Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
Two recent posts on the ECNA Forum addressing some common myths being circulated around Rochester

Myth 1: The new Barge Canal has ONLY broken once, in Bushnell's Basin in 1974 when it was caused by human error

Myth 2: As Taxpayers in NY State our money pays for the Erie Canal, which gives us the right to protect changes

Go and read this for yourself...and decide if these statements are true of false

It's simply amazing what you can find on the Internet...especially about something that has become as controversial as the NY State Barge Canal... more myth busting by the Erie Canal Neighbors Association.

It's been said by a certain group, fighting against any and all changes being undertaken along the Canal System, that "they" are "owners" of the Erie Canal, and that ownership gives them a right to stand in the way of Embankment Integrity work, stand in front of any Reimagine the Canal efforts, and object to anything else they feel isn't in the best interest of their group.

Hold the phone... this news article appears to contradict all of that. In fact, it now appears that with the recent change of ownership of the NY Canal System to New York Power in 2017, NY Taxpayers are NO LONGER on the hook to pay for the annual losses incurred trying to manage, maintain and operate this historical waterway.

New York Power Authority is now picking up the tab for the Canal System, as it has been doing since April 2016

If you read down through this article you will come to a section talking about the fact that the operation of the NY Canals has been "in the red" for many years, at the expense of both NY State Taxpayers and also NYS Thruway users who help subsidize the canal with Thruway tolls.

That all ended when NYPA took over the ownership & operation of the whole system

Read that statement from the NY Power Authority again:

In a written statement to NPR, the Power Authority says revenue from its hydropower plants, not taxpayers, is funding the canals from now on.

In the move to new ownership many things changed, besides the ongoing work to insure the Canal system is safe & sustainable for the next 100 years. We now understand that the move also means that costs to operate the canal  moved as well. No longer a burden on taxpayers, cost to operate, even at a loss, will be covered by the NY Power folks.

Any argument put forth, that say the public has a "right" to stand in the way of Canal public safety repair programs, or fight changes in how the NYS Canal system is managed or "Reimagined" based on the statement that "we all pay for the Erie Canal as taxpayers" is simply not true.. it's a bogus claim now that New York Power are the new owners.

This idea that "taxpayers" own the Erie Canal has been a major talking point by a group of "concerned citizens" who feel they have a right to interfere in decisions being made about canal safety & operation.

It now appears that the argument from this group can't hold water any better than the Barge Canal's unsafe embankments... another busted myth.

It's not hard to imagine that a canal system, one that has 500+ miles of total waterway to travel, would have some issues with leaks, breakage and other water containment problems. Of course you would need two things to understand if there was truly a public safety issue:

1) An open mind to understand & accept the information you find
2) A good Google keyword search to locate the critical information

As an Engineer for many years in my career, I have had to do both.

What I found odd about the topic of Canal Safety was a statement made by the Facebook Group called Stop the Canal Clear Cut about Canal Breaks in their website, in all the public meetings that they attended. They were saying that the "only" time the newer NYS Barge Canal ever broke (and flooded) was in 1974, at Bushnell's Basin, when a canal breach & flood was caused by Canal Workers doing some culvert repairs. They claimed that the Canal is just fine, no problems and if the Canal Corporation would leave it alone they wouldn't cause the same issues they did in 1974. They stated to all who would listen that the Bushnell's Basin incident is a reason NOT to touch the canal or make repairs.

And not one person ever challenged that statement...until now.

You see folks, if they are wrong about this simple fact then you have to ask yourself what else have they missed. What else did this group say that seemed right at the moment, but under scrutiny and investigation has since been debunked. I took a few minutes to do a keyword search today, to finally put to rest this false narrative by the Facebook group fighting against fixing these unsafe embankment dams.

And it did come down to a simple keyword search on Google - Erie Canal Repair Closure.

You can try this keyword search for yourself, and I recommend it to those who want the REAL truth about the current state of the NYS Canal System, it may surprise you. You will see three main types of canal closures listed in the array of Google hits for these four words.

