Erie Canal Neighbors Association

General Category => ECNA Neighborhood News => Topic started by: Doug K on January 27, 2020, 08:45:07 am

Title: Farewell Message from an ECNA Founder... Carry On.
Post by: Doug K on January 27, 2020, 08:45:07 am
To my Erie Canal Neighbors... and all who have taken the time to listen to one on this Forum.

There comes a time when those who start something, hand it off to the next crew to refine & improve that work. It's that time for me, and that work, is the ECNA Forum. It's the start of a conversation, that will keep going for years as the Canal Corporation transforms itself and the NY State Canal System

Here's what I want to leave you with, just so you can understand how easy your decision should be, that is the decision of whether to support safety changes to the NY Canal System or not. In the end THAT is what this whole Embankment Integrity Program is all about... fixing a safety problem so that the Barge Canal can starts it's transformation into a 21st century NY Cornerstone.

LEARN FROM WHAT YOU HAVE READ
In October of 2017 my wife & I had to make a decision...to blindly fight a canal project that was 35' from my back door, or learn what it was about and why management from the NY Canal Corporation was standing in our backyard telling us some crazy story about an unsafe embankment dam. My wife and I were told this was safety problem, that the "hill" behind our house was "unsafe", and that all of the trees, about 400 feet of them (that shielded us from the canal path) had to go. They said the embankment had a high hazard rating that shows possible "loss of life" if repairs to the dam are not made soon. Wait...dam?

I'm an Engineer, and have heard, and used those same "safety" arguments before in my own career... but the Canal Maintenance Director told me about two documents that I should read...one from FEMA, the other from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Those were both on Earthen Dams, and said they would explain everything to me. And if I had questions...contact him.

Well I read, and he was right... earthen embankments DO have to be covered with grass, not trees, for a whole host of reasons that are covered well in this Forum. The important part... the Canal Corporation isn't lying about the issues with safety and how the canal has fallen into disrepair to the point that it has become unsafe. Earthen embankments also all leak, which explained quite a bit to us as well. We have fought excess water problems for years living here.

That's all anyone should need to make the right choice... we should always side on more safety and less risk to the public. When it comes to dams, especially earthen type, there is no question that trees have to be removed. It's just to insure that "if" anything might happen the folks who fix embankments can get their machines & material in to stop the flood..to save lives.

Clean clear dams are easier to inspect, inspected dams are easier to keep safe... can anyone disagree with this statement?

That alone should be enough reason to support canal embankment integrity work... think about it.

We thought we might have to fight this embankment clearing work at first, but the facts, the data, those two manuals say it all. Your choice is either to understand that this is the way to fix the unsafe dam problem, or you can ignore public safety and say tree are good too.

My wife and I have since come to know many of the Canal Corporation leaders and are still working on our own solutions for restoring our lost privacy. And we also have a 400 foot long grass covered earthen embankment dam, right out our back door now. We used to think it was just a "hill", a tree covered piece of ground that no one ever took care of. Now we know it's really a small section of an earthen dam that is about a mile and a half long. That dam is holding back water that would cover most of my neighbors houses over the ground floor if it burst.

If you want to argue about whether all of this clearing is about a safety issue or not with NY Power Auth. & NY Canal Corp, you will have a hard time convincing them Canal safety is "OK" when they see the canal falling apart at it's seams.

It's been a love hate relationship with the Canal Corporation for us, but they are not lying about safety, as has been suggested. They are trying to fix an unsafe NY canal system, and it would and should be in no one's best interest to stand in the way of that work.

It comes down to a question of Public Safety...across the entire state, all along the NYS Barge Canal

FAREWELL & GOOD LUCK
So, it's time to pass the torch on, to let others start to turn the conversation a little more to public safety and how Erie Canal Neighbors play a role in that safety. This Forum was meant to be a place to come and discuss issues we as neighbor's have, with a shared neighbor...the NYS Canal Corporation. They are watching what goes on here, they are listening to their neighbors after so many years of ignoring them. Take advantage of that opportunity if you care at all about the "neighborhood".

For you folks living right next to cleared canal embankments, like Sandy & I, it's our yards that the canal leaks into and that is the first signal a leak is happening. If we don't recognize it then, we risk many of our neighbor's lives..it's up to 327 neighbors for the western canal section to be the first line of defense for seeing canal issues.

For those of you living next canal embankments, those still in the path of the Embankment Integrity Program, my best advice is what I received more than two years ago:

Read these two publications, not as an "option" for work to be done, but as the only way to remove the issue with Unsafe Canal Embankments next to your home:

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1446-20490-2338/fema-534.pdf

https://www.publications.usace.army.mil/Portals/76/Publications/EngineerTechnicalLetters/ETL_1110-2-583.pdf

Thank you all for listening, sharing and being interested enough to get involved with public safety & the canal. Good luck, God Bless.
Title: Re: Farewell Message from an ECNA Founder... Carry On.
Post by: Doug K on January 31, 2020, 03:01:06 pm

Q: Where are you going & why are you leaving?

A: Not far, just working on some new initiatives to kick-start the ECNA... time to stretch out.

Here's our new presence on Twitter under @ECNA_US

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I'll be spending some time engaging other Canal Communities through this tool

And then there is the Main Erie Canal Neighbors Association website... Mike would like a hand with that and I get to learn about webpages a bit more. Look for some nice articles to post up there, different than the Forum, much wider audience. Thanks for the question, thanks for listening.

https://ecna.us/

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