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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/296

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Governor General of Canada, and Mr. A. H. Green, of New York, who subsequently prevented the intrusion of all power structures in the state reservation on the New York side, a policy unfortunately not followed by the government on the Canadian side. Here even the park was widened, at the cost of the falls, in curtailing their crest-line by several hundred feet. Yet among those interested in the power companies it was commonly said that they were improving the park; a few, who were powerless, seeing through this sophistry. That public opinion was swayed by such representations is not to be wondered at, for at a later date, April 26, 1906, the Canadian section of the commission states that, "It would be a sacrilege to destroy the scenic effect of Niagara Falls, unless and until the public needs are so imperative as to compel and justify the sacrifice" (p. 102), and yet they suggest no curtailment on the Canadian side. The report further says that, "It is possible to preserve the beauty, and yet permit the development on the Canadian side of the Niagara River" of a certain amount of power on which I shall comment later, but no data are given on which the above statement is based. Indeed, I was unable to form any opinion whatsoever until my own investigations were made, which were begun before the proceedings of the International Commission, and not completed until some time after the premature report, cited above, appeared in print.

7. Results, the Outcome of Purely Scientific Investigations.—The conclusions reached concerning the spoliation of the Falls of Niagara are the outcome of investigations into purely scientific problems, and a brief account of them may show more convincingly how these results have been obtained. Just twenty years ago, I had the honor of announcing to this association the discovery that Lake Huron, with Michigan and Superior as tributaries, formerly emptied to the northeast, and did not discharge into a shrunken Lake Erie; and, consequently, Niagara was then a very small river. Six years later, I again laid before this association additional observations indicating that the falls had receded nearly three miles, when the Huron drainage was turned into Lake Erie; and with the fragmentary data bearing on the discharges of the rivers, an attempt was made, with only partial success, to determine the size of the original Niagara River.

One of the chief problems of my latest investigations was to determine the volume of the Niagara River in its early stages. It was not a simple matter, for contradictions appeared in the data obtained, which had to be eliminated. This involved the whole question of the physics of the rivers, requiring months of labor to collect the data and analyze them. In this connection, I found that the outlets of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario had been recently lowered, while Mr. Thomas Russel, of the U. S. Lake Survey, had previously made the great discovery that