Author Topic: Is the Canal Corporation Lying about Embankment Integrity? See Dams 1- 4  (Read 36 times)

Doug K

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In the end it all comes down to facts... and what we see vs what we hear.

The NY Canal Corporation started clearing what they termed as "Unsafe Embankment Dams" in our area as part of a Project called EERP, the Earthen Embankment Restoration Project. It started from the Western end of the main Erie Canal in Buffalo and worked it's way to Brockport. The NYCC was very exact about what they wanted to fix, spoke with the public about their plans in several meetings and outlined why this embankment clearing work needed to be done.. they stated:

1) There were Earthen Dams under all those trees lining the Erie Canal in our area...and those dams were Unsafe.

2) The hidden Earthen Dams were being damaged by the woody overgrowth and this type of covering was not allowed on dams of this type

3) Many of these Earthen Dams were nearing 100 years old & had never undergone a proper earthen dam inspection

4) Neighbors of the Erie Canal, living below the dams, were in danger of potential flood due to embankment breaching if the trees remained.

Now some people believed the Canal Management & Project Leaders, and some did not. Some worked with the Canal Corporation on "good faith" thinking they would not be untruthful about Public Safety, and some folks scoffed at safety and have worked against the Embankment safety work from Day #1. But the real proof is is what was said and whether or not it really was the truth.

The New York Canal Corporation submitted a package that included a number set of work zones... that we now know are Earthen Dams.



They also had how large the clearing work would be and the State Safety Level Risk Rating (SLRR) for each Embankment.



They included Maps for these unsafe dams that needed repair



And when they started to clear the embankments off low and behold...they DID find that there were Earthen Dams underneath all that woody vegetation. Here's a section of Dam #37 just East of the Village of Brockport where houses within 50' of the Top of the Dam were virtually invisible. Dam 37 is approximately 1.5 miles long with heights of 18-22 feet above neighborhoods to the North



So as you can see the NY Canal Corporation was spot on with their assessment of the Public Safety Nightmare the Erie Canal had become.

But some still ignored the warnings and stopped the progress of the original EERP Project... but NOT before about 40 Dams were cleared. Those dams are listed on their original project task list, along with about a dozen dam zones that were moved to the new Earthen Embankment Integrity Program. That new program will look at clearing BOTH sides of the waterway and it's apertunate structures, for the entire length of the system...regardless of if the embankment is raised or landcut. Tree clearing is going to happen for the sake of public safety along the canal trail, and the safety of those living below the earth dams sections.


I will document these original 40 EERP Dams in this post.. starting at Dam # 1 just west of Medina, near the old Fruit Ave "Lowbridge" crossing. If nothing more it gives EACH of you a chance to see what Earthen Dams are supposed to look like, and proves those original f safety points made by the Canal Corporation...

It's about Inspection & Safety at the end of the day, regardless of what some may say or think about Erie Canal Embankments
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 12:32:16 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

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Submitted for Inspection... EERP Dam #1
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2020, 08:00:22 pm »
Dam number 1 is listed as one of the smaller sized dams in area.. but it's steep enough and about 25-28' tall... and it has a hole in it.. a culvert.

It's listed on the Canal Project as a Moderate Safety Level and actually has been cleared to move the safety rating back to LOW or None on next inspection. The culvert, which lets a small stream pass under the canal, is accessible to inspect as you can see by the pictures. It looks great, but I have no before pictures to show... maybe others do.


VIEW from the WEST END of Dam


VIEW at the CULVERT


VIEW from the EAST END of Dam
(Note the access to culvert)


EZ CULVERT INSPECTION

So you have seen the pictures...you answer the questions

1) Is it made of Earth?
2) Is it a Dam?
3) Is it now covered with the correct vegetation?
4) Can proper Dam Inspections be performed?

Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

If you can't see the truth with this one...keep going, there are many more examples coming

Doug K

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Submitted for review... Dam #2
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 08:08:31 pm »
Dam was was a highlight compared to Dam #2... rather boring, longer than #1, not nearly as steep but just as high. And the common denominator for Embankment Safety... there were several houses or neighborhoods located below the dam. The top of the water when the canal is full is about 20' above the roofs of these houses.


VIEW from the WEST END of the Dam


VIEW from the CENTER of the Dam
(Note the houses through the trees)


VIEW from the EAST END of the Dam

So two cleared EERP work zones, two water impounding structures that certainly qualify as Earthen Embankments Dams. Obviously more inspection friendly than when they were covered with trees, and as you can see... Erie Canal Neighbors who now have SAFE dams bordering their properties instead of flood hazard, overgrown, dangerous embankments.

But there is more... Dam #3 only has been halfway cleared...take a look

Doug K

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Dam 3 of the original Embankment Project sits right next to Dam #2 which ran from Fruit Ave to the West. On the east side of this old canal bridge crossing is where Dam Three starts. It has been cleared at the very beginning and at the very end, both done for vary different reasons I'm sure. It's a fairly long embankment dam at 3300 ft, about 2/3 mile. It runs between Fruit Ave & Marshall Rd High Bridge.

The western end of Dam 3 is actually now the front yard of an ORIGINAL Erie Canal side home built in 1833, called the Servoss-Hagood House. It's a nice place, well worth a peek and may already have been cleared before this project was done.


VIEW of the House at WEST end of Dam 3


Historic Home Marker

Now moving east from the house the Dam becomes overgrown & untouched by any restoration work. It's also noted that there are no other houses along this section, only a wet area due to another culvert located midway down Dam #3. Note that the culvert itself was cleared, on both sides, and the next post will show a new cleared Dam Inspection Path to allow proper Culvert and Toe of Slope Inspections


UNCLEARED Dam 3 at West End


CLEARED Dam 3 Culvert

The next post in this thread will show the rest of Dam #3

Doug K

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We left off at the Culvert under Dam 3... and that nice new Inspection Path. I didn't walk down it, due to limited time and intermittent snow squalls, but did get a few good pictures. Most likely any uncleared sections along Dam 3 will become part of the new Canal Corporation Embankment Integrity PROGRAM that will fill in the blanks on Erie Canal safety, by making any and all areas along this NY State asset open to safety related earthen dam work, at the discretion of the Canal Corporation workload

http://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/index.html

Here's the rest of Dam 3 Pictures


UNCLEARED East End of Dam 3


Dam 3 Culvert Inspection Path

Now about halfway down Dam 3 from the 1833 house the rest of Dam 3 borders a rather large farmer's field and is cleared from here to the next overpass bridge at Marshall Rd


CLEARED eastern section of Dam 3



Dam 3 leads directly to Dam #4 which is one of the largest, longest and also one of the most unsafe in the entire original Embankment Restoration Project... see the next post

« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 08:37:38 pm by Doug K »

Doug K

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Embankment Dam Restoration in Medina - Dam 4
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2020, 08:47:26 pm »
Dam 4 has a HIGH RISK Rating for Dam Safety, it is 7.5 acres of embankment, and is a continuous earthen embankment dam for 1.5 miles from Marshall Rd High Bridge to Medina Main St Lift Bridge. It was too long to walk the whole thing today due to weather, but I did get three nice pictures to share. It's long, has a couple culverts by the look on Google Maps and is about 16-20' tall so the entire canal, top to bottom, is above the ground level of surrounding areas.


Dam 4 Western End


Dam 4 showing size


Dam 4 EAST end in Medina at Main St Lift Bridge

Maybe Dam 4 was marked High Hazard due to the trees that used to be there, and it's size. In any case it is CLEARED...do you think it qualifies as a Dam?