Author Topic: NY Canal Corporation Earthen Embankment Dam Work Zones Redefined - What is EEIP?  (Read 35 times)

Doug K

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What is EEIP?

It stands for Earthen Embankment Integrity Program, and is the recent brainchild of the NY Canal Corporation to deal with the aging and deteriorating condition of a 100 year old NYS Barge Canal waterway system. It is a long-term approach to repairing the Embankment Dams that line Erie, predominately on the towpath or trail side but these Earthen dams are also found on the flat. "berm" side of the  Barge Canal. So EEIP will become a more holistic approach for the NY Canal Corporation (NYCC) to insure Erie Canal Embankment safety now, and through the 21st Century.

The term Barge Canal is, for all intense and purposes, the same as Erie Canal but historically the Erie Canal lived from 1818-1918 and with it's last transformation to the size we see today, it also became the NY State Barge Canal... and has been dual named from 1918 to present day. Most like the Erie Canal name more, so we will use that here.

If you are familiar with the original NYCC Earthen Embankment Repair Project called EERP you might think the two efforts are the same.. they are not and for very good reasons. EERP was the initial attempt by the Canal Corp to fix a safety problem on their existing dam structures but was met with a heavy "grassroots" resistance. That resistance changed the dialog away from safety and  focused sentiment on the poor trees that were being "killed". Though the NY Power Authority, known as NYPA and serve as managers of the NYCC and Erie Canal, tried to show ample evidence the waterway structures had become unsafe, the protesters managed to keep the focus on trees and not on safety where it belonged.

Sadly this protest group cost the project "millions" in extra taxpayer dollars to prove that these dam structures were deficient, did need repair and they ultimately had to seek support from the NY DEC to verify their embankment safety work was necessary. The protest group did manage to slow the progress of the Embankment Dam Remediation work, but only so the Canal Corporation could better define their plans.

And the result is the new EEIP directive.. an "overall" approach to Erie Canal Earthen Embankment safety that is based on an environmentally sound principles and a safety program that will no be stopped by "technicalities" in the future

Where will EEIP be used in New York State on the Erie Canal?

Currently the original canal EERP project is wrapping up after completing Embankment work in Niagara, Orleans, and W. Monroe Counties. The end of the EERP work is Zone 42 just west of Spencerport... it began at Zone 1 near Lockport/Medina area. The original EER Project had a three phase approach to repairing the Earthen Embankment Dams... 1) Clear all woody Vegetation, 2) Restore grass to the Outboard Slope, and 3) Restore the privacy lost to adjoining neighbors though a Restoration Phase of barrier plantings.

This last step was made necessary as a result of NOT completing a State Environmental Quality Review form or a SEQR as it's known.

The EEI Program will follow were the EER Project ended. It will have significant changes as well.. a clear case of "lessons learned" and being applied by the stewards of the Erie Canal System. Early discussion between the ECNA and the NYCC have made it clear that the EEIP will run more closely to recommended Embankment Dam Remediation steps which are 1) Remove all woody vegetation (trees/brush) & 2) Repair slope and replant grass. These two steps are all that FEMA outlines, it's all that is recommended by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and it's all that is required to insure the safety and INTEGRITY of the Erie Canal Embankment is maintained.

Restorative barrier planting, seen in the EERP locations, will most likely become "optional" and only offered to a neighboring property owners only if the SEQR analysis dictates the need. The biggest change from EERP to EEIP is exactly what the "grassroots" protest effort wanted, there will be SEQR forms completed for each work area, in each county the Erie Canal touches BEFORE any further Embankments are worked on. That State Environmental Quality Review process is currently ongoing and expected completion is October 2019

Here's a map showing approximately more detail.



Here's a list of Erie Canal Embankment Work by County and current progress

EERP Counties: Niagara, Orleans, Western Monroe
(Expected EERP completion will be late 2019, early 2020; it ends with the final Barrier Restoration on neighboring property)

EEIP Counties: E.Monroe, Wayne, Seneca, Onondaga, Madison, Oneida, Herkimer,  Montgomery, Schenectady & Albany.
EEIP: Border Counties: Ontario, Oswego, Fulton, Saratoga, Rensselaer,
(Expected EEIP start will be in late 2019, early 2020; most likely starting in Eastern Monroe County)

As more EEIP project details are shared by the NY Canal Corporation we will post them here on the forum for review

« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 11:53:23 am by Michael Caswell »

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