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Posted by: Doug K
« on: June 21, 2018, 01:21:30 pm »

Hi all,

One of the main goals of the Vegetation Management / Remediation project, besides making these dams safer, is to enable the NY Canal Corp (NYCC) to properly INSPECT these Earthen Embankments on a regular basis. Currently there are many areas where the Embankments haven't been inspected at all for over 75 years. It's a serious issue that is being fixed, once completed I'm sure more thorough Inspections will occur. Regular Inspections are required on the entire dam. 

The basic premise here is simple: Earthen Dams are ONLY safe if routine Inspections are performed from the TOP & BOTTOM of the Embankments

Here's a GREAT post with a link to a very comprehensive Embankment Dam Inspection Guide

According to NYCC the current Canal Inspectors will soon start inspecting these Embankments following prescribed guidelines and in a more methodical manner. Currently Canal Walkers have ONLY inspected by looking down the slopes from the Erie Canal Trail (ECT). With all the trees in the way, all the vegetation covering the slope surface these past inspections have been hampered to say the least.

None of the dams have been examined from the Toe of Slope looking upward to the ECT in many years, even though that is the best method to see leakage issue properly. Having a uniform covering on the Embankment is still another benefit to these Inspectors. Just like in our own yards the grass that has more water always is a little greener, always a little taller between cuts. Toe of Slope inspection is critical.

Once the Erie Canal Embankments become grass-covered, these routine Inspections will be easier to perform, and much more effective. But that does come at a cost. Plan now for Canal Walkers doing their Inspections from TWO locations, one is from the ECT looking down slope like today. The other will be new for all of us living adjacent to the Embankment Slopes. On their "return walk" those Canal Walkers will most likely be inspecting along the BOTTOM of the slopes (along the Toe) looking upward. They are looking for water issues, burrowing animals and other items on their checklists. That will mean we may see them along each of our properties anytime of the day during daylight hours.

Just a heads up... maybe get to know them and help point out issues on your own properties if needed to assist them. It is just another by-product of making AND keeping the Erie Canal safe. It will be a big change for some who've never had Canal Walker/Inspectors along their property borders. Remember this.. they are just doing their JOBS.. trying to insure WE are all that much safer when the Erie Canal is Full

For those interested in Earthen Embankment Inspections, I've included links to a website as well as several Guides & Tutorials. I've linked to a shared folder on Google Drive in some cases due to file size and limitations in this Forum for attachments


FEMA - Vegetation Guide on Earthen Dams -

TADS - Embankment Inspection Guide -