout the room there were exhibits highlighting many of Save The River’s programs and partnerships and showcasing various projects completed by students in the In the Schools program. Of particular note were the papier-mâché replicas of many of the River’s indigenous fish species made by Ron Burris’ seventh grade art class in Sackets Harbor, complete with research notes into habitat and habits of the fish depicted.

Save The River would like to thank the following Sponsors for their generous support:

Conference Sponsor

Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours, Alexandria Bay


Ed Huck Marine, Rockport, Ontario

Islander Marina and Lodge, Clayton

And to the following individuals, artists, organizations and businesses for donating artwork, goods and services to the Silent Auction.

Dark Island Tours

Charles Garlock & Sons

Garnsey’s Classic Island Cruises

Greene Structures

The Ivy Restaurant

Kate McGee

Margot Miller

Fred Munk

Chris Murray Photography

Frank Musto

Northern Marine

Schermerhorn Harbor

St. Lawrence Pottery

Cecilia Thompson

Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund

Thousand Islands Playhouse

Treasure Island

Sherman Ward

White’s Lumber and Hardware

The Winter Conference would not have been a success were it not for the dedicated volunteers who helped before, during and after the event. Save The River thanks the following for their tremendous support:

Brian Breheny
Phyllis Gardne
Julie & Jeff Garnsey
Rick Gregware
Anne Mellon
Kathy Morris
Julia Purcell
Sylvia Shoultes
Sarah Ellen Smith
L.J. White
Dana Willbanks
Andrew Wood.

Save The River staff now turns their attention to the upcoming summer season which will include the 10th annual Rock for the River concert July 6th and the River Day 5K / 10K Run July 27th.

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Clayton, NY 13624

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