Report of Joint Board of Engineers (Reconvened) on Improvement of the International Section of the St. Lawrence River2
1. A joint board of engineers, consisting of 6 members, 3 representing the United States and 3 representing Canada, was set up by order of the United States War Department, dated April 2, 1924, and by order-in-council of the Canadian Government, dated May 7, 1924.3 This joint board was asked to review a previous report on the St. Lawrence Deep Waterway made by Col. W. P. Wooten, representing the United States, and the late W. A. Bowden, representing Canada.4 This board was also asked to extend its inquiries to certain additional matters relevant to proposals made by the international joint commission in a report dated December 19, 1921,5 under instructions from both Governments.
2. That joint board, under date of November 16, 1926, presented a comprehensive report on the matters referred to it. The report was later accompanied by appendixes A to G, inclusive, and was printed in both countries.6
3. The membership of the United States section at that time consisted of the late Lieut. Gen. Edgar Jadwin, then Chief of Engineers, Col. William Kelly, Corps of Engineers, and Brig. Gen. G. B. Pillsbury, then colonel, Corps of Engineers.
4. The membership of the Canadian section consisted of Duncan W. McLachlan, of the Department of Railways and Canals, Dr. Olivier O. Lefebvre, [Page 64] chief engineer of the Quebec Streams Commission, and Brig. Gen. Charles H. Mitchell, C. B., C. M. G., dean of the faculty of applied science, University of Toronto.
5. On January 23, 1930, the United States section of the joint board was reconstituted with Col. Harley B. Ferguson, Corps of Engineers, as chairman, and Col. E. M. Markham, and Col. G. B. Pillsbury, as members. On June 26, 1930, Maj. Eugene Reybold was detailed to replace Colonel Pillsbury.
The personnel of the Canadian section has not changed since appointment in 1924.
6. In December, 1931, the present joint board was instructed to meet and report a mutually satisfactory plan for the improvement of the international rapids section and to consider any other matters requiring attention. Since receipt of these instructions, six meetings have been held, and the questions to be dealt with have been given much consideration.
7. In March, 1932, the board was instructed to reach an agreement on a plan for early execution that would provide effectively for navigation and power requirements and at the same time recognize the special national interests in the lower St. Lawrence River to which attention has been called in previous discussions.
International Rapids Section
8. The board has studied the international rapids section, utilizing the great mass of data accumulated by previous boards and other agencies. Since the report of the joint board in 1926 much additional data regarding rock surfaces in the international rapids section have been obtained.
9. The Department of Railways and Canals of Canada secured a total of about 100 borings, between 1928 and 1932, at Galop Rapids, at Ogden Island, at Crysler Island, and generally over the area between the head of Barnhart Island and the foot of Cornwall Island. In 1930 an engineering board appointed by the State of New York made 12 borings to rock near Massena Point. The records of over 1,000 borings in the international rapids section are now available. These records and investigations have enabled progress to be made which would otherwise not be possible.
10. In the present report it is deemed best to adopt the standards and unit prices set up in the joint board report of 1926 rather than introduce new unit prices for present-day construction costs. In this way schemes herein discussed may be compared with others which have been described in the 1926 report.[Page 65]
11. A review of governmental and other reports for the improvement of the international rapids section shows that the improvement desired can be secured in a variety of ways.
12. If improvement for navigation alone were desired, it could best be secured by a side canal between the head of Galop Rapids and the foot of Ogden Island, a pool between Ogden Island and a dam at the Long Sault Rapids, and a side canal from this pool to the river below Massena Point. This form of development would be economical as regards navigation, but would have no valuable power possibilities.
13. If a dam with short side canal and lock at Ogden Island, together with channel enlargement above, be substituted for the side canal between Galop Rapids and the foot of Ogden Island, then there is produced a double pool, or stage, project which conserves great power values. However, the area of high rock surface at Ogden Island is restricted, the river is narrow, and the character of channels below makes it impossible to concentrate at this point a usable winter head of more than about 12 feet. This head is lower than desirable on a river of the size of the St. Lawrence. The head concentration at an upper dam in such a project can be increased, however, by locating the structures at Crysler Island (about 7 miles downstream from Ogden Island) where rock surface elevations are favorable.
If desired, the head at the upper dam could be reduced to small dimensions and the head at Barnhart Island increased to approximately the total fall of the section. Under such a plan, however, difficulty arises with regard to the elevation to be adopted for the lower pool and the head to be left at the upper or control dam. If this head be substantial, the loss of power would be considerable; if this head be small, the control of flow becomes problematical and flooding below becomes extensive.