1) Historical references to past original Erie Canal breakages
2) References to the amount of bridges being repaired that cause some temporary NYS Canal Closure
3) Recent stories about NY State Barge Canal closures as a result of breaches, leaks and or flooding.

The last one is the most important, as it paints a very different picture of the INTEGRITY & SAFETY of the NYS Canal System than what this group is saying. What you will find is the complete opposite of what this Facebook Group, and it's Leadership has been saying for over two years. If they are wrong about this simple idea, what else have they missed in their crusade against the Safety of the Canal & it's thousands of neighbors? They state that the canal is "sound" when all evidence found says otherwise... but of course that doesn't fit their rhetoric... so it's ignored.

Here's a story about a canal embankment failure in Albion... from 2012, where 25 miles of the Canal had to be closed

Though we rarely have any flooding issues along the canal in the Western Section, many folks in other sections have annual floods that close the canal, here's one from 2013

And another story about a similar event in 2016 near Holley/Murray, again it was an EMBANKMENT failure that resulted in this closure

This story came from the the Central NYS Barge Canal section in 2017, 17 miles of the canal was closed for high hazard dam issue

This is the story about EMERGENCY repairs being made on the Canal System just to get it open for the 2018 Navigation season

And the most recent Canal Embankment Integrity & Safety work is outlined here by the Canal Corporation

It too has been the topic of many stories in local news and on the Canal Corporation website

If you look at these stories as a whole here's what it shows... in 7 years, from 2012-2019, five of those years saw embankment integrity issues, canal flooding concerns and now a NYS Canal Corporation PROGRAM created specifically to address the 125 miles of Raised Embankment Dams that have now become unsafe.

There is no argument that supports the Facebook groups contention that the NYS Canal has only broken "once" at Bushnell's Basin. In fact, these news articles actually show that the Canal System is failing, at an alarming rate, and the time to fix the issues has risen to the point where there is NO OTHER OPTION for the safety & well-being of all communities who have grown up along America's FIRST superhighway.

Of course if you want to ignore these stories and all this proof that the Canal is broken and needs to be fixed...that's you prerogative.

After all, the Facebook group fighting against the Canal Embankment Safety work has been allowed to do that since it started...
Many Rochester people have been concerned about NYS Barge Canal Embankment Integrity these days. Some are wanting to deny there is an issue with a canal that is leaking, others are concerned how it might affect their neighboring properties or communities. Most earthen dam experts all agree on one thing though... earthen embankment dams ALL leak.

This is an old article from 2016-17, right as the NY Canal system is being handed off from the Thruway Authority to the NY Power Authority. It describes the process used to inspect for leaks in the canal using a green dye. This leak test was done on one of the many feeder canals that ties into the NYS Canal System. It's an interesting piece that shows the process used by the NY Canal Corporation to periodically inspect their dam structures. But the real statement being made is a simple one... yes the New York State Canals are leaking...and is being monitored.

To say there are no issues of embankment integrity, no safety concerns about a aging canal system... well this proves otherwise. One of the story is linked below and has a video that requires a Spectrum login. You can press Login button and the video will play without an account though, it's worth a look

There are also two links about 6 months apart, from the Canal Corporation who had to conduct the same leak test in the Fall of 2016 and again in the Spring of 2017. This isn't the only area getting attention for leaking issues.

And there are more tests like this done by the Canal Corporation on other areas of leaking concern in the Fall of 2017

Just an FYI: The math needed to prove how accurate the cable drilling process is as easy as a right triangle calculator... it shows that the cable bore was drilled almost straight as an arrow to a target, 600' away. With all the variable around soil, water, canal settling etc it amazing that the drilled hole was less than 1/2 a degree off of where it was supposed to hit on the other side of the embankment... just off by a mere 4'

I guess it's always true... those who know the least about a given topic seem to try and convince others that they do "know it all".

For someone to complain about the accuracy of this operation is pretty foolish. Just imagine in a golf match, someone hits a golf ball from 200 yards and it lands 3 feet away from the hole...and no one claps or yells. That is similar to what those who are complaining about this drilling operation would do... not impressed one bit with that shot.

