FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2016
Media Inquiries: Loren Riegelhaupt, (917) 921.1850, email@example.com
Implementation of Plan 2014 Will Restore 64,000 Acres of Wetlands in Lake Ontario & St. Lawrence River Watershed, Support Job Creation and Spur Upstate Economic Development
Balanced Plan Pumps Nearly $12 Million Annually into New York Economy
ALBANY, NY — A broad coalition of New York businesses, conservation groups, lawmakers, hunters, anglers, property owners and residents today applauded the governments of the United States and Canada for their decision to finalize Plan 2014, a new water management plan that will help reverse 50 years of man-made damage to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River watersheds.
This plan — which was initiated by the Bush Administration in 2001 and developed over more than 15 years with wide bipartisan support, scientific research and community input — will result in more natural water management for the lake and river. As a result, damaged natural habitats along hundreds of miles of shoreline will be restored, and New York’s economy will benefit by nearly $12 million through new hydroelectric production, outdoor recreation and tourism.
The new plan was formally adopted this week by the International Joint Commission (IJC), a bi-national entity created by treaty to manage the boundary waters between the United States and Canada. The IJC recommended the new plan for action by the United States and Canada in the summer of 2014, and since that time it has been under review by the respective governments.
Plan 2014 represents the largest wetlands restoration effort in the United States outside of the Florida Everglades, and taps the forces of nature to restore 64,000 acres — 100 square miles — of valuable wetlands. The product of decades of research, analysis and public input, the plan balances the needs of shoreline property owners, the environment, the shipping industry, tourists, sportsmen, businesses and more, ensuring every stakeholder will see benefits from this historic achievement.
Plan 2014 received unprecedented bipartisan support, including that of more than 50 outdoor and environmental organizations, 23 New York towns and counties, dozens of businesses and over 36,000 individuals, alongside international policymakers and elected officials.
“By moving forward with Plan 2014, the U.S. and Canada are leveraging the power of nature to restore important wetlands that provide benefits to local communities and businesses,” said Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “This decision is a great example of how a comprehensive and balanced approach that respects the needs of all stakeholders can improve the well-being of both people and nature.”
“Plan 2014 is the greatest opportunity in a lifetime to secure the future of one of our Great Lakes, and the governments of United States and Canada have wisely seized this opportunity to use nature to undo 50 years of damage to some of our most valuable natural treasures. Without costing taxpayers a cent, Plan 2014 promises millions in additional annual economic activity for Upstate New York,” said Stuart F. Gruskin, The Nature Conservancy’s Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer in New York.
“Plan 2014 is critical to our local economic growth in addition to good environmental policy, and I applaud this important decision,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “Better regulating the water levels of the St. Lawrence will ensure that users — from boaters to commercial fisherman — can continue to enjoy the river. Lowering the impact of invasive species will ensure that outdoor recreationalists can enjoy the river for decades to come. Additionally, The Nature Conservancy estimates that Plan 2014 will result in an increase of $12 million in economic value for New York, and it has strong support from businesses and Chambers of Commerce across our region.
“In the North Country, we are fortunate to be surrounded by many ecological treasures. Protecting these gems for future generations is a job I take very seriously. I thank Save the River and the entire river community for their important work on this issue.”
Jim Howe, Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Central and Western New York Chapter, added: “Plan 2014 will protect and preserve some of Upstate New York’s greatest assets — Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and hundreds of miles of shoreline. We are grateful for this international, bi-partisan decision to revitalize our environment and enhance the quality of life for all the people who live along the lake and river.”
“The waters of the Great Lakes and Lake Ontario are central to our region’s prosperity,” said Mark Shriver, President of the Western New York Sustainable Business Council. “Plan 2014’s balanced approach restores the health of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, while respecting all the interests that depend on water levels.”
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.