During the three-year JOS, landowners along the shoreline being studied which extended from the U.S. Snell Lock to the middle of Lake St. Francis did not report any negative effects from the icebreaking activity. Moreover, the JOS revealed that the forces imposed on the shoreline due to icebreaking activities were significantly less than the forces exhibited by ice floes driven onto the shoreline by high wind conditions.
â€œFrom the Seawayâ€™s perspective, the JOS is unprecedented in terms of its cooperative nature and the thoroughness of its analysis. After three years of hard work, the Akwesasne Mohawk, the Governments of Canada and the United States, and the U.S. and Canadian Seaway entities all endorse the studyâ€™s findings and recommendations.â€ said U.S. SLSDC Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. He added, â€œWe will work closely with our Akwesasne neighbors to carry out the studyâ€™s recommendations.â€
St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief James Ransom also commented on the study, â€œThe Joint Observational Study was an excellent learning process for everyone involved. It shows that if we put our minds together in a cooperative manner, it can be beneficial for all parties involved.â€ Chief Brian David of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne added, â€œWe hope that this will be part of an ongoing collaboration to find a harmonious balance between ice-breaking activity and the practice of our inherent rights on the waterways.â€
The JOS arose out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into by the parties in May 2006 to observe and document potential physical impacts arising from icebreaking activities in the St. Lawrence Seaway. The MOU was a component of a negotiated settlement among the parties to complaints filed in 2004 by the Akwesasne Mohawk. With the completion of the JOS, the requirements set forth in the settlement agreement are fulfilled.
A copy of the JOS Conclusions and Recommendations can be found at www.greatlakes-seaway.com, under the â€œEnvironmentâ€ tab. The report is also available at the St. Regis Mohawk Tribeâ€™s website, at www.srmt-nsn.gov.