It's mystifying how anyone would follow these leaders... they simply do not understand what is going on with NYS Barge Canal Repair at all
Take a look at this recent posting by a group fighting against the NY Canal Corporation’s Embankment Integrity Program efforts along the NY Barge Canal in our area. While it may seem like there is a point that is trying to be made by the author, what is most striking about what was written is how much it shows how many are missing the point on Embankment Safety, especially how all of these embankments along the canal have now become a danger to those living near them.

It almost appears that there is a preference for the embankments to be CLEARED by one Founder of the Facebook Group

Four points to make about what you just read:

First item... the writer states, very accurately, that many NY State Canal Trail users are litterbugs.

Secondly, there is mention of the LARGE tree branches that fall on the trail and are pushed aside adding more debris inhibiting inspections.

Third item, the author questions why the NYCC would add to their own issues of difficult embankment inspections if it was really a problem.

Finally, there is the issue of how difficult it is for the author’s dog to get at his recycling duties, with all the woody vegetation in the way.

Does that about sum it up?

Given this short list of “issues”, and the fact that each item brought up will be either eliminated or improved with the Canal Corporation’s Earthen Embankment Integrity Program work, why wouldn’t this writer, or anyone for that matter not embrace the public safety work being done? Isn’t it time we all recognized the benefits of fixing unsafe earthen dams?


LITTER: About that “litter” problem along the Canal/Empire Trail, it true. Having lived at the base of a 400’ long embankment for 25 years, both my wife and I can attest to that litter issue. We get what rolls downhill besides the dam runoff. We’ve picked litter for years from people, who tossed it into the abyss that grew along the trail knowing it would be almost impossible to see it in a day or so. But amazingly that has changed with the replanting of grass on the embankment dam. We see almost NO litter now. We also see people keeping their animals on leashes and picking up after them with their little plastic baggies. And the trail users also know we, the neighbors on those cleared embankments, see them, from a long way away now.

It appears that now when people are walking, and they see thousands of feet of embankment looming ahead, they think differently about tossing their water bottles and energy bar wrappers away. It’s not hidden like it used to be, there is no brush to hide the fact they are too lazy to hold on to their waste until they see a trash can. A canal embankment free of unsafe trees also seems to have created embankments with much less litter. Time will tell more on this, and data. The ECNA Founders are also Canal Trail Adopters through NY Parks & Trails and we help maintain two sections of NYS Canal Trailway. We will let you know what we see as the 2020 Adopt a Trail starts up.

SAFETY: It’s almost amazing that someone who saw “large branches” that were being cut up and tossed onto an overgrown embankment dam, could also ignore the simple fact that falling timber is a public safety issue for the NY Canal Corporation.

Any one of those large branches could have meant injury or death to someone unfortunate enough to be there when it falls.

Large trees on earthen dams are not allowed, it’s that simple. Most of that is about how it will destabilize the dam’s strength by root systems that bore into the water and cause piping leaks. But there is also danger from tree blowdowns that might breach the dam or overhead limbs falling on Dam Inspection personnel. I can't tell if this author is "for or against" the debris covered embankments. Does it seem like there is a preference to have them cleared, for the sake of her dog?

Now add a recreational hiking trail to the embankment’s crest and the probability of tree injury increases substantially

The Canal Corporation, since being taken over by NY Power Authority in 2017, is slowly being “educated” on Dam Safety by its new ownership (NYPA) from Day One. All of the debris that this writer mentions, those branches lying about, the dead clutter her dog can’t maneuver around, it is there because that was the way the old NY Canal Corporation worked under NY Thruway direction. Now that there is a new sheriff in town, the embankments will be inspected properly, leaks will all be addressed, and unsafe embankments will be cleared to enable all of these safety improvements to finally be done. NYPA has been crystal clear on their canal work...make it safe, make it sustainable and make it happen.

