The James W. Geis Collection relates to the subject of Environmental Assessment – FY 1979 Winter Navigation Demonstration on the St. Lawrence River. This collection contains scientific Technical Reports and Summary resulting from a joint undertaking between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS-DEC) and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), along with additional donated materials from individuals/organizations also involved with the subject. ESF retains ownership of all materials deposited with this mixed scientific and cultural heritage collection from sources including, but not limited to: Save the River documents related to that organization’s founding received after the infamous Abbie Hoffman’s passing; John Hickey’s (US F&WS) research documentation, data (some yet to be analyzed), maps & photos; and a Cornell University masters thesis by Richard Spencer.

This environmental assessment prevented the US Army Corps of Engineers proposed Winter Navigation Demonstration Project from taking place and thus protected the St. Lawrence River and environs from much possible damage. To this day, the shipping season remains closed through the winter months (although the navigation season has lengthened). Opening up shipping year round and related river issues (expanding the seaway) are very politically charged questions that come up now and again. This important and unique collection will remain relevant indefinitely and perhaps more so in the future as invasive species and climate change also make a mark on the river.

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