Author Topic: An important update on the Erie Canal. This effects more people than ever  (Read 300 times)

Michael Caswell

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If you take the time to read the recent project website released by the New York Power Authority (Canal Corp) on it's Earthen Embankment Integrity Program, you’ll find a lot has changed since they were originally confronted by a group trying to prevent them from removing trees from the dangerously overgrown embankment dams.

http://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/overview.html

As new owners of these dams, the NYPA realized they had a huge liability because of the unsafe conditions mainly caused by overgrowth, the many leaks, and the engineers reports stating these dams were dangerous to the point that peoples safety (their lives indeed) was at risk. The ECNA has heard from project engineers that many of the recently discovered leaks are running full time, and flow that needs to be slowed. One piping leak was washing earth away as fast as they could fill it.

A group called Stop The Clear Cut (STCC) persuaded three town supervisors to try to preserve the trees and they cited the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) work had not been done, which a judge ordered to be carried out despite the NY DEC stating the NYCC did not need this Type of SEQR done.  They persuaded ‘expert witnesses’ to testify that trees were good for wooded slopes, but unfortunately, whether intentionally misled, or by pure ignorance, these experts thought they were dealing with levees, and not earthen embankment dams. When the distinction was pointed out to the experts, they recanted their statements and have since removed support for the group.

Confronting a group fighting safety, on their first project, NYPA quickly realized they had to complete the SEQR study for the entire canal system across the state, not just for the three towns of Perinton, Pittsford and Brighton. This was to prevent any further similar hold-ups as they progressed their safety cleanup efforts along the canal.

The original project planned to cut unsafe vegetation from about 45 acres of embankment shoreline, and with a work boundary edge of about twenty feet. But now the new program has been extended to a one hundred feet boundary, for the entire canal system, ON BOTH SIDES of the canal, whether it’s an embankment or not. Some 145 acres in total. If a tree overhangs the canal, it is a liability and will likely be removed. A lot more Perinton properties now fall into this program.

On the original vegetation plan Pittsford thru Perinton had only 8 small sections. It has been changed and is now it is from western to eastern border, and many many more acres of potential clearing may be included now.

See maps here — https://ecna.createaforum.com/perinton-canal-embankment-discussion/perinton-embankment-integrity-program-has-been-released-by-nycc/

As for the STCC's "environmental protection" claims, nothing could be further from the truth as most of the vegetation is listed in the NY DEC as invasive, illegal and controlled species, and had no business being allowed to grow on these dams in the first place. The STCC leaders weren’t even aware these were weeds and actually harming the environment. But worse yet, the STCC group seems to fail to understand that a canal flood would be a far worse environmental loss than removing a few trees or shade that might prevent that flood possibility.

The STCC group has cost our three towns over $45,000 in legal fees, they have kept hundreds of families lives and property at risk, and for what?  They stopped nothing.

The cost has been much greater in lost friendships too. I think the worst part of all this is the loss of face for all those who were supportive of, and instigators of, the Stop The Clear Cut campaign. I only hope that they eventually realize how many lives they could have impacted while they fought a statewide public safety campaign to clean up these unsafe, dangerous canal dams.

Anyone who thinks they have a good argument for keeping unsafe canal dams in our communities should make sure they have considered the danger those dams place the many people who are living below them. Come forward and say why you think it's OK for your neighbor to live under threat of flood...we all want to hear that reason.

All this trouble over a bunch of weeds. What were these people thinking? 

MOVING FORWARD:
The Erie Canal Neighbors Association (www.ecna.us) is now done with the STCC, our ECNA Forum board on that subject will be taken down shortly, and good riddance... no need to mention this episode in restoring Canal Dam Safety ever again.

If you want to see the latest argument against keeping 'unsafe trees on unsafe dams", go look before it's all gone:

https://ecna.createaforum.com/the-stop-the-clearcut-argument/

Some STCC Topics may be moved to the Perinton Discussion Board on the Forum...here's the latest on the Embankment Program there:

https://ecna.createaforum.com/perinton-canal-embankment-discussion/perinton-embankment-integrity-program-has-been-released-by-nycc/

These are two good posts to read that should make everyone think hard about this STCC group

https://ecna.createaforum.com/the-stop-the-clearcut-argument/has-the-leadership-of-the-stcc-finally-figured-this-all-out/msg717/#msg717

https://ecna.createaforum.com/the-stop-the-clearcut-argument/does-the-stop-the-canal-clearcut-leadership-listen-to-their-own-members/?message=713

Thanks for listening...it appears the safety message finally got through
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 07:06:04 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

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Mike,

A very good synopsis of events that have us full circle  of course... the STCC still ignoring safety and the ECNA still pushing it. Only one of us can be right...the one who supports what is driving the Embankment Integrity Program in the first place.. fixing a problem that is causing dams to leak, and preventing proper inspection.

Those two issues would both fall under the category of S-A-F-E-T-Y

The STCC Board will officially close on before July 31, 2019... if not done already.

If anyone believes they have a need to see anything from the STCC Forum Board in the future, to fight other grassroots efforts to deny and fight against this public safety program, let us know. We do have archival access if needed.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 09:43:47 am by Doug K »

Doug K

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As citizens of NY, Town of Perinton, Village of Fairport...you have a right to know where your State & Municipal Leaders stand on the topic of Erie Canal Safety.

You know where the NY Governor stands, he is backing the new Canal Safety initiatives & canal improvement. He has become the champion of the Reimagine the Canals program publically.

Likewise for the NY Power & Canal Authorities, they too are pushing for utmost safety on the Canal System and have created a new safety program for their canal system based on Federal guidelines for dams & waterways.

The same could be said for the leaders of the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor & US Parks & Trails. Both of them have come out in favor of a safe & sustainable Erie Canal, that grows stronger with time.

Even the NY Dept of Environmental Conservation & Reimagine the Canals task force support a safer Canal System and the rehabilitation of its aging embankment dams. They both are working to that end with support for the NY Canal Corporation and their Embankment Integrity Program.

All residents of Fairport should be asking their local officials where they stand on the subject of Canal Safety, because everyone has a right to know if their elected officials are not supporting overall Community improvement & Safety

Concerned residents in the three Towns of Pittsford, Brighton & Penfield should ask  their leaders if they are united for community safety or will they still side with those who would fight to keep an unsafe Erie  Canal winding through our communities & neighborhoods by leaving dangerous trees & dams in place.?

If these town officials support keeping their neighbors unsafe by suggesting trees stay along the embankments Erie Canal,  I would hope fellow residents would try to understand why they chose that direction in light of the overwhelming evidence against leaving unsafe vegetation on unsafe earthen dams.

This affects everyone in Perinton & Fairport...and should be a question everyone is asking Town Leadership