Author Topic: Four Little Words - No Trees on Dams  (Read 279 times)

Doug K

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Four Little Words - No Trees on Dams
« on: November 17, 2021, 12:47:15 pm »
It's only 4 words.. No Trees On Dams.

And those words are supported by EVERY Federal agency that has to deal with Emergencies & Floods that are the result of failing dams that inundate US communities.

From FEMA, the the US Army Corps of Engineers, even to the US Congress that has passed Dam Safety Legislation to insure citizens are safe from devastating floods in a country with 10s of thousands of aging dam systems. And all but one State in the United States of America has some sort of Dam Safety Guidelines, Rules or Regulations, that directs Dam Owners to insure their water impounding structures are inspected on a regular basis and maintained according to approved standards for the type of dam it is, earthen, cement, rock-filled... the list goes on.

And if you look at those state regulations you will see a theme... that is centered on Four Little Words:

No Trees on Dams

So lets take a look at what some of those other states, including New York State, say about how dams should be maintained, and what if any role, "trees" should play.

Here's maybe one of the best we found that sums up almost all others in our Country...from Virginia

And of course the leading authority on Dam Safety is the ASDSO, Association of State Dam Safety Officials. Here's a great article by one of their lead contributors on the subject. The ECNA has had discussions with this author and he agrees with those four little words... "No Trees on Dams"

And here's more from the ASDSO and the State of New York, who's very specific on Trees near Dams.

So you see the theme here?

These states (and the ASDSO) all agree that universally having trees on dams, especially EARTHEN dams, will cause more issues, weaken the dam, and promote a seeps & breaches. Trees will cause more impoundment harm and obscure critical earthen dam structural issues, than providing benefits that could come from having trees grow where they shouldn't be... on a Dam.

Let's take a look at what a couple more States say aboutNo Trees on Dams, Nebraska & Massachusetts.

Many states actually send out Dam Safety Newsletters, to insure that LOCAL dam owners, including municipalities, understand the State directives on Dam Safety in their State. Many times these come from the DEC for that state, other times it's from a dedicated State Dam Safety resource or group.

Here's a couple from Wisconsin & New Jersey, that say the same thing... No Trees on Dams.

So... why do I bring this all up you ask?

The New York State Canal Corporation has made the SAME statement... No Trees on Dams.

They have created an entire Embankment Integrity PROGRAM to deal with the issue of public safety, in and around the NYS Canal System. They have cleared many miles of unsafe dams on the western and eastern ends of the Canal System already, still more than 100 miles left to rehabilitate. You can read about that here:

The NYS Canal Corporation is the OWNER of over 125 miles of earthen embankment dams, that line the edges of the Erie Canal system. These are water impounding embankments that the owners say are unsafe, because trees were allowed to grow where MOST STATES would not allow them to... on Earthen Dams.

They, the NYS Canal Corporation, have a sound & reasonable plan to fix their dam safety issues, but some local "grassroots" group has built a campaign of misinformation & deception to stop this public safety effort along the Erie. Sadly, those statement about the danger of trees on dams are not being accepted by even more people in New York State as a result. In fact, this group is on Facebook (of course) and are in complete "denial" about the safety issues cause by trees growing on dams... they think shade is more important than safety.

Specifically this is a small contingent of people who believe that "Erie Canal Dams don't need to follow NYS Dam Safety Rules"... just because they "say so", no experts, no supporting data. They don't believe it will "look good" after the danger trees are removed. And most do not even believe that these embankments are actually earthen dams at all.

Worse yet, this Facebook group is located in an Erie Canal town, in perhaps one of the most dangerous areas of any canal community... Perinton NY.

There are 8 square miles of Perinton, mostly on the westside, that is at an elevation of 415-420' above sea level.

The Erie Canal, which is almost entirely built on raised earthen embankment dams in Perinton, meanders through this Town at 463' above sea level.

You do the math... it's a recipe for a catastrophe.

And when that disaster happens, because the dam owners have said it is a real possibility, we can all blame Facebook... for not policing their problems with rampant misinformation.

AND Erie Canal Neighbors caught in the mudslide & flood, well they can also blame the Citizens of Perinton, for allowing Facebook and a few "idealistic" residents to decide the fate of those who drowned in an Erie Canal Flood.... cause by an embankment that broke... because someone didn't heed the those four little words...

No Trees on Dams!!!

Go read more about this Facebook group here:

« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 12:50:41 pm by Doug K »