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St. Lawrence declared "endangered river"

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The St. Lawrence is one of the ten most endangered rivers in the United States, according to a national environmental group. The list by American Rivers highlights ten rivers facing decisions in the coming year that could determine their future. The St. Lawrence made the list after a binational commission issued a new plan for controlling water levels on the River and Lake Ontario last month. The International Joint Commission balked at choosing a more environmentally-friendly plan, which was the preferred alternative in the North Country. Instead, it selected a water levels plan very similar to the original one developed 50 years ago. It aims to reduce the natural highs and lows of the River. The IJC says it's obligated by treaty to protect properties along the southern shore of Lake Ontario from erosion. The IJC is holding hearings over the summer. Environmentalists and state lawmakers are trying to get the commissioners to change their minds. In a press release, Congressman John McHugh says the "endangered river" designation should "spur action" to put pressure on the IJC. New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a statement that the IJC is poised to "botch a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return more natural flows" to the St. Lawrence. Jennifer Caddick directs Save the River, based in Clayton. She told David Sommerstein the St. Lawrence River is at a crossroads.

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