EMBANKMENT INSPECTION: Take a good long look at the NY Canal Corporation’s Earthen Embankment Integrity Program (EEIP) documentation. It shows that with a change in ownership, there is also a change in direction. Safety of the NYS Canal System, for its own operation and the safety of the communities around it, has NOW become the number 1 concern with NYPA… something it never was with the Thruway Authority. NYPA does own and maintain several other dams that feed water to the NY State Canal system..they are fixing them all.

Go and look at the Maps of the EEIP areas that will fall into the canal safety work, here is the Fairport Map. It's on BOTH sides of the canal now.

Here’s links to other areas in Monroe County that will be cleared as part of the Embankment Integrity Program...the Earthen Embankment Integrity Program work will fix 100 years of neglect & negligence by prior canal management & management direction, replacing it with a "Safety is Number 1" platform that has served NY Power well for it's 80+ years in NY State.
The result of these changes in ownership & management style will be cleared, clean, and safe Embankment Dams that CAN be inspected regularly… and easily. Clearing will occur on BOTH sides of the waterway as well. Once again, just to open up the vegetation free zone needed to repair any section of the dam that might need repair in the future. This work is necessary and meant to keep us all safe folks, is it smart to fight against a public safety program or not? That may be the question this all comes down to in the end...

There will be no trees, no debris thrown alongside the trail anymore…just grass.... for miles along the Canal. And once that embankment clearing happens, everyone living around these water impounding structures will finally be able to see how large some of these earthen embankment dams really are, both in length & height.

Here's a rather large Embankment Dam in Holley that was cleared...its about 2400' long and in places it's almost 4 stories tall. By the way..the trees on the other side of the canal are sitting on an unsafe dam that points directly at the Village of Holley

Oh yea, and life will be much easier for a dog that won’t have to climb over anything to do his “recycling”. Of course there may not be very much to recycle if cleared embankments in Western Monroe & Orleans County are an indication of benefits of having clear, safe canal embankments...time will tell.

I think for the first time, the ECNA agrees with this post from the STCC, Clear Embankments are Better Embankments...for MANY reasons.

No Tree Limbs Falling on the dam or trail to be pushed aside
No Debris on the Embankments to interfere with proper Dam Inspection
No "hidden" litter behind or under large woody vegetation
No obstructions for dogs who like to pick up that litter

Will this bring an end to the STCC's fight against the NY Canal's Earthen Embankment Integrity Program? Maybe not but we can all hope.
You would think that some folks would leave well enough alone… but they don't

Perinton is finally getting the final work done on a nearly two year old emergency repair that was made to one of the leaky embankment dams that runs through western NY State. That repair work was covered when it happened, both in the local news and also here on the Erie Canal Neighbors Forum. In the process of making that embankment leak repair, a communication cable of some sort that run under the canal, THROUGH the embankment, was severed in the process of pounding steel plates into the crest of the dam to try and stop the water from leaking all over Perinton. That cable is being replaced now.

It appears that a group on Facebook, whose been arguing against the embankment work, wanted to bring all activity of cable repair to the attention of their loyal members. The reason is a bit of a mystery as the reason seems to change based on how many likes a post receives. Here’s the first & second Facebook postings

By the third post in the top of the picture below, the “likes” had all but vanished and people were not interested in what the group’s leaders were posting. You can see the decline when you group them all together and take them as a whole.

Of course the bottom picture and its message of No Safety Issues are the subject of this ECNA post.
It seems like the person is using the same old rhetoric of this Facebook group to “stir up the masses”. First, mentioning the Governor's Re-imagine the Canal work in comparison to this cable work and how the canal “looks”. Then the standard ridicule of the NY Canal Corporation work and how they messed up the communication cable boring work. Then finally ending by saying that NONE of this was necessary, it's all part of “expensive emergency work” that the Facebook Group’s Founder says “fixed nothing”.

Nothing could be further from the folks, but it’s scary to think that some of our neighbor think there is nothing wrong with the canal and refuse to recognize the danger sitting right over our heads.

