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New York Lawmakers, Business Leaders, Environmentalists, Sportsmen & Residents Celebrate Final Adoption of Plan 2014

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New York Lawmakers, Business Leaders, Environmentalists, Sportsmen & Residents Celebrate Final Adoption of Plan 2014

Bi-National Plan Will Restore 64,000 Acres of Wetlands, Boosting Local Economy and Environment

ALBANY, NY — Policymakers, elected officials, business leaders, environmentalists and local leaders today applauded the decision of the governments of the United States and Canada to adopt Plan 2014, a bold plan to reverse 50 years of manmade damage to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The plan was formally adopted yesterday by the International Joint Commission (IJC), a bi-lateral entity that regulates the boundary waters separating the United States and Canada, after decades of study and with the vocal support of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

 “Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are two critically important water resources to our economy and culture in Northern New York,” said Rep. Paul Tonko. Plan 2014 will not only protect these ecosystems, it will also improve commercial shipping, expand recreation and tourism, and it will enhance hydropower production as a source of clean energy. I look forward to continuing my work with my colleagues in the New York Congressional delegation to ensure this critical program is implemented swiftly and effectively.”

 “The shipping industry is ecstatic about the new Plan,” said Kirk Jones, President of the Canadian Shipowners Association and Vice President for Government & Industry Affairs at Canada Steamship Lines.  “It’s an all-around winner for both the environment and economy of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.  Shipping is a major economic engine in the Great Lakes, and operating sustainably is important to all of us in the shipping industry.”

 “Today we say goodbye to the antiquated plan from last century, and welcome a modern, balanced plan that will provide immense benefits to the health of the lake and river and the people that depend upon them,” said Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “Plan 2014 is a historic achievement that will provide unparalleled environmental and economic benefits to the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River watershed. We applaud the U.S. and Canadian governments for seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore the health of our lake and river.”

 “The approval of this plan is great news for the north country and helps balance the need to generate power with protecting the environment, which is closely tied to the tourism industry and recreational boating opportunities that are so important to our region’s economy,” said Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell in a statement to the media.

 “The sportsmen  and women of the New York State Conservation Council see Plan 2014 as a big step toward sound environmental management.  Plan 2014 balances the needs of all interests and restores 64,000 acres of wetlands, creating valuable opportunities for more outdoor recreation for the citizens of New York, with important economic benefits,” said Charles Parker, President of the New York State Conservation Council, which represents hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers throughout New York.

 “Plan 2014 is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to secure the future of one of our Great Lakes, and a shining example of what is possible when we work together and across borders to find common ground. TNC Canada applauds the governments of Canada and the United States for supporting a solution that is a win for nature and our economies. And we are proud of our global affiliate, The Nature Conservancy, for playing a leading role and seeing Plan 2014 through to fruition,” said Hadley Archer, TNC Canada’s Executive Director.

 “New Yorkers, especially outdoor sportspeople, have a rich history of stewardship of the natural environment,” said David Simmons, President of the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.  “Along with all the benefits we receive — clean drinking water, food, fresh air, and recreational opportunities, to name a few — comes a great responsibility to protect what we’ve inherited and preserve and enhance it for future generations. Rarely does an opportunity like Plan 2014 come along to make such a significant change that will benefit so many people and the environment.”

“Plan 2014 offers an optimal solution to many water-based issues surrounding Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. This plan will ensure the growth of healthy, productive wetlands critical for waterfowl and a multitude of other species,” said Mark Gloutney, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Eastern Region.

 “These crucial habitats benefit more than just waterfowl. Healthy waterways support wildlife and people in both Canada and the United States,” said David Brakhage, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region.

 “The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is proud to be an environmental advocate and a governmental partner who has continually supported the implementation of Plan 2014. Protecting and restoring our territory’s ecosystem damaged by more than 50 years of regulated water levels on our shorelines, wetlands, fish and wildlife has always been a priority.” said Chief Eric Thompson, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in a statement for the media. “As a result, we welcome the immediate implementation of Plan 2014 and will continue to voice the ongoing need to safeguard the well-being and long-term health of the St. Lawrence River. We are pleased that Plan 2014 will help prevent any further degradation to more than 64,000 acres of river shoreline by restoring the natural level and flow to the St. Lawrence.”

“Today is the day the St. Lawrence River starts recovering,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers in a statement for the media. “The approval of the IJC’s Plan 2014 by the Obama Administration will result in a healthier river and wetlands along with increased hydropower production at the Moses-Saunders dam. This is a win-win for all.”

“I cannot overstate the importance of today’s announcement. Enactment of Plan 2014 is the most significant environmental and economic advancement the St. Lawrence River has seen in over 50 years,” said Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director of Save The River in a statement for the media. “While Save The River has worked consistently on the issue for decades, this could not have been accomplished without the thousands of groups, businesses, governments, elected officials and citizens that demanded real change and action. I commend the US and Canadian governments and am proud of the role Save The River played in seeing Plan 2014 enacted.”

Plan 2014 was supported by a broad coalition of bi-partisan lawmakers, businesses, environmental and conservation organizations, local governments, outdoor sporting interests, editorial boards and more than 36,000 individuals. Negotiated over the course of more than 15 years, and taking into account the input of experts, scientists and local communities, the plan offers the best chance to reverse damage to the Lake Ontario ecosystem while protecting the interests of stakeholders along hundreds of miles of shoreline.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.