© Stevie Adams

1,000 Letters From New Yorkers Delivered to U.S. State Department Urging Immediate Action on Plan 2014

22,500 New Yorkers & Concerned Citizens Have Called for Adoption of Plan 2014

 New York State Conservation Council, Citizens Campaign for the Environment & Healing Our Water-Great Lakes Coalition Call for Immediate Action on Plan 2014

(Albany, NY) – More than 1,000 New Yorkers and a variety of organizations representing tens of thousands of members, have sent the U.S. State Department letters calling for the federal government to immediately adopt Plan 2014. Among the groups that have recently joined with the Support Plan 2014 coalition in calling for State Department action are the New York State Conservation Council (including the Finger Lakes Conservation Council), the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition (HOW), which consists of more than 120 environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums, and museums.

To date, more than 22,500 New Yorkers and concerned citizens have added their names to petitions or have sent letters to various elected officials urging them to support or take immediate action on implementing Plan 2014. 

“As hunters, anglers and trappers we observed an initially reasonable plan evolve that adversely affects the environmental quality of the 64,000 acres of coastal wetlands on the Lake and Upper River as well as a decline in the diversity of plants and animals in these wetlands,” wrote A. Charles Parker, president of the New York State Conservation Council. “Degraded wetlands and coasts significantly decrease opportunities for outdoor recreation and diminish the quality of life for all New Yorkers… Plan 2014 is an excellent compromise, and we strongly urge you to ensure the support of our federal government for implementation of the plan as soon as possible.” 

 “It is long past the time to move beyond a plan developed in the 1950’s and implement a modern management plan for one of New York and the U.S.’s greatest natural resources. Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, New Yorkers, our environment, and our economy deserve a plan that equally considers all the demands and needs of this precious resource. We urge you to champion Plan 2014 and help secure its approval without further delay,” wrote Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “With nearly $2 billion invested in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since 2010, progress to restore the Great Lakes has become a historic accomplishment of the Obama administration. Plan 2014 will build on these accomplishments, and help protect the significant Great Lakes restoration investments that have been completed.”

 Plan 2014 is the greatest opportunity in our lifetime to restore a Great Lake and help shoreline communities, and will naturally restore 64,000 acres of wetlands using $0 taxpayer dollars. Plan 2014 will rebuild shorelines to provide better natural protection from severe floods, and help restore healthy wetlands, which will be better suited to filter water, absorb storm water, and support fish and wildlife that are the foundation of New York’s outdoor recreation and tourism industries. Plan 2014 also lengthens the season for recreational boaters. The old system of management is slowly killing Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River by allowing overgrown cattails to choke out wildlife, impede recreational access, and threaten drinking water supplies.  

Plan 2014 has already received bipartisan support, including that of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren (D), U.S. Representatives Brian Higgins (D), Elise Stefanik (R) and Paul Tonko (D); state Senators Joe Griffo (R) and Patty Ritchie (D); and Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D). To date, Plan 2014 has received more than 22,500 individual expressions of support and numerous local communities and businesses along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence have called for its adoption.  

Shoreline erosion and periodic flooding are already challenges under the current plan – doing nothing is simply not an option. Plan 2014 balances all interests while preventing extreme high and low water levels. It was developed collaboratively with scientists, experts and through local input.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) – a joint U.S. – Canadian agency – has spent more than a decade developing Plan 2014, which would replace the current outdated and harmful management plan put into place more than 50 years ago. Maintaining the current plan does not protect coastal areas from inevitable and powerful storms. Already, natural protection from severe storms has dramatically declined. Meadow marsh ecosystems have been reduced by more than 50%, and populations of fish, birds, and muskrat have drastically decreased, some by more than 70%, enough to warrant placement on the NYS threatened and endangered species list.

For more information about Plan 2014, please visit: www.supportplan2014.org