Author Topic: Embankment Maintenance or Clear-Cutting, what's the real difference?  (Read 89 times)

Doug K

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As an Engineer I understand the value of correct definitions, they are integral to understanding and solving everyday problems, no matter how easy or complex.

And as an Engineer I also understand that without actually spelling definitions out and agreeing on what the proper definition of "something" might be, all parties are left to "their own opinions" on what actually defines the subject, the problem, the solutions etc.

And that leads to discourse on what should be simple understanding of common sense and the written laws of the State.

That seems to be the problem with Erie Canal Embankment Maintenance, it's definition isn't well understood by the general public, and the NY State Laws and REQUIREMENT around water-impounding, earthen structures are not well accepted.

Especially by those who are fighting against fixing the problems with the Canal System.


So what is Embankment Maintenance and why is it so important?

The New York State Canal Corporation has just released a new Embankment Maintenance Handbook. It can be found here:

 https://www.nyscanalintegrity.org/


https://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/DGEIS/2021-03-09_DRAFT_FINAL_Embankment_Maintenance_Guidebook.pdf

This Embankment Maintenance manual was part of a 3 year effort by New York Power Authority and NYS Canals, to fully understand the issues with the Erie Canal, it's Earthen Embankments, and what would be needed to insure NY State residents are kept safe, from an aging, weary 100 year old, Erie Canal.

This MANUAL was born out of a lawsuit filed by those who oppose any "clear-cutting" (as they call this) of the natural surroundings of the Erie Canal.


Never mind the fact that the Erie Canal is "man-made" and is a series of linked earthen embankments that suspend and hold water above the surrounding topography of most towns and villages it passes through.

The Canal Corporation has made it clear that they have an "embankment safety" issue, and are in the process of clearing up their overgrown property, and in their manual they have made their case strongly in support of their embankment safety work.

The new manual states quite frequently what happens if they do NOT clear embankments of invasive vegetation and replace it with the ONLY approved covering for Earthen Embankment Dams in NY State... terrible, catastrophic floods

The NYS Canal plan: remove all "unapproved & invasive" vegetation that would be REPLACED with standard turf grass & clover, cut & maintained to a height of 12-18".

Simply put... Embankment Maintenance is what is done to prevent Earthen Dams from breaching and causing FLOODS... it's removal of trees off dams for public safety.


Go Take a look at some pictures of Embankments that are cleared: https://www.nyscanalintegrity.org/gallery-3



So if the normal clearing of earthen water impoundments is referred to as Embankment Maintenance, what is the definition of "clear-cutting"?

Well it's when trees are harvested from a section of "land" for profit, according to most DEFINITIONS. No other reason, public safety isn't involved, it's not for any other purpose than to sell those trees for the value of the wood.

There are some valid reasons for clear cutting to protect the public but most times it's considered in the negative way.

Trees are removed, tree stumps are left, cutting debris all over, and it stays that way until "nature" covers it up again.

Now there are some "clear-cutting" areas done FOR the SAFETY of the public, we have all seen these but maybe not realized it. The way that main powerlines in the State are ALWAYS cleared of any vegetation.

Around the Rochester area many of the highways have been having 50' of trees cleared away. Who hasn't seen where they cut huge swaths of forest as "fire breaks" to hopefully stop the advance of a forest fire?

And the Canal Corporation is NOT selling wood, they are not just leaving stumps around to rot, they are removing them all and replanting grass & wildflowers, after they properly repair and inspect their earthen dam surface.

This is hardly "clear-cutting" as some might say it is. In every other part of the world it's called Dam Maintenance.


But for those who want to know what clear-cutting looks like, I did manage to find an article about someone that did "clear-cut" in Virginia, over 400 trees.

And it wasn't for the wood value, it wasn't to protect the public from a fire, none of these trees were a danger, like those along the Erie Canal.

Nope, these trees in Virginia were cut because the property owner wanted a better "view". He wanted his friends to enjoy the property with less trees and views of the river alongside.

Can you guess who this "genius" was? Everyone knows him.


Wait....


Here it comes....



Former-President Donald Trump





https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-news/about-a-dozen-trees-cut-dumped-into-potomac-river-at-trump-golf-club-in-va/2019/02/28/992ce89a-3a14-11e9-a06c-3ec8ed509d15_story.html



Please support Erie Canal System Embankment MAINTENANCE activities in New York State.

Help the NYS Canal Corporation do it's JOB and clear these unsafe Erie Canal Embankments. Support Canal Integrity & Sustainability.


Please sign our Petition Here:


https://www.change.org/p/join-your-neighbors-support-vegetation-removal-from-erie-canal-for-safety
« Last Edit: February 08, 2022, 04:18:41 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

  • ECNA Co-Founder
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  • Posts: 977
  • Location: Brockport
    • ECNA US Website
And so you all understand, as an Engineer might, the outcome stated in the new Embankment Maintenance Manual if FLOODS... so maybe go and take a look at a few from 2021 in other parts of the world, from other canals.

Here's a few Links and headlines, of other Canals, that either got required maintenance or they eventually flooded...



INDIA


https://youtu.be/q5BiCfIfaIE

https://ommcomnews.com/odisha-news/breach-in-indravati-south-canal-embankment-floods-farmland-in-kalahandi

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x81vc9j



ENGLAND


https://youtu.be/_FvIGvTauvg

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/yorkshire-and-north-east/aire-and-calder-navigation-breach

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/goole-snaith-flooding-embankment-collapse-5348844


UNITED STATES

https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/flood-control/keeping-row-clear

https://www.niagara-gazette.com/news/local_news/state-looks-to-resume-erie-canal-tree-clearance/article_7f4b89c0-77cb-5492-950e-ad56e2861a72.html

https://auburnpub.com/news/local/erie-canal-levels-lowered-in-macedon-after-creek-bank-collapse/article_5faa6aa3-5f8b-54ec-a618-6d16f3a50713.html

https://whcuradio.com/news/025520-severe-flooding-hits-parts-of-upstate-new-york-closes-part-of-erie-canal/


And if you still think that "these embankments aren't going anywhere" maybe go and read this post:

https://ecna.createaforum.com/links-to-documents/that-dam-is-not-going-anywhere!/


What do Embankments look like AFTER they have been maintained you ask?

Go and see for yourself




https://youtu.be/vfffYuitLBs

https://ecna.createaforum.com/general-discussion/erie-canal-embankment-trail-work-is-now-complete-see-the-latest-pictures/