Attention: Your NYS Canal is Broken!

Here’s a story regarding the EMERGENCY repairs that were done in 2018 that caused the cable to be severed in the first place.
The canal leak in this area was so extensive that hundreds of feet was re-enforced with large steel plating in order to open up the canal system for 2018… it was THAT bad. The same was true on a south side embankment in Spencerport. Both of these placed many canal neighbors in serious danger of flooding.
The Canal Corporation had just recently changed hands from the NY Thruway Authority to the NEW ownership, the New York Power Authority. This was a wakeup call to them about the safety & stability of the entire NYS Canal System they just inherited, and also qualified the negative “bill of health” the Canal System received by the State Comptroller.

Could it be that ALL of these other local news agencies are also lying about the Emergency Repairs from 2018? Seems many news agencies reported about this and not one called it a hoax or a sham at that time, or any time since? So why can this Facebook group post these types of statements without giving one shred of proof?

Even the NY Canal Corporation, who owns the land and manages these types of public safety repairs, must be part of the “cover-up” being insinuated by this Facebook group. They put out this announcement regarding the emergency canal EMBANKMENT work that was being done.

Unanswered Questions Linger in Perinton
Is this Facebook group hinting at some kind of conspiracy to waste taxpayer dollars with unnecessary canal work? It would appear that it’s really about the simple fact that when they bad mouth the Canal Embankment Safety work they get readers all riled up to say “yea”. And if they create a fake narrative about safety and say nothing is wrong…their followers agree with likes.
It also appears that the Facebook Group founders also have understood the value of creating “fake news” and “conspiracy theories”.. it get’s the “like count” up. Shame on Facebook for letting this go on so long.

Here's the TRUTH on the cable drilling that was described as being "messed up" by the Facebook Founders.. it was accurate to within half a degree. It's not's called MATH and you only need to apply it to understand the truth.

Now here's a question to ponder... take a look at this picture... of a danger right in your town

More Questions for Perinton
Isn’t it time we all recognized that people or groups, that continue fighting AGAINST any public safety project or program in our community, should be told to STOP? Especially where the public safety issues involve the possibility or potential of flooding entire communities that have existed near the Erie Canal for centuries? When it comes to the point of citizens standing in the way of NY State workers trying to do their jobs isn’t it time to say “Enough, please Stop!”
Isn’t it time that your community starts addressing the outright lies being told by a group that seems to follow the whims of its Leadership and appears to have some personal agenda for the Empire Trail that doesn’t include the safety or protection of Barge Canal System neighbors living unsafely below these unsafe embankments? Even now their founders & leaders are still denying the safety issues we have in our communities along the western end of the NY Barge Canal.
Isn’t it time to let your OWN voices be heard, and stop letting this group speak for you and the community you live in?
Isn’t it time to put an end to the Stop the Canal Clear Cut Lies?
A group railing against the NYPA (Canal Corp) have been observing the latest work carried out by them at the Oxbow Fairport.

This is yet one more story where the main purpose of the fiber optic repair has not been told, intentionally.

Here's what really happened.

The Erie Canal Earthen Embankment at the Oxbow, right under the power lines, was leaking so badly, the Canal Corporation had to shore it up. There was a HUGE pond at the toe of the dam, adjacent to the apartment complex, and Jefferson Avenue. It had recently been designated a class 3 HIGH HAZARD dam by Rizzo Engineering.
The Phreatic line (a line where wet and dry embankment earth can collapse under certain circumstances) was leaking above the toe of the dam, and had been doing so for many years, hence 6 feet high cat tails flourishing there.
To remedy this, the NYPA made emergency repairs by hammering in 1" thick steel piling sheets over 40 feet deep for over 200 feet along the embankment.

You can see this here in detail

This very noisy, extensive and expensive repair done to save the people of Fairport from flood, has NEVER been mentioned by them. Why? Because, according to them, the canal embankment was never going to fail.