Project for a 2-Stage Development
14. A 2-stage plan with upper dam at Crysler Island is mentioned in the report of Col. W. P. Wooten, and the late W. A. Bowden to the international joint commission in 1921.7 A similar project is described in the 1926 report of the Joint Board of Engineers. Such a project was recommended in 1929 in the report of the conference of the Canadian section of this board and engineers representing the Province of Ontario.8
15. Description.—The Crysler Island 2–stage plan is designed to [Page 66] provide adequately for power and a depth of 27 feet for navigation. Its main features are as follows:
- A dam at Crysler Island with two power houses, one on either side of the international boundary.
- A dam at Barnhart Island. Two power houses, one on either side of the international boundary.
- A short side canal with lock on the Canadian side at Crysler Island, and a side canal with two locks on the United States side opposite Barnhart Island. These works are designed to carry deepwater navigation past the proposed power houses and dams.
- A free open channel south of Galop Island for navigation, together with a diversion channel through Galop Island capable of discharge control in the interest of both navigation and power.
- Channel enlargement between Lotus Island and Ogden Island, designed to provide at least 95,000 square feet of river section at ordinary operating levels.
- Various works designed to protect the interests of the towns and villages affected by the proposed improvement.
- A lock for passing 14-foot navigation through the dam at Crysler Island, and a similar structure near Barnhart Island to give access to the present Cornwall Canal.
- Provision for an additional deep water side canal and lock on the United States side at Crysler Island and for an additional deep water side canal with two locks on the Canadian side opposite Barnhart Island, should the construction of alternative navigation facilities become desirable at a future date.
16. Under this project the proposed dam and power houses at Crysler Island would be located on a solid rock sill which stands at elevations ranging from 157 to 170 feet. At this locality the river is wide enough to permit power houses, sluice gates, and a 14-foot lock to be introduced between its banks. The international boundary is in such position that the Canadian and United States power houses can be placed wholly within their respective territories. Although the plan shows the side canal and lock for deep navigation on the Canadian side of the boundary, these works could be located on the United States side without any material difference in estimated costs.
17. In the case of the lower development, the main dam, 3,800 feet long, would extend from the head of Barnhart Island to the foot of Long Sault Island, thence across the South Sault Channel to the United States mainland. The power house of each country would be located on its side of the international boundary at the foot of Barnhart Island. A connection would be provided with the Canadian mainland near Mille Roches, thus making Bergen Lake part of the headrace. The plan proposes the side canal and two locks for deep navigation on the United States side of the boundary. This side canal with locks could be located on the Canadian side at an estimated additional cost of $4,500,000.[Page 67]
18. The average head ultimately available at Crysler Island, with the upper pool at elevation 241-245 and the lower pool at elevation 217 at Barnhart Island, is estimated to be 24.2 feet in summer and 19.6 feet in winter. The installed capacity for purposes of estimate is taken at 592,960 horsepower.
The average head available at Barnhart Island from pool elevation 217 is 60.4 feet in summer and 56.4 feet in winter. The installed capacity for purposes of estimate is taken at 1,607,000 horsepower.
19. The installed capacities adopted are in excess of the 24-hour power that can be produced at low-water flow and are not to be construed as indicating continuous power possibilities.
20. Rehabilitation work.—The construction of the work proposed at Crysler Island will raise water levels opposite the village of Iroquois and the town of Morrisburg, to elevations varying from 241 to 245. This will inundate the easterly part of Morrisburg and almost all of Iroquois. Adequate provision has been made for the rehabilitation of these communities in the estimates appended.
21. No unusual or extensive rehabilitation is required on the United States side of the river.
22. Feasibility and estimated cost of the project.—The joint board is of the unanimous opinion that the 2-stage plan above defined is practicable and feasible from an engineering point of view; that there is no question as to the safety of the works proposed; and that navigation requirements and power recovery are provided for adequately.
23. The estimated cost of the project is $274,742,000. Its main features are shown on Plates 1 to 6; detail estimates are given in Appendix 1. The project will be referred to as project C-217.
Estimates are based on prices of 1926. On the basis of presentday prices, they would be substantially reduced. Actual costs will depend largely upon conditions at the time of construction.
