Author Topic: Attention Perinton & Fairport Residents: Help Clear the Unsafe Erie Canal Oxbow Lake Dam  (Read 111 times)

Doug K

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A flurry of environmental activity, along the Erie Canal, hit our canalside neighborhoods & community in 2017.

The NYS Canal Corporation (NYSCC) had come into our Town saying their earthen embankments were unsafe, had not been properly inspected, and were in need of overdue maintenance & repair. They had in hand an Embankment Vegetation Management Plan for their project, which covered both removal of the overgrown vegetation, as well as a plan for possible replanting of a natural. privacy screening, barrier, that would be planted if their Restoration criteria called for it.

The Canal Corporation's Dam Safety Plan was not very popular and some in our community decided to fight against it. They managed to slow the process down, while the owners of these unsafe Embankment Dams did a FULL environmental review, but now the embankment safety work has cleared all of the hurdles this group of residents threw in front of it and it's moving on to start clearing canal embankments in our area this year

Here we are, over three years later, and we STILL have one of the most dangerous Erie Canal Embankments right in our backyard.

If you can't recognize this Embankment Dam it's because the whole thing is STILL covered with trees, from Crest to Toe. The overgrown vegetation, and a few very large crevices, make this earthen dam ripe for a breach & flood that would cover all the land below it for miles. This Dam is looming over the western half of Perinton, and holds back millions & millions of gallons of water in the Erie Canal from flooding our community. It's holding back a sizeable lake.

So where is this danger you ask... it's the Oxbow Lake Dam on the west side of the Erie Canal, opposite the Oxbow Park & Trail by the old Minerva school.

Both the New York State Canal Corporation & the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation agree that Erie Canal Embankments should be classified as "dams", per the Laws & Guidelines of New York State.

And the NY State Laws on Dams says that any sizeable dam has to be inspected and maintained properly, they have a set Hazard Classifications that drive the activity, and set the priority, for dam improvement & safety work to happen. The image below shows these classifications, the Oxbow Lake Dam is a Medium to High Hazard.

And below are the maps & information, from both the original Erie Canal Embankment Vegetation Maintenance Project as well as the map for the Perinton & Fairport area, from the new Canal Corporation EEIP program, that's the acronym for their Earthen Embankment Integrity Program.

You can find out more about that new program by following the link here:

The Canal Corporation WILL be clearing all of these Canal Embankments shown in the later map, and they should be, it's an issue of Public Safety and their parent company, New York Power Authority, is very keen on safety. While some in the community may not like the truth about "eminent danger" of the Oxbow Lake Dam, it is a very tall, very long earthen dam, that hasn't been properly inspected or maintained in nearly 50+ years.

This dam did have emergency repairs made a couple years back, remember the metal sheets they pounded in for days? It also leaks water badly, especially by the power line crossing, and overall the Oxbow Lake Dam has many of the signs of an earthen dam that is failing, needing immediate repair.

We have started a petition online, to make sure that the NYS Canal Corporation, and it's parent NYPA, work on clearing the OXBOW LAKE DAM FIRST. It does present the biggest risk to our community, and it has a long history of issues with failure. The Dam Remediation process takes about 3 years to complete, and the first step is clearing trees so that a proper inspection can be made, major issues can be identified, and plans for dam remediation can be created.

Please go take a look at the Petition, and sign it if so inclined.

We, as a community, should want to insure that when the Canal Corporation comes to fix our Earthen Dams in Perinton & Fairport, that they work on the worst ones first. The Oxbow Lake Dam has already been identified as one of the WORST... that is not up for debate.

Thanks, stay safe, and let's work to BE SAFE.. in our own canalside community.

Read more about this issue on our MAIN website:

« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 10:52:22 am by Doug K »

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