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Posted by: Doug K
« on: July 02, 2021, 08:15:38 am »

Well it took about a month...and an email or two to the NYS Canal Corporation Public Relations Management, but my "neighbor" finally found their lawnmowers and someone brave enough to run them on a 3:1 Earthen Dam slope.

Slowly the dual-tracked Zero Turn Mower made it's way through 5 feet of "non-woody vegetation" that was planted along the Brockport East Dam.

It does a very good job at both cutting and mulching the clippings so that the grass thatch can build itself up.

After all, that's how grass on Earthen Embankments is supposed to work.

And the track drive on this mower insures less "slip on the slope" and offers the operator as much safety as possible.

And take a look at what a grass covered embankment is supposed to look like... note that the mower even does a good job trimming around all those NEW shrubs that were planted here to act as a Screening Barrier for Erie Canal Neighbors. No string trimmer needed.

This view is looking westward towards Brockport.

And another view of the Earthen Dam that extends eastward. Note the "blue tree" in the top left corner of the picture.

That shows the WATER LEVEL on the "other side" of that earthen dam... which is about 16' tall at our property.

Our yard, below that tallest section is just as deep as the entire canal, we have a board marking the bottom of the Canal in the area that leaks and fills our pond the water weeps out all season.

There are 3 leaks feeding that pond now, before embankment clearing there were NO MARKED LEAKS.

So, for those who seem to be unable to "visualize" what an "earthen embankment dam" looks like, under all that "woody vegetation" covering them now, take a GOOD LOOK.

This is what is coming to your neighborhoods soon, clean, grass covered earthen canal make the Erie Canal safer and also sustainable through it's third century.
Posted by: Michael Caswell
« on: June 03, 2021, 02:56:53 pm »

Good grief Doug!   The last I heard, was from the STCC. They reckoned the embankment was a dry ol' dust bowl with an occasional tuft of grass gasping for a thimble of water.

I guess that is another thing they got wrong, so I don't suppose they'll be rallying around your cause of giving the embankment a haircut.

On the bright side, if you just let the grass flop over and die in the fall, it will make a lovely thatch and protect the slopes!
Posted by: Doug K
« on: June 03, 2021, 11:42:41 am »

It's been about a week since the ECNA reached out to the NYS Canal Corporation regarding the issues Canal Neighbors are having with out of control "vegetation" along the newly uncovered Earthen Embankment Dams in the western sections of the Erie Canal.

This vegetation is the GRASS COVERING that the NYS Canal Corp said HAD to planted, in place of the woody vegetation that used to cover these earthen structures.

The same GRASS that they told their Canal Neighbors, they would maintain regularly, with a prescribed mowing schedule, that would allow for proper Earthen Dam inspections and identification of possible issues with leaks, seeps or animal burrows.

Trees are GONE and STILL those Earthen Dam Inspections can't be performed as needed

Many Erie Canal Neighbors had their doubts on whether that maintenance of the grass would occur, mostly based on the past 75 years of zero embankment maintenance, by the same NEIGHBOR who now says they will "really" take care of this new, safe, earthen dam covering. And true to form, that neighbor is still NOT maintaining their property, properly, in a timely fashion.

Here's what one of the new Embankment Dams looks like now, at least another 9-12 inches of growth on some of the grass... if you can technically call it that.

And the grass is starting to fold over now, from it's own weight, especially with the latest rain. It will be a mess when it gets cut, like a field of Hay or Straw.

Not sure how the Canal Embankment Inspection would identify any animal burrows, but we routinely see woodchucks going in and out of this mess all day long. Hopefully the Canal Corporation strategy isn't to find the woodchucks by looking for a burrow that starts watering someone's yard...unexpectedly.  Scale-wise, to the surround grass height that is, an animal burrow would have to be made by a three foot tall woodchuck to be seen right now, and that may be a stretch. Like some kind of prehistoric woodchuck... Chuck-zilla.

So much for the idea that an absentee neighbor, who neglected their property for years and years, would suddenly become "proactive" and keep that same property maintained like their many neighbors have been doing, for those same 75 years.

Maybe it was just wishful thinking... or maybe Erie Canal Neighbors were convinced by all the promises being made by the new owners of the Canal System, who said they would fix their many embankment safety issues and maintain their property better than the prior owners.

Neither of those two things has happened the way that they promised... still.

One thing is for sure... the VILLAGE we live in would NEVER ALLOW any of my other neighbors to let their grass grow this tall, without giving them a notice to cut it. Slips on the door telling that neighbor to cut their grass, or the Village would, and bill them for that work as well.

Why aren't our Village & Town Governments doing more to help out Erie Canal Neighbors they are supposed to be serving?

