Author Topic: Current Erie Canal FEMA Flood Rating  (Read 54 times)

Doug K

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Current Erie Canal FEMA Flood Rating
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:42:34 pm »
For those new to this topic, a big concern of folks living below the waterline of the Barge Canal has been possibility of mandatory Flood Insurance by FEMA as a result of this Vegetation Management / Embankment Remediation Project. There are many Flood Ratings ranging from a set of Zone A (highest) through Zone D (lowest). If FEMA changes a rating to Zone A for an area, people living in that area will need to purchase Flood Insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP for short.

Currently FEMA has placed a Zone A (High) Rating on the INSIDE of the canal, with that zone extending around main culverts, sluice ways & other flood control structures. As long as The Erie Canal and all of its structures are maintained to FEMA standards, the risk of Flood is considered under control and no need to extend the Zone A rating. The Erie Canal Corporation has made it clear many of the 122 miles of Earthen Embankments used to contain the water in the canal have become unsafe over time, the fundamental reason for their new endeavor to clean up embankments. They are repairing those embankments with the highest populations nearby as those have the worst safety ratings from the recent Rizzo Engineering Inspection Report.

There are special Zone A ratings used when ANY dam is under Remediation, Zone A99. This rating could be placed on ALL areas around the Embankment WHILE the repairs are being made. Once completed those areas normally return to their prior ratings. Rating changes are made based on potential risk as well as how that risk is managed. The NYCC has initiated this project in part to insure they are correcting long standing issues but also to prevent the need for FEMA involvement and changes to their own Flood Zone Rating.

NYCC has a plan to bring the risk down greatly by bringing this 100 year old Embankment Dam up to today's FEMA standards without a MAJOR rebuild of the waterway. Clearing large vegetation & replacing with approved turf grass is the plan to restore the safety of the Erie Canal. Fighting that repair plan will not advance safety, in fact that threatens it further by delaying much needed remediation. If progress on Remediation is not seen as moving along at an acceptable pace or stopped due to "outside influences",  you can bet FEMA will take notice.

If you live below the Barge Canal, either directly adjacent to the Embankment under repair or one of the thousands of home & business owners living below these dams, you should be aware of the consequences of opposing this safety project. Many who have opposed the NYCC on this project do not live below the canal, are not threatened by potential flooding & certainly will not bear the cost of MANDATORY Flood Insurance should FEMA get involved. Be sure you understand the WHOLE problem before you chose which side you support.

The Erie Canal is 200 years old, the Barge Canal turned 100 this year.. FEMA is barely 40. Most of the Erie Canal ratings are "grandfathered" in most likely. Pease don't let those with NO Risk decide what happens to those with ALL the risk of an unsafe Dam in your communities.

Support the Erie Canal Remediation Project... Support a Safety First, Safety Always plan.

I've included what a typical FEMA map includes, showing Zone Ratings & Streets... the files are for Brockport East & West sides

For more information on FEMA Flood Zones & Mapping use the links below
Flood Map Portal -
Flood Zones Defined -
Flood Zone A -

This is the BEST site to check your own FEMA Flood Maps...this link is set for Brockport Zip code. Copy, Paste & Change the 14420 to your own:
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 02:14:20 pm by Doug K »

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