Riverkeeper: A Model of River Advocacy and a True Champion of the Hudson River

works to protect the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and to safeguard the drinking water of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. The Moore Charitable Foundation and founder Louis Bacon are proud and long-time supporter of Riverkeeper and stand behind its work up the Hudson, and in and around the bays of New York City.

riverkeeper-patrol-1A little history: In 1966, the Hudson River was dying. Treated as essentially an open sewer from Albany to New York City, it had been poisoned and stolen from the public. A group of concerned former marines, commercial fisherman, factory workers and carpenters finally had enough. Stepping up to bring the polluters to task, they formed the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (HRFA). It was a mighty turn of events, and fifty years later, evolved into the form of Riverkeeper, with Paul Gallay as Hudson Riverkeeper, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as Chief Prosecuting Attorney and John Lipscomb as Boat Captain, with many other tireless workers and partners, the organization has become a trusted model of education and action for river advocacy around the world, and the force that turned – and keeps – the Hudson River glorious again.

In 2015, Riverkeeper fulfilled its role as watchdog for the Hudson in many ways, including the following:

  • Holding back oil terminal expansion: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) changed course on a proposed oil terminal expansion in Albany
  • Tappan Zee Bridge/endangered sturgeon: Monitoring and outreach around the massive Tappan Zee Bridge construction project. Riverkeeper made known the dramatic spike in sturgeon deaths reported to New York State coinciding with the bridge project
  • Water quality sampling: Expanded the water quality testing program and took more than 6,200 measures of water quality from 315 locations, including new monitoring projects at Ossining Beach and in the Saw Mill River, and a pilot project in the Mohawk River
  • Biggest shoreline cleanup ever: More than 2,000 volunteers netted 40 tons of trash and planted/maintained trees along Hudson Valley and New York City shorelines during the fourth annual Riverkeeper Sweep on May 9, 2015
  • Improving New York City’s waterways: Attacked stormwater pollution on Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal by systematically targeting industrial operators that lack Clean Water Act permits. Notices of intent to sue led many previously non-compliant operators to obtain permits and adopt best management practices as part of a stormwater pollution prevention plan.

Now – or rather, still, we have Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. In 2015, Riverkeeper concluded two federal and state-level historic hearings in the battle to deny Entergy another 20 year license, spotlighting the plant’s eight mishaps during the year, including a transformer explosion and fire; highlighting its massive incidental killing of over a billion fish per year; and documenting how this security threat to metro New York can be replaced safely and inexpensively while ensuring reliable electric service.

It is up to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, currently examining the inputs, to determine whether the plant’s licenses should be renewed. We strongly encourage readers to click here to learn more about the threats of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to the Hudson River and surrounding residents, to take action in favor of a sustainable energy future, and stand with Riverkeeper. 

In 2001, Louis Bacon, Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and its affiliate foundations was honored to be the 2001 recipient of Riverkeeper’s Environmental Leadership Award. 

A focus on conservation and community efforts in the Bahamas

Shark tagging in the Bahamas. Photo: Andy Mann

Shark tagging in the Bahamas. Photo: Andy Mann

This month, as the temperatures dips, we turn our focus to conservation and hurricane recovery in the Caribbean. From safeguarding marine areas from illegal fishing and development, advancing sustainable conch fisheries, protecting the Nassau grouper, preserving the Clifton Bay area, and rebuilding in the wake of Joaquin, The Moore Charitable Foundation and its Bahamas affiliate, The Moore Bahamas Foundation support community, environmental and education programs and the fragile marine environment of The Bahamas.

Some of the key areas we look forward to exploring in January are:

  • Marine research, Protection and Education. We will be showcasing organizations that advance local marine conservation efforts around The Bahamas, and education initiatives that provide hands-on opportunities to learn about the Bahamian marine environment.
  • Preserving the land of Clifton Bay. Focusing on protecting Clifton Bay and surrounding marine environments through proactive policy change, advocacy and education, The Foundation will highlight initiatives that encourage effective land use and habitat restoration efforts to benefit the land, coast, water and local communities.
  • Sustainable Fisheries. We will report on initiatives that protect key species in Bahamian waters, including the Queen conch and the Nassau grouper, and assist fishery managers with best practice management of sustainable fisheries.
  • Shark Sanctuaries. To provide sharks maximum protection from overfishing, The Moore Bahamas Foundation partners with groups mapping juvenile shark habitats and nursery sites in the Bahamas area; advocating for important shark protection laws, and raising awareness through education channels and public service campaigns. We will bring these stories to our readers.
  • Hurricane Recovery. A new focus since the devastation of Hurricane Joaquin, we will shine light on the restoration efforts in Southeastern Bahamas Islands, building core community structures with an eye to an environmentally responsible future; and rebuilding strong homes while simultaneously creating jobs.

Partners in the Bahamas whom we hope to make familiar include Bahamas National Trust, Research Foundation for State University of New York Stony Brook, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation and The Bahamas Hurricane Restoration Foundation. Tune into our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels to get the most out of our stories. Happy New Year!

A look back at 2015: a tremendous year with tremendous conservation and community partners

It’s nearing the end of a tremendous year, made so for The Moore Charitable Foundation and the land, water and wildlife causes we champion, thanks to the accomplishments and ongoing efforts of all of our tremendous partners. holidayFrom globally recognized power houses like the Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance, to small but mighty organizations such as Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, the groups with whom we work are making the world a better place for all of us.

