Guest post by Brian Smith is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series spotlighting the St. Lawrence River.
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River provide drinking water to several million people, support multi-billion dollar industries, offer unparalleled recreation and fishing opportunities, generate renewable hydroelectric power, and are home to an impressive array of wildlife. Perhaps most importantly, the river and lake enhance the quality of life for everyone in the region. It is no wonder then, that the residents of New York State support modernizing an outdated management plan that is slowly killing the health of the lake and river.
As a grassroots organization working to protect the environment throughout New York State, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) has lead a large-scale public outreach campaign on the issue of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River water level management over the past few years. We conducted direct public outreach in numerous communities along the south shore of Lake Ontario up to the St. Lawrence River.
What did we find when we spoke directly with families across the region about this issue? Whether it was the mother with small children that loves taking trips to the beach on weekends, a recently retired man that spends countless hours on a boat fishing, or the college student that cares passionately about protecting the health of our waters for future generations, we spoke with a broad range of New Yorkers that care passionately about the health of our waters and overwhelming support the adoption of Plan 2014.
Members of the public signed petitions, wrote letters and emails, and made phone calls to key government officials in support of Plan 2014, contributing toward the nearly 23,000 expressions of citizen support that have been generated by CCE and our partners in recent years.
Despite this growing wave of support for Plan 2014, the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada have yet to adopt the plan. U.S. Secretary John Kerry and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion can help restore the health of the lake and river with the simple stroke of a pen. We can’t let up now— they need to know that we can’t wait any longer. We need your help to demand action today!
Brian Smith is the Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE).