William W. Jeanes, Sr.
William W. Jeanes, Sr.
January 12, 1909 - January 17, 1987
An Advocate for Watershed Protection
Born in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Spent early years in southeastern Pennsylvania and
then 50 years in the Upper Chesapeake region at Elk River, Maryland.
- Earned degrees in Engineering and Geology at Harvard University, Class of 1931.
- Co-founded the Upper Chesapeake Watershed Association in 1952 and served as its
president for eight years.
Led the Upper Chesapeake Watershed Association in its role as intervener in the
relicensing proceedings for all four hydroelectric dams on the lower Susquehanna
River to ensure that fish passage facilities would be provided and that adequate
minimum flows would be maintained at the Conowingo Dam.
In 1980, Jeanes wrote:
"Now the dam is often operated in a way which closely resembles the flow of a leaky
but still effective flush toilet-minimum flows for a number of hours and then great
surges to carry peak loads when needed. How a fish copes with such sudden changes
when it is attempting to spawn has not been explained."
- Fought against the widening of the C&D Canal, including testifying before Congress.
- Was an advocate for farm land preservation and land use planning. (Jeanes placed
considerable portions of his land in trust to be kept as a natural preserve.)
- Helped develop the Cecil County Zoning Master Plan.
- Was a member of:
- Upper Chesapeake Watershed Association
- Natural Lands Trust (formerly Philadelphia Conservationists)
- Cecil County Anti-Pollution League
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Held two professional positions:
- Treasurer (1932-1948), Carl Mackley Houses, a low rent project for union workers
President, Octavia Hill Association of Philadelphia
- Is written up in the book Susquehanna River of Dreams by Susan Q. Stranahan.
"Far downstream, at the mouth of the Susquehanna, a group of 'responsible Cecil County
residents,' as a 1953 newspaper article described them, organized the Upper Chesapeake
Watershed Association. The group, comprised of 'boatmen, commercial watermen, bathers,
gunners, campers, property owners, merchants, conservationists and vacationers,'
included among its members William Jeanes, who would later record the massive fish
kills on the Susquehanna. The members set four goals: to protect the charm and beauty
of the upper bay; to eliminate existing sources of pollution and forestall new ones;
to increase fishing, crabbing, and wildlife resources; and to make sure that the
upper bay would remain available for recreation."
Widow Mrs. Helen Frazer Jeanes and son William W. Jeanes, Jr., live in Earleville,
Recipients of the Jeanes Award
Return to Commission Awards page.