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Great Rivers Center

Clarkson University faculty and researchers have a distinguished history of investigating and engineering solutions to a broad range of issues involving the lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Clarkson is best known for its contributions to the solution of such environmental problems as eutrophication, toxic chemical pollution, and corrective measures to remediate contaminated environments; to the solution of water resources management concerns related to navigability for commerce and power generation, especially as affected by winter conditions and the formation and dynamics of ice; and for addressing socioeconomic issues such as binational trade and cultural concerns. These activities have been undertaken by teams comprised of faculty members and both graduate and undergraduate students using Clarkson facilities and often involving collaborators from several other universities in New York State via the Great Lakes Research Consortium.

Lake St. Lawrence
A view of Lake St. Lawrence, a 40 km fluvial lake created by the impoundment of the St. Lawrence River at Massena, New York

These efforts create new knowledge that is beneficial to the education of the students who pursue BS, MS, ME, and PhD degrees and to the professional development of the faculty members. But first in importance, these efforts provide environmental and economic benefits to the people of the region, the State of New York, the nation, and our close neighbors in Canada with whom we share these resources.

Recognizing the multiplicative effect of multi-interdisciplinary collaboration, in 1999 Clarkson University initiated actions that resulted in the establishment of the Great Rivers Center (on the Clarkson campus) and Institute (to be located on the St. Lawrence River) in partnership with St. Lawrence University and three SUNY campuses: the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Potsdam College, and Canton College. Construction of a field station and public outreach facilities are in the planning stages for the shore of the St. Lawrence River. At present, the Great Rivers Center has been integrated into the education, research, and outreach missions of the Clarkson Center for the Environment, of which more information is readily available elsewhere (www.clarkson.edu/cce) or by request to the Great Rivers Center (http://www.clarkson.edu/cce/great_rivers.html.

Priorities for Facility and Program Improvements for Fiscal Year 2008

  • Use of R/V Lavinia and advanced instrumentation to measure phytoplankton community composition and health in the International Section of the St. Lawrence River in support of the St. Lawrence at Massena Remedial Action Plan
  • Using received National Science Foundation funds, develop the institutional framework for building a bona fide biological field station.

Great Blue Heron at sunset on the St. Lawrence River

Michael R. Twiss, Director
Great Rivers Center
Department of Biology
Clarkson University
Potsdam NY 13699-5805
Telephone: (315)268-2359

New York's Great Lakes Facilities Network

New York's Great Lakes Facilities Network

  1. Great Lakes Center at Buffalo
  2. Great Lakes Center at Brockport
  3. Environmental Research Center at Oswego
  4. GLRC Headquarters
  5. Cornell Biological Field Station
  6. SUNY ESF Thousand Islands Biological Field station
  7. Great Rivers Center
  8. Lake Champlain Research Institute

To learn more about the facilities of the GLRC network, their current research projects, research specialties, facilities, and needed upgrades, click on any location above