By Zach Grady, Channel 7 on September 12, 2022
By Zach Grady
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 3:25 PM EDT
TOWN OF CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) – Getting waist deep in the waters of the St. Lawrence River in an effort to clean up an important muskie breeding ground. We went to Blind Bay to witness the efforts.
“People have been fishing for, eating, and loving the muskie forever,” said John Peach, executive director, Save The River.
A love that had both Save the River and the Thousand Islands Land Trust staff wading through muddy waters Monday morning. The two organizations came together to try to clean up Blind Bay, a key spawning ground for the muskie and more than 50 other native north country species.
“It’s important to get in here and clean this material up. We’re very excited to be able to do this. We haven’t been able to get into this particular bay. This is the first time for us, working with our partner TILT. I think we are going to get a lot of material out of here today,” said Peach.
“It feels really good not only teaming up together and using their tried and true method but seeing what really is here and knowing that we’re getting it out of the water,” said Shannon Walter, education & outreach coordinator, Thousand Islands Land Trust.
TILT Executive Director Jake Tibbles says the partnership benefits both the staff and the St. Lawrence River.
“Everybody’s excited. You’ve got a lot of laughs and camaraderie here between the two organizations. You know, getting out we’re getting our hands dirty for the benefit of the river, the Thousand Islands, and just the greater environment here along the St. Lawrence,” he said.
The two organizations spent the morning removing bottles, cans, dock foam, and other construction debris from both the shoreline and in the bay itself.
“The birds, the fish, the reptiles, the insects that are in here. They can come in here and they’re safe. They breed in here. They migrate in and out. It’s a very important piece of the ecosystem,” said Peach.
Along with being an important part of the St. Lawrence ecosystem, the day of clean-up can be just as important for those getting their hands dirty.
“Growing up my parents made it very clear to me that we needed to respect nature. If we didn’t take care of it, it would not be there for us,” said Walter.