The group claims  the NYPA cut through an important Fiber Optic Cable running underneath the canal, parallel to the  power lines unintentionally. They claim they were incompetent to surface with their boring machine two or three feet from the target after boring almost 100 yards under a body of water.

In this diagram, you can see where the steel wall has been placed. It also shows the dry soil above the Phreatic line, and the saturated soil below it. Note also the fiber optic cable.
Bear in mind, the cable has been there many years, and the leak above it has been getting progressively worse over that time.
Suddenly, the leak becomes an emergency, and not wanting to cause a panic, the NYPA goes about the business quietly repairing the dam wall. They know exactly where the cables are. It's surveyed under the NY 'Call before you dig' regulations.

But, there's a problem! The steel sheets need to go to a certain depth to be effective. The Fiber Optic Cable is in the way.  You can't not hammer in one sheet to a lesser depth to avoid the cable. The NYPA had no choice but to sever it, which they did.

There wasn't a big hoo-ha about it. No one's light's went out. No computers went down. 99% of Fairport didn't even know about the peril they were in from a leaking dam.

If this cable severing had been a problem, why did the Canal Corporation wait almost two years before repairing it?

They had it all figured out. They patched around it, secured the cable ends and waited until, at their convenience, they could issue a contract to get the cable reinstated.

It's s simple as that!

As I've said before... being an Engineer is a curse at times and also a benefit. Here's a little bit of information from the Erie Canal Neighbor's Association Forum... after some annual January house cleaning. Just a little "supporting data" for my statement in the last post about Perinton being the "Center of the Universe" for the new Canal Embankment Integrity Program... numbers don't lie.

We have 10 Main Forum Boards with topics ranging from General Information to NY Canal Corp Announcements. We have Forum Boards dedicated to the new Embankment Integrity work as well as the original Dam Remediation project known as EERP.. when Restoration was the "keyword". We have discussion boards for Adopt a Trail, some that help Canal Neighbors & Property Owners near the Canal. There's no more than 25 posts in most forum boards, with a couple exceptions.

We have 2 Forum Discussion Boards in the ECNA that are dedicated to Perinton specifically, where the real battle for canal embankment safety is still being waged. There is a group opposing this Canal Embankment Integrity Program stating there is no safety issue and trees help keep the dams in place. We created a discussion board dedicated to opposing these ridiculous claims by their nickname here.. The STCC.

We also have an ECNA forum board dedicated to the Town of Perinton & Village of Fairport that is a general embankment discussion board. It's also used to link posts to the Nextdoor Fairport app, where Mr. Caswell occasionally places some information on Canal Embankment Safety.

What the DATA says:
We have literally thousands of posting views... there is a counter for each post visible on this ECNA Forum App. What's really amazed us lately is that the two Perinton-centric discussion boards represent about 50% of all ECNA Forum views total. It's obvious that Perinton is listening to the messages.. both the support of Embankment Safety and also the voices from the STCC who oppose changing the canal, even for public safety reasons.

The picture below shows the Top 10 Posts from each of these two forum boards... really amazing. If you want to know what to read first regarding this Erie Canal Embankment Program.. these posts most likely say it all.

Go figure huh?
Another battle brewing along the Erie Canal in Perinton... thanks to the Facebook Stop Group

Yep... really doesn't matter that the Town of Perinton Planning Board is trying to encourage growth & development in their area. This rezoning and apartment building plan is well documented on the Perinton Town Website, just take a look at the work already done.

Or that the proposal has worked to stay in character with other Canalside Development as seen by the building facade proposal

In the end it's NO different than what was done by Riedman Companies in Fairport...which ALSO met the same type of opposition when they developed The Residences at Canalside. That sold out quickly and put quite bit of money into the local economy I'm sure.

That building lot became an award winning Condo design plan that still had to fight it's way into a municipality that simply refuses to accepts that times are a changing -

Local residents fought against similar Canal Revitalization efforts when that last Condo/Apt buildings were added to Fairport... here's that story.

It appears that the Facebook Stop the Canal Clear Cut group really is more like "Stifle these Community Canal Changes".
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10