Author Topic: What happens if Erie Canal Embankments are NOT cleared, inspected & maintained?  (Read 55 times)

Doug K

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While a small segment of the Monroe County population (who lives near or walks along the NYS Canal System) is debating whether Erie Canal Embankments are actually "unsafe dams", there are thousands of  Monroe County residents who are still living under the threat of what the NYS Canal Corporation has termed "unsafe earthen embankments".

In fact, the NYS Canal folks have dedicated an entire website to this canal safety cause -

And many of those county residents are Canal Neighbors, who still wonder what they need to do about insuring their safety, and the safety of their home & families, including whether to buy FLOOD INSURANCE as an extra layer of protection.

So we dusted off this old FEMA Flood Insurance Forum Board to open up that Flood Insurance discussion once again... because there are still some in our community that are fighting against Erie Canal Embankment Maintenance & Safety Efforts.

And our advice to any Erie Canal Neighbor will always be the same... If you are worried about the leaky, tree-covered, uninspected, unsafe Earthen Erie Canal Embankment in your "backyard", buy Flood Insurance NOW, while it is not "mandatory" for your location, Village or Town.

If you are NOT in a Flood Zone, and call your local agent about Flood Insurance, the cost will be about equal to your current Home Owners Insurance cost, for that Flood Insurance Policy addition... and you will have peace of mind, just in case the Erie Canal decides to wash away your home.

It's  a known fact that when FEMA changes it's Flood Hazard Mapping, making any area fall into a new Flood Zone Rating of A or anything starting with an A, the rates on a Flood Insurance policy can go up as much as 3X - 5X the cost of that base homeowners policy.

And the only place that people can purchase said insurance AFTER maps change, is the FEMA based NFIP organization... National Flood Insurance Program


While some local canal walkers on social media were saying there is "nothing wrong" with Erie Canal Embankments, the NYS Canal Corporation, under the watchful eye of their new parent, New York Power Authority (NYPA), was BUSY having their entire Canal System inspected, videos of the entire Erie Canal Trail were made (similar to Google Maps) and Canal Engineers were on the ground assessing overall Canal System safety, including embankments, sluices, and trails.

The result was several updates to their Embankment Integrity SEQR documents, including to ALL of the FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping in Monroe County.

Here's the blurb that showed up one day on the NYS Canal Embankment Integrity Technical Documents page

To show the changes we have selected the Towns of Pittsford & Perinton FEMA Flood Maps that have been recently updated by NYPA. It's just to show how simple it is to update a Flood Zone Map, that could cost you as a homeowner THOUSANDS of DOLLARS in extra "required insurance" that may not have been there when you bought the home.

Here's the current FEMA Flood Map last updated in 2008, note the size of the area shaded as Flood Zone

And here's an updated version, which has expanded that Flood Zone quite a bit, and now made most of it based on the "elevation" of the property/structure. That is what the Flood Zone - AE stands for. So depending on if you have a home that is ground level, or raised up 3-4 feet with a foundation and steps, your cost for Flood insurance will be based on the "expected" depth of the water during a flood event.

That base elevation has not been stated on this map, but with the Erie Canal at 463' above sea level in these two Towns, and much of the property at 400-420', it's not hard to imagine that the flood elevation may require that three to four feet. And basements will still be flooded...


So, the REAL question is what if FEMA were to look at the new NYS Canal Corporation Earthen Embankment website that now shows where the Earthen Embankments are located in Pittsford & Perinton?

If FEMA went to look at those canal embankments they would see that they are NOT up to NYS Code, and also not up to FEDERAL code.

If FEMA looked for records of past safety inspection records, they wouldn't find very many, if there are any at all... they would see that many have had no inspections at all.

FEMA would find a 2015 report from the NYS Comptroller office stating the Canal System was in dire shape, needing immediate repair. And another 2018 NYS Report that showed Dam Safety in NY was being ignored, and had to be remedied...for the safety of the public in and around these water-impounding structures.

FEMA would also find about 400 pages of a NYS SEQR Environmental Report that says the Erie Canal is an accident waiting to happen... and the result is a devastating flood, loss of life & property and an environmental disaster that will take "years to recover from" according to that State Environmental Quality Review, recently filed by NYPA on behalf of the Canal Integrity Program.

FEMA would also probably find  that many Canal homeowners did NOT have flood insurance, because some in the local population ignored the dire warnings from the NYS Canal System owners. Those people were influenced by social media and formed a group that tried to turn Canal Embankment Safety into a "cause to save the environment".

The question is simple....

Do you think that FEMA will IGNORE the fact that the majority of two Towns in New York State, Pittsford & Perinton, are under the threat of flood water from EIGHT high hazard embankments along 10 - 12 miles of the Erie Canal?

That flood water is approximately 46 MILLION GALLONS of water per mile, based on the size of the Erie Canal "prism", 500 million gallons TOTAL

What happen when FEMA sees MAPS that show the NYS Canal Corporation and PUBLIC UTILITY PROVIDER, New York Power, own miles & miles of UNSAFE EARTHEN DAMS?

That's the big question, and one that those who walk along the Erie Canal Trail, who are opposing the removal of "trees", really don't care about...

Because it doesn't come out of their pocket
« Last Edit: February 27, 2022, 11:46:00 am by Doug K »

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