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1960s / Niagara Falls Dewatered - 1969
From June to November 1969, the American portion of Niagara Falls had its water flow from the Niagara River diverted to Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. It was the work of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The reason for the drastic measure was to scientifically study the falls for critical erosion damage. At the time there was a great fear that steady erosion was irretrievably affecting the falls. If the falls eroded to the point where they were not spectacular, the lucrative local tourism industry would suffer badly. The only way to know for sure if the falls were threatened was to examine the limestone precipice without any water present. Accordingly the engineers deftly dumped tons of landfill to block the American side of the falls. The Niagara River's typical discharge of 60,000 gallons of water per minute was reduced to just a small trickle. It was determined that natural erosion was not a threat at the time, but the engineers did use the opportunity to install sensors to alert them to any future erosion issues. Interestingly 1969 produced the greatest tourism year ever at Niagara Falls because people were drawn to the region to view the strangely barren waterfall.