What do our tax dollars get used for, if not to SUPPORT Mayors & Town Supervisors who should be calling or emailing the Canal Corporation to DEMAND that they clean up their PROPERTY, cut the GRASS and maintain to the SAME STANDARDS as the rest of the Village or Town?

Why isn't MORE pressure being applied by Erie Canal Community LEADERS?

Just another example of how "redundant" New York State Government is wasting away our tax dollars... Go Read More:

Posted by: Doug K
« on: May 27, 2021, 10:01:46 am »

Maybe the biggest lament of many property owners in local canal communities...their "neighbor" doesn't cut their grass.

Here's my neighbor's property, the grass along our border is now waist-high.

Ours is a rather large property, about 2 acres in a small canal village. It has six other neighboring, adjacent properties. And those property owners with GRASS, do tend to mow their properties regularly, just to meet local village standards... but not this neighbor.

What might be more surprising, this particular neighbor actually employs many people, who's job it is to maintain the property, keep it in good condition, and also insure it's safe.

There were three employees of my neighbor, actually in our yard some years ago now, that PROMISED this type of scenario wouldn't happen, that they would maintain their property "better", as it had become a safety issue to their neighbors.

There are also quite a few other neighbors that share our same sad story about this "absentee owner".

If you haven't guessed it by now, my "neighbor", the one that can't start their lawnmower up, is a New York State Agency, called the NYS Canal Corporation.

The three NY Canal Corporation employees that stood in our yard so many years ago were Dave Mellen, John Callaghan, and Mike Wozniak (sorry Mike) who stated they needed to replace ALL overgrown vegetation on their property, with a fine layer of grass. This change to grass was due to safety issues with having 80' tall trees on a 20' tall earthen dam, that stretched about a mile or so East of Brockport Village. They informed us that their property was actually an unsafe earthen dam, and Federal/State Guidelines had to be met to protect the public living near their property.

My neighbor did eventually remove that overgrowth, they did plant new grass, and even managed to plant some natural screening shrubs as a privacy barrier to help mitigate the issues caused by their embankment safety work.

They not only uncovered an earthen dam, but in the process they also exposed their neighbors to the thousands of "guests" that they allow to use their Canal Maintenance Road, aka...the Empire Trail. That uncovering was even more of an impact to their neighbors than any work they did to repair their dam.

Maybe for the first time, most neighbors of this property realized that the owners have little to NO CONTROL of the people they allow to use their property or their Trail.

And what about my neighbor's promises regarding the "necessary work" of clearing embankment dams...?

Canal Neighbors were PROMISED that the embankment grass would be maintained to a 6-12" height, mowed at least twice per year.

Canal Neighbors were PROMISED that the NY Canal Corporation would be "better stewards" of the property under their new leadership with NYPA, the New York Power Authority. They would keep their property properly maintained, "like surrounding properties" and in compliance with Dam Safety Guidelines

Take a look and see if you think they kept their promise...

Yes, that's an empty Erie Canal you see in the picture, because there are EMERGENCY REPAIRS being made in the western section of the canal, due to leaking earthen embankments, which are still causing headaches for the Canal Corporation.

My neighbor happens to owns a  statewide canal system, and miles of earthen embankment dams, many that are leaking.

From their own Notice Reporting system, it appears that the entire NY Canal system is in critical decay mode right now, many of the Locks are not working properly, there are reduced water depth and obstructed water travel, with Guard Gates being lowered to protect the crumbing infrastructure that has been built upon a bed of earthen embankments and sandy loam soil. It's a mess, but no one seems to care, except neighbors to this "hot mess".

And I suppose that stopping another possible breach in the canal in Brockport, like what happened in Macedon/Palmyra recertly, should rise to the top of their "To Do List", beating out the need to mow their dam grass.

But one would think the NY Canal Corporation & NYPA should have NOT promised to plant & mow "new grass covered dams", if they weren't going to be able to handle the task of keeping water inside those same earthen embankments at the same time that the embankments needed general grass maintenance

Poor planning on my neighbor's part? Maybe.

A lack of understanding of how bad their Canal System had become? Maybe.

A slap in the face to their NEIGHBORS, that they had zero confidence in their "track record" of upkeep on the Canal? Definitely.

Mr. Mellen, Mr Callaghan... sorry, but many of your neighbor's "told you so", even though we hate to say it. Mr. Brian Stratton, you are the CEO of the NYS Canal System...the buck should stop with you. Can you make the phone call to YOUR boss and get the OK to cut grass in Brockport?

Please, if you are listening to your neighbors, come and mow your "dam grass" sometime soon, before the new shrubs you just spent $1,000,000 on get overtaken by ragweed, thistle, and broom corn.

And then do what you promised your neighbors, KEEP IT THAT WAY!