St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund

St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund
Annual Report 2011



The St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund (SLRREF) was established as part of the Comprehensive Relicensing Settlement Agreement (Agreement) which was reached during the licensing of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) in Massena, New York.  The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support for environmental research and environmental education projects relating to the ecology of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding environs.


The fund is managed by a Board which consists of representatives from NYPA, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Save the River, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, St. Lawrence County Planning Office; St. Lawrence Audubon, and a representative from a local municipality.


2011 Activities


The Board met on March 7, 2011 and reviewed seven proposals; three proposals totaling $59,923 were approved and four proposals were rejected.  Total matching funds for the approved proposals were $32,964. 


The total SLRREF funding for the July 1 deadline was approximately $23,700.  Given the small amount of available funding and the limited amount of interest to be accrued by the end of the year, the Board decided not to solicit proposals for the July 1, 2011 deadline.   A press release was issued in November reminding the public of the January 1, 2012 deadline for submitting new applications.


Projects approved in 2011


Clarkson University proposed conducting a comparison of plankton dynamics in near shore and main channel areas of the St. Lawrence River in support of a two-dimensional ecosystem model of plankton community development.  The results will bolster ability to anticipate how changing water levels could affect food web dynamics; will provide a solid base for gaining research support from the National Science Foundation to further this work; and, will prove to Environment Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency the need for monitoring to help understand the base of the aquatic food web in this large river.  SLRREF contribution - $20,000; matching funds - $17,964.


St. Lawrence University proposed to determine the loading of elements and anions to the St. Lawrence River from its tributaries in St. Lawrence County to monitor major tributary chemistry and loading between Ogdensburg and Akwesasne.  This project will provide a dataset designed to monitor major tributary chemistry and loading along this stretch of the river.  SLU students will be trained in aspects of water quality and analysis, providing a dataset for the broader community and stakeholders.  Dataset will also be useful for several courses both at St. Lawrence and at local high schools.  SLRREF contribution - $20,275; matching funds - $15,000.


St. Lawrence University proposed to develop comprehensive assessments of lake ecology and water quality for major lakes in the Northern New York (NNY) watershed of the St. Lawrence River (SLR) and examine whether outflows from these lakes influence the tributary rivers feeding the SLR.  This project will provide watershed managers a better understanding of the environmental health of area lakes and the role they play in shaping the water quality of SLR tributaries; lake association members will develop or expand their roles as environmental scientists and educators will be engaged in active stewardship of the NNY watershed of the SLR.  SLU students will have opportunities for interdisciplinary, experimental learning of regional environmental issues with knowledgeable, multi-perspective citizen scientists.  SLRREF contribution $19,648; matching funds $0.


Financial Review


The SLRREF was established by providing the principal sum of $1,008,000 into an account with Wachovia Bank in 2003 after a new license for the Project was accepted.  The income from this principal amount is to be used to fund the operation of the SLRREF including all expenses, grants and other disbursements.


2011 Expenditures


Approved Projects in 2011                                                             $59,923

Fund Balance as of December 31, 2011                                 $1,094,699

Funds committed                                                                             $46,349*

Uncommitted funds                                                                     $1,048,350


* Reflects funds approved for 2010 and 2011 projects that have not yet been disbursed to the project applicant.


Planned 2012 Expenditures


By January 1, 2012, five proposals were received.  The Board will evaluate these proposals and select the projects to be funded.  Typically, the amount of funding for each project is between $15,000 and $20,000.