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  • May Meeting - Shutting Off Niagara Falls

May Meeting - Shutting Off Niagara Falls

  • May 17, 2017
  • 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
  • Banchetti 550 N French Rd,Amherst NY, 14228


  • Meeting sponsor representative

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Title: Shutting Off Niagara Falls:  How the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation Plans to Dewater the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls

Our speaker Mark Mistretta will discuss potential plans to divert water away from Niagara Falls so that necessary repairs can be made to the historic bridges at Niagara Falls State Park that connect to Goat Island. 

The only other time the falls was intentionally dewatered occurred on June 12, 1969.  Through a jointly funded project a cofferdam was built above the American Falls that diverted water over to the Horseshoe Falls.  The intent of that project was to inspect the rock substrata and map fractures.  Piezometers were also installed so that rock movement could be measured.  The cofferdam remained in place for several months and was removed the following November.  Full flow was restored to the American Falls at midnight November 26, 1969.

What many don’t remember is the year when Mother Nature herself dewatered all of Niagara Falls.

Just before midnight of March 29, 1844 an intense gale centered over the Lake Erie basin causing water levels to drop so dramatically that the Niagara River at the falls was reduced to a mere trickle.  Fractured ice formed a dam at Lake Erie after the water levels dropped and by March 30th the entire area above the falls including Chippewa Creek was dry. It remained so for most of the day.

Speaker Bio:

Mark Mistretta is the Capital Facilities Manager for Niagara and Allegany Regions of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  He brings to State Parks a wealth of knowledge and experience with more than 37 years of experience as a Landscape Architect.  His career included 27 years with Wendel an architecture, engineering, surveying and landscape firm located in Amherst, New York.  While at Wendel, Mark started up and grew their Parks and Recreation Division making it one of the most recognized in Western New York.  Mark is the former Chair of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and has served on their board of directors for 35 years.  He has also served over a decade as a member of the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Green Fund and is their current Vice President.

The meeting is kindly being sponsored by Test America

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