Author Topic: Erie Canal Embankment & Trail work is now COMPLETE... see the latest pictures.  (Read 1310 times)

Doug K

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First of all, full disclosure, because that's always best when you are listening to anyone talking about the Erie Canal &  Earthen Embankments. There are a few folks out there with some strange views about this work, and there are quite a few Canal Neighbors who simply do not want to see the danger in their own backyard.

I am an Erie Canal Neighbor and my wife & I live BELOW the waterline of a newly repaired earthen embankment that was deemed unsafe in 2017. Our embankment had vegetation removed in 2018, grass planted in 2019, and a year of embankment stabilization in 2020. Finally in 2021 the original project of fixing canal embankments has reached the final phase of "restoration" here, that is restoring the privacy and peace of mind we had before this work started.

Seeing the culmination of this New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC) Earthen Embankment Restoration Project (EERP) play out over 4 years has been "interesting" to say the least. We have learned quite a bit about the canal, and how it's run by New York State, and also the major differences between the neighbors that live along the canal and the many "guests" of the Canal Corporation, who walk along the Top of the Embankment Dams along what's called the Empire Trail.

For some of us NEIGHBORS, this EERP work has only been yet another issue to divide neighborhoods, friends, & family. Hopefully with the final stages of Embankment Restoration completing now, those neighborhoods & old relationships will start to heal.

For some of the GUESTS of the NYSCC, the changes being made to the Erie Canal, in the name of Public Safety, have been something to "resist & protest", simply due to lack of understanding what the real, tangible problems are with 100 year old earthen dams and running a 200 year old water "highway".

But after you look at the final set of PICTURES that will be posted here, you decide what is better for the sustainability of the Canal System, the safety of Trail Users & Neighbors living below these embankments and whether or not the NYS Canal Corporation delivered on their promise of a safe, grass-covered embankment and privacy restored to those neighbors who needed it.


Just so that we are clear about the FUNDAMENTAL reason for the NYS Canal Corporation's EERP work.. it was to remove unwanted, over grown vegetation and replant grass covering, the only vegetation approved for this type of earthen, water impounding structure. That is shown in this picture.




And some Canal Neighboring properties required a NATURAL privacy barrier planting, to mitigate issues caused by the clearing of the overgrown vegetation that was on the embankments for the past 75 years. It looks like this.




Drum Roll Please...


Here's a nice view of our "east" embankment... part of a 1 mile long Earthen Dam. The pictures were taken from relatively the same spot and show Before Vegetation Removal, After Grass Planting and now with a fully RESTORED privacy barrier. Note that the new barrier vegetation is only placed at the very TOP of the embankment, where a shrubs & bushes of this size would be allowed. Also note that the unwanted vegetation was 60 - 80 feet tall and the new variety has a peak height of about 12 -15'




What a difference, right? Well here's the view looking west from almost the same spot... an even more pronounced affect on the neighborhood.





So I will ask again, why would anyone complain about getting a SAFER Earthen Embankment that looked like this?

Nothing was "clear-cut" as some have been claiming.

And others, who have been opposed to this work have stated that a lack of oxygen would occur due to all the trees being removed.

The plan all along was clear here, remove the WRONG vegetation on the Earthen Dams and REPLACE it with the allowed & approved vegetation.

The Canal Corporation will soon announce that they actually have REPLACED the cleared away embankment vegetation, mostly large overgrown or dead Willows & Cottonwoods, with over 1700 new plantings. As many as 6 different varieties and many are evergreen types, providing year round privacy screening for the neighbors living below. They may also be stating that they replanted MORE than they removed, along the 25+ miles of Embankments they cleared as part of this EERP effort.

But sadly that still will NOT matter to a few individuals in the Rochester and surrounding suburbs. Because some people simply do not accept "any changes" in  Life as well as others might. It's all part of the Science of Change, which shows a set pattern that most people take, when confronted by a significant change or event in their life "bubbles".

It's outlined below in the image, and comments made are mine.






I have taught classes on the Science of Change, to many people in my career, and I will ask you the same question... based on this particular change along the Erie Canal.

What Stage of Change are you at, when it comes to clearing unsafe Canal Embankment vegetation and replacing with grass and approved greenery?

More pictures will be added as the Winterberry & Dogwood shrubs start to get their new leaves, which will no doubt help the privacy aspect of this new Restoration Barrier planting. If any other Canal Neighbors want to share their own embankment restoration pictures please do so.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 09:48:22 am by Doug K »