Save The River Staff


Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper & Executive Director

Lee has been Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper & the Executive Director since 2012. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Lee came north for graduate school at Syracuse University where he earned a Law Degree and Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School. He brings to Save The River a strong knowledge of River and North Country issues, having previously served as chief of staff to a New York State Senator whose district includes the St. Lawrence River. His career has been diverse, ranging from environmental counsel to an independent power producer to Cornell Cooperative Extension where he worked in youth development. In 2016 Freshwater Future named Lee a Freshwater Hero as the Citizen Advocate of the year for “his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues.”


Kate Breheny, Program Manager

Kate has nearly a decade of experience coordinating native plant and habitat restoration education and volunteer programs in the Golden Gate National Parks in San Francisco, CA. In 2006 Kate and her husband Brian moved to the 1000 Islands Region from California and knew setting down their roots on the River was for them. In the fall of 2011 she joined the Save The River team as Program Manager. They live in Clayton with their chocolate lab, Emmylou.


Bridget Wright, Office & Development Manager

While growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Bridget always looked forward to spending as much time as possible at her family's home on Crow Island in The Thousand Islands. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois she worked as Development Director for Shared Marketing Services in Chicago. In 2006 Bridget realized her lifelong dream and relocated permanently to the River to be near family. She was thrilled to join the staff at Save the River in 2010.


Linda Wright, Bookkeeper

Linda first joined Save the River as our volunteer bookkeeper from 1999-2002, returning in 2005 as a part-time employee. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Math from the University of New Hampshire. Her accounting career has been in both non-profit and for-profit environments. Linda and her husband Eric live in Evans Mills where they raise sheep. She enjoys spending her free time quilting, gardening, and reading.

Latest News

Northern New York Business Magazine Interviews Riverkeeper / Executive Director
To talk about the environmental and economic impacts of Plan 2014 among other things. read more

Riverkeeper and Executive Director records his Watermark
The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways people interact with water started by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. read more

More on the Documentary “Changing Currents: Protecting North America’s Rivers”
"I am honored, as Riverkeeper & Executive Director of Save The River, to be able to speak about the work we and many others have done to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River as part of what looks to be an excellent documentary about the threats to freshwater bodies across North America and some of the restoration efforts occurring in communities across the continent." read more

Blue Fish Radio Interviews Riverkeeper about Most Endangered Designation
In depth interview by one of Canada's top-sponsored anglers explores damage to River by current water levels management plan and need for Plan 2014. read more

Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director named Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year
In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “. . . you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.” read more

A Voice for Clean Water
Clean, drinkable water is a basic human necessity. It is fundamental to the environment that sustains all human activity. read more

“Meet the upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper; Save The River prepares to host annual conference”
The upper St. Lawrence River’s largest environmental group holds its annual winter conference this weekend. read more

See our blog for more news!     

About Us

Founded in 1978, Save The River is a non-profit, member-supported environmental organization whose mission is to restore, preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. Since 2004 Save The River has been a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance as the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper.

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The River

The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest Rivers in the world and a magnificent place to live, work and play. Save The River has been working for more than 35 years to protect the River for current and future generations.

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Join or Give

Over half of Save The River's budget comes from individual memberships and contributions. Supporting us with an annual membership donation will keep our River advocacy, education and research programs going strong.

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Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, with more than 200 local Waterkeepers patrolling rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents.

Photos from around the River

Off to the races by Pam Quimby  Resting by Pam Quimby  On the Rocks by Nick Apel  Classic Sunset by Barb Hupp  TI Park Library by Meg Kerr  Fall by Carrie Kerr  Girls by Juliane Bauer  Winter Navigation by Sherman Ward  Off on the River by Jenni Werndorf  A Seaway View by Devon Colby 
 Pictures from our Flickr photostream

409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

(315) 686-2010


© Save The River 2014