Public TV Program Spotlights Work of UMass Amherst Professor who Studies the Connecticut River

November 4, 1999

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AMHERST, Mass. - UMass biologist Edward Klekowski''s underwater exploration of the Connecticut River is the topic of an upcoming program on the region''s public television station. "Beneath the River" will air at 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8, on WGBY-TV. The program includes underwater footage that Klekowski and his team have taken while exploring the river.

"Beneath the River" looks at unusual plant and animal life; a 110-foot abyss believed to mark a geologic fault; and historical artifacts including a railroad bridge that was swept underwater by a 1936 flood. Klekowski and his team have been studying the depths of the Connecticut River since 1996. Artifacts that they have recovered from the river have been the focus of museum exhibits at the Springfield Science Museum and the Connecticut River Museum, in Essex, Conn. More recently, the Connecticut River exploration has centered around the submerged remains of the South Hadley Canal, one of the oldest river transportation systems in the country. The canal was built in 1795 to allow cargo-laden boats to circumvent the Great Falls at South Hadley, and bring merchandise north to Northampton.

Klekowski''s most recent work has been an exploration of the Quabbin Reservoir, created more than 60 years ago to supply drinking water for Boston. Four western Massachusetts towns were dismantled and then flooded to build the reservoir. The team has seen intriguing life forms, as well as remnants of the towns, including cellar holes and stone hitching posts, during their underwater investigations. "Beneath the River" is a collaboration between the University and Hometown Productions of Greenfield.