By Isabella Colello, ABC 50 on September 14, 2022
ORLEANS, N.Y. (WWTI) — Conservation groups were hard at work on Monday cleaning up a shoreline on the St. Lawrence River.
This included the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Save The River, who worked in Blind Bay near Fishers Landing to remove garbage.
Blind Bay, poses ecological significance, according to TILT. Due to its shallow waters, the area is considered a historic spawning area for muskellunge, one of the few left on the St. Lawrence River.
However, this past winter, U.S. Customs and Border Protection disclosed its interest in evaluating the property to house a 48,000-square-foot Border Patrol facility. This brought more attention to the muskie “sanctuary.”
“The construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed USCBP facility pose adverse ecological impacts to Blind Bay and the greater Thousand Islands area,” TILT Executive Director Jake Tibbles said in a press release. “The proposed USCBP facility would significantly damage the Bay’s shallow ecosystem and would have lasting impacts that reach far beyond its boundaries.”
Following community pushback, TILT was able to acquire 295 feet of undeveloped waterfront and adjacent 20 acres of upload in Blind Bay.
Conservation efforts were kept alive again through the cleanup on September 15. The organizations used the structure of Save The River’s Trash Free River program. Teams used kayaks, tall rubber boots, nets and trash grabbers to remove many five-gallon buckets.
“The essential conservation and stewardship of Blind Bay,” STR Executive Director John Peach, stated “Working together to protect the historic muskie spawning area of Blind Bay, Save The River and TILT have provided a powerful example of how two environmental organizations can collaborate to preserve important parts of the River for future generations. Blind Bay is an environmental treasure that is directly linked to the fish, birds, reptiles and other species that are vital to the health of the River.”
Findings included metal pipes, a tire, construction debris, beverage cans, Polystyrene fragments, an Adirondack chair and single-use plastics.