24. In proceeding with the improvement of the international rapids section it should be recognized that, subject to mutual agreement, considerable latitude should be allowed the authority responsible for the construction of the works as regards the location of the structures and such other modifications of layout as may be advantageous. Similarly, latitude should also be allowed in fixing the level of the pool above the lower dam.
25. Any increase in the supply of water to the Great Lakes, or any decrease in diversions therefrom, must be taken into account in channel enlargement and in rules for regulation.[Page 68]
The control of the flow of water out of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River and the regulation of the flow of water through the international section of the St. Lawrence River should be such as not injuriously to interfere with or lessen the navigable depths of water for shipping in the harbor of Montreal and throughout the navigable channel of the St. Lawrence River below Montreal, as such depths now exist or may hereafter be increased by dredging or other harbor or channel improvements.
Thousand Island Section
26. The report of 1926 proposed a series of excavations for the improvement of the Thousand Island section at a number of separated shoals between Clayton and Brockville. These excavations were designed to provide a through channel not less than 450 feet wide between Lake Ontario and Chimney Point.
27. All work proposed east of Oak Point was in Canadian territory and practically all work west of that point in United States territory.
28. Reports of advisory committees subsequent to the publication of the joint board report, in both the United States and Canada, recommended a depth of 27 feet for this section of the St. Lawrence project.
29. In 1929 the Canadian Government undertook the excavation of channels east of Oak Point and also the removal of Haskell Shoal. In 1930 the United States Government undertook the excavation of channels west of Oak Point.
30. The work undertaken by Canada is designed to give a through channel, not less than 500 feet wide and 27 feet deep, and follows in almost all respects the alignment recommended in the 1926 joint board report. Its estimated cost is $471,000. The work undertaken by the United States is designed to give a channel not less than 450 feet wide and 27 feet deep at an estimated cost of $550,000. These works will provide an adequate deep waterway throughout the section.
The works described in the Thousand Island section, between Prescott and Clayton, are shown on plate 7. This is in general accordance with the works shown on plates 10 to 16, inclusive, in Appendix C of the report of November 16, 1926.
31. Construction work in connection with project C-217 on the international rapids section, requires the placing of 4,074,000 cubic [Page 69] yards of concrete and the excavation of about 5,000,000 cubic yards of solid rock and 90,000,000 cubic yards of earth and other material. There is much preparatory and related work to be done in the construction of dams, locks, power houses and in the unwatering of sites.
32. Seven years is considered a reasonable construction period. Unforeseen conditions might require a longer period. Latitude in the matter of preparing a program should be vested in the authority in charge of construction.
|United States section:||H. B.
Colonel, Corps of Engineers
Colonel, Corps of Engineers
Major, Corps of Engineers
|Canadian section:||D. W. McLachlan|
|C. H. Mitchell|
- The report was forwarded to the Department of State by General G. B. Pillsbury on July 14, 1932 (711.42157SA29/908) and on January 19, 1933, was submitted to the Senate by President Hoover as an enclosure to the treaty signed July 18, 1932, printed infra. Original report not in Department files; the following text is reprinted from Senate publication Executive C, 72d Cong., 2d sess., pp. 10–14. For appendix I to the report, see ibid., pp. 15–25.↩
- See note from the Secretary of State to the British Ambassador, April 28, 1924, Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. i, p. 347.↩
- Senate Document No. 179, 67th Cong., 2d sess.↩
- S. Doc. 114, 67th Cong., 2d sess.↩
- S. Doc. 183, 69th Cong., 2d sess., and Report of Joint Board of Engineers on St. Lawrence Waterway Project (Ottawa: F. A. Acland, printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, 1927).↩
- S. Doc. 179, 67th Cong., 2d sess.↩
- Report of Conference of Canadian Engineers on the International Rapids Section of the St. Lawrence River (with appendix), dated December 30, 1929 (Ottawa: F. A. Acland, printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, 1930).↩
- Submitted to the Senate by President Hoover on January 19, 1933. On a formal vote, taken March 14, 1934, the treaty failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority, the vote being 46 in favor of and 42 opposed to its acceptance (Congressional Record, vol. 78, pt. 4, pp. 4474–4475). Withdrawn from the Senate by President Truman on April 8, 1947 (S. Ex. M, 80th Cong., 1st sess.).↩
- Foreign Relations, 1910, p. 532.↩
- State of Wisconsin et al., v. State of Illinois and Sanitary District of Chicago et al., 281 U. S. 696. On the general matter of the Chicago diversion, see Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. i, pp. 484 ff.↩