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  • Sensor array set up on dam. 

    Water is drawn from the penstocks of generating units into flow through chambers containing electronic sensors that record time-stamped water quality parameters such as temperature, turbidity, color dissolved organic material, phycocyanin, chlorophyll-a, and specific conductivity at minute intervals. 


  • REASON is expandable to other large rivers in the Great Lakes. [Photo credit: John Shibley]

    REASON is expandable to other large rivers in the Great Lakes. 

    In collaboration with Lake Superior State University the REASON network seeks to expand to the St. Marys River, the other river at which natural outflow from the Great Lakes are regulated. [Photo credit: John Shibley] 

  • Student research assistant Faith Neff ('14). 

    Environmental Resource Engineering Major at Humboldt State University, supported by the National Science Foundation ASSETS Serving Humanity REU program. Faith worked to install the sensor array on the Moses-Saunders dam during summer 2014.


  • Hydrodynamic modeling of water flow to sensor locations. 

    Colors indicate the area if area of water detectable at dam sensor locations. Blue is nearshore water that passes several bathing beaches and the water intake for Massena, NY. Green is main channel river water and strongly reflects Lake Ontario.  Red is the nearshore water along the Canadian shoreline.


  • Student research assistants Lindsay Avolio ('15). 

    Biology Major at Clarkson University, supported by the National Science Foundation ASPIRE program.  During the summer of 2013, Lindsay worked on preliminary sensor array design set up.


  • The Moses-Saunders Dam.  

    Opened in 1958, the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric power dam harnesses a 90 foot drop in elevation from fluvial Lake St. Lawrence.  Water quality sensors in Unit 32 nearest the US shore are next to an American eel ladder used for eels migrating into Lake Ontario from the Atlantic Ocean. Photo looking upstream the dam from the Hawkins Point Visitor Center.


  • The Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River.  

    The river is the natural outflow of the Great Lakes and the largest fluvial source of freshwater to the North Atlantic Ocean.  The present river was formed about 8,000 years ago following the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.  The river is now used as a source of hydroelectric power generation, for transportation, recreation, and municipal water use.


Personnel Involved:

Michael Twiss PhD, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Limnologist, Project management

Science and Engineering Advisory Group:

Joseph Skufca, PhD, Hind-cast and Predictive Modeling

Thomas Holsen, PhD, BCEEM, Water Quality

Ashley Moerke, PhD, Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries

Jeffrey Ridal, PhD, Ecotoxicology

Student research assistants:

- Lindsay Avolio (2013); Clarkson University

- Faith Neff (2014); Humboldt State University

Publications on River Related Research

Graduate student position available January 2015: MS or PhD in Interdisciplinary Bioscience & Biotechnology or Environmental Science & Engineering (contact Michael Twiss).