Our diverse partners around the world are unified by their commitment to conservation and the empowerment of the communities they represent. On a local and planet-wide scale, these groups are making an incredible impact on our future through research, collaboration, education, advocacy, policy change and outreach. Here are just a few highlights of the year.

Wishing you and yours a fantastic new year – see you in 2016!

Amplifying conservation efforts through Colorado Gives Day 2015

The emphasis on charitable giving this holiday season will gain further momentum with Colorado Gives Day, which celebrates its sixth year on December 8. The 24-hour online fundraising movement applauds philanthropy and encourages donations in support of over 1,800 non-profit organizations in Colorado. Last year, the campaign received donations from 45,000 people, generating an impressive $26.3 million. To gear up for this marathon day of giving, nonprofits will gather at the State Capitol on December 7 for a special rally to collectively celebrate the year’s achievements.

The Moore Charitable Foundation and founder Louis Bacon proudly supports the distinguished work of its Trinchera Blanca Foundation partners in Colorado. Their dedication to preserving open spaces and upholding policy to protect conservation easements is particularly admirable. Each year, Colorado Gives Day serves to commemorate all that they have accomplished. Below, we highlight the work of five of our partners as they form an integral part of this regional community.

  • Colorado Open Lands acts to carry out its long-term conservation plan for Colorado, concentrating on land, water, and heritage. Through strategic partners, leadership, and innovative conservation techniques, they help to ensure that Colorado retains its natural beauty. Their work, primarily with private landowners has facilitated the protection of more than 400,000 acres to date. Currently, COL is focused on using conservation easements and other tools to protect acequia water rights, a system that treats water as a critical community resource.
  • Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts (CCLT) also promotes land conservation, focusing particularly on public policy and education. Their protection covers almost 2 million acres of habitat, farms, ranches, and other landscapes, and they work to foster positive relations and cooperation between land trusts and governmental organizations.
  • Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) conserves working rural landscapes, heritage, and local families, thereby encouraging the intergenerational transfer of ranches and farms. Its broad focus on family allows it to take on many roles, with programs to help farmers perform estate planning, pay debt, save for retirement, and pay for education, among other activities.
  • Conservation Colorado, a grassroots organization with a strong culture of collaboration, envisions a sustainable future for its home state. Focusing on the people side of operations, it works to mobilize the community and elect environmentally-conscious policy makers. Some of their successes include protection of more than 3 million acres of wilderness, passing 130 distinct conservation bills at the state legislature, and increasing the statewide renewable energy standard by 30%.
  • Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) advocates sustainability in agriculture throughout the entire San Luis Valley. Their conservation techniques serve to sustain the vitality of Colorado’s agricultural heritage and economy. They hope to inspire a culture of conservation in the area, and they do so by supporting ranches and farms, water sources, and wildlife habitat and have succeeded in protecting more than 21,000 of these acres.

This Colorado Gives Day, the amplified attention surrounding our partners’ work will raise awareness about the importance of sustainability in Colorado and bring new supporters to the community. Visit https://www.coloradogives.org/COGIVESDAY to learn how you can contribute to preserving open spaces and wildlife habitat in Colorado, and use #COGivesDay on social media to spread the word.

COP21: US Environmental Groups Stand to Benefit from International Commitments

This past week, leaders from across the globe convened in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to discuss issues critical to the future of our planet. While issues such as reducing emissions and supporting clean energy technology research may seem out of reach, these are intrinsically connected to the very issues Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation and its grantees support.

The primary goal of the summit is a global agreement on limiting emissions which would thwart the effects of climate change and global warming. With the United States and China, two of the world’s largest carbon polluters, now in lockstep on a pledge to enact emissions reductions policies, this goal seems more feasible than ever before.

In addition to the remarkable emissions goal, the presidents of the United States and France announced “Mission Innovation” – a commitment from 20 countries to double their clean energy research and development investment over five years. Together, these 20 nations represent 75 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions from electricity, and more than 80 percent of the world’s clean energy research and development investment.

Here in North America, the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign stands to benefit from these substantial commitments, and Oceana’s efforts to stop offshore drilling could experience an additional tailwind. MCF is proud to support both of these important initiatives as they successfully educate and mobilize communities, affect policy, and produce
tangible results – all for the demand of a clean energy future.

Waterkeepers from around the world, who are among the first to see the severe and often devastating effects of climate change on their waterways and in the communities, are in place to demand action and influence the legally binding universal agreement on climate. 121 Waterkeepers from over 20 countries have submitted specific calls to action to their government leaders in preparation for these weeks. Read their full list of demands, as well as the most pressing threats to their watersheds.

At last week’s end, food figured high on the agenda, with three important announcement: the release of a new tool to chart food insecurity; the launch of 4/100 was launched, an initiative to help keep carbon in soil through better farming techniques; and, in particular interest to MCF, the announcement a new food waste forum was to encourage G20 countries, private sector and NGOs to fight food waste together. This relates to a major Waterkeeper priority: fighting the environmental destruction and injustice of industrial farming or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) through their Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign.

The talks continue tomorrow. If last week is any meter, we can look forward to more announcements and, if the force be with us, some binding agreements. We encourage all organizations and individuals to pay attention to the conversations, and join us in the fight against global warming, whether it’s through supporting our grantees or simply being an advocate in your own sphere.