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First ever Ride for the River to be held Sept. 16

— As the East Branch of the Ausable River flows from its source in the Adirondack High Peaks, it courses through rapids, gorges and stretches of wide, flat water on its way to Lake Champlain.

On Sept. 16, bicyclists will get to see these changes first-hand in the first-ever Ride for the River fundraiser.

The 37-mile ride will begin at 9 a.m. at the Ausable Club in Keene Valley and end with a picnic at Ausable Chasm in Keeseville.

Funds raised from the event will benefit the Ausable River Association, a non-profit community-sponsored organization that works with local landowners, scientists and state agencies to promote education and responsible management of the Ausable River watershed.

Through community outreach and scientific research, the association works to establish plans that are in everyone’s best interests, all while keeping the interests of the river a top priority.

The culmination of this process will be the completion of a five-year study resulting in a watershed management plan, which will discuss the importance of the river to the region and identify threats to the river from pollution to storms.

Currently, the management plan is still in draft form and can be read on the association’s website. Once completed, it will include recommendations for protecting the Ausable based on the scientific data and community input collected.

“It’s important because state agencies focus on the entire state,” said Corrie Miller, executive director of the Ausable River Association. “Our management plan can write about what specific projects are needed in the area.”

She added that the association can help focus state agencies, like the Department of Environmental Conservation, and push for the completion of area-specific projects.

“We want to make sure the river is looked after, but more so, we are about education,” Miller said.

Recently, the association hosted two workshops to restore 2,800 feet of riverbank at Rivermede Farms in Keene Valley.

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