BOTANICAL EVALUATION OF THE GOAT ISLAND COMPLEX, NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK
This project is an extension of a major study of the Niagara River gorge flora being undertaken by the author with a grant from the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. Permission to use data collected on that project for use in the present study is gratefully acknowledged.
Gratitude is extended to Mario Pirastru, Regional Director, for the formal approval for this study to be undertaken. Dr. Frank Kowsky, chairman of the Citizens Committee for Goat Island, and Dr. Eric Randall of that committee, were instrumental in having the a study implemented. Dr. Randall has provided guidance and encouragement throughout the course of this study.
On a number of occasions, the staff of the Schoellkopf Geological Museum, especially Ms. Doris Hampton and Maureen Currie has been very helpful. Mr. Dario Violanti, Chief Engineer, provided valuable technical reports. Mr. Burt Rabuck provided helpful assistance on the Island, as did many of the maintenance and security staff, who were always ready to be of assistance. Mr. Robert Kessler, manager of the Cave of the Winds concession, was especially helpful in providing access to and assistance in exploring the base of Goat Island.
I would like to give special recognition to Mrs. Dorothy Westhafer, of the Kenan Center, Lockport, New York, who first brought public attention to aspects of this work, and Ms. Lisa Aug and Mr. Paul Westmore of the Niagara Falls Gazette. Mrs. Katherine Boericke and Armand Castellani of Niagara Falls early showed great interest in this project.
Leanore E. Thompson, Assistant Librarian, Royal Botanic Gardens, of Kew, Great Britain provided photocopies of the 1877 American botanical journal of Joseph Dalton Hooker. The pages copied pertained to Hooker and Asa Gray's visit to Goat Island in which many plants were listed, several never before reported for the Island. Mr. Shaun Hardy, Librarian of the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science kindly wrote to Kew requesting this information. He and Mr. Ed Ciszek proved indispensable as sources of information during the course of this study.
Dr. William Buck and Dr. Richard Harris, specialists in the sciences of bryology and lichenology, respectively, of the Cryptogamic Herbarium, New York Botanical Garden, agreed to come to the Reservation to conduct detailed fieldwork on Goat Island, Luna Island and the Three Sisters Islands. They were able to provide lists of the named specimens they collected within thirty days of their field work, and for this special effort I am especially grateful. Dr. Buck also generously extended me assistance in the research library and the extensive herbarium collections of the New York Botanical Garden during a visit made there in the course of this study. Dr. Harold Robinson, Curator of the bryophyte collections of the National Herbarium, Smithsonian Institution provided advise and assistance in searching the collections under his care for specimens related to Niagara Falls. Loans were made from both institutions to the Buffalo Museum of Science for detailed identification.
Mr. Ernst Both, Director of the Buffalo Museum of Science, gave the ultimate approval for the use of Museum services and facilities for this study, and to examine and curate specimens from Goat Island in the Museum's Clinton Herbarium. In his capacity as a specialist in mycology, especially of the Boletes of western New York State, he volunteered time from his busy schedule to assist in the determination of certain of the mushrooms from the islands.
I would like to thank Dr. Norton Miller, Chief Scientist for the New York State Biological Survey for helping me contact Dr. Elizabeth Shaw of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University, for information regarding Dr. Asa Gray. During a field trip to Goat Island, Dr. Richard Mitchell, New York State Botanist, rediscovered a rare Gentian at Terrapin Point and other species which contributed much to revealing the significant nature of the flora at Niagara Falls.
Dr. William Crins, a specialist in the Cyperaceae, now at the Albany State Museum, determined many of the significant specimens in the genus Carex, a notoriously difficult genus to work with. Dr. Steven Clemants of the Natural Heritage Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation verified certain rare species and gave much useful information regarding rarities in the area.
Dr. Carol Sweeney, of Niagara University, provided guidance in setting up the quadrat and point quarter surveys, and provided valuable discussions regarding this study.
Francisca Saffron, Director of the Holland Land Company Project of the Reed Library, State University of New York, Fredonia, New York, provided abundant material and useful suggestions regarding the Joseph Ellicott land survey records.
Thanks to Mr. William Snowden, Superintendent of the Queen Victoria Park School of Horticulture, Mr. Tom Laviolette, Instructor, and Mr. Melvin Dell, Curator of the School Herbarium (NFO) Niagara Falls, Ontario, for providing access to their herbarium and much useful information.
Many of the citizens of Niagara Falls and returning visitors to the Falls (many citizens of foreign countries) have shown enthusiasm for and interest in this study, and many, in the course of my field work on the island, have contributed information from their personal experience. All were concerned with the condition of the vegetation and were happy that attention is being directed toward its protection. None more so than my mother, Mrs. Marguerite P. Eckel, a resident of the Falls, who accompanied me in the field on many a sunny day and in the cold days of November, who folded newspapers and wrote labels in her warm kitchen for the specimens I was preparing.
Much encouragement has been made by members of the Niagara Frontier Botanical Society.
Above all, I acknowledge the generosity of Dr. Richard Zander, Curator of the Clinton Herbarium in the Division of Botany of the Buffalo Museum of Science, in assisting me in the free use of the research space and equipment, and access to herbarium material. He has assisted in all aspects of computerization necessary in this study, and contributed substantially to the organization of the final manuscript.