Author Topic: She asked, "I don't understand why trees are considered a hazard--"  (Read 18 times)

Michael Caswell

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  • Location: Fairport NY
Ms McInerney Posed this question on the STCC Facebook page.

I replied by Facebook Messages -----
I spotted your post on the STCC Facebook page, and I'd like to share with you some of the reasons why trees are a bad idea on the canal embankments, BUT they are a great idea on a Levee.

 Ms Agte's "EXPERT WITNESS' who has refuted his original statements and now says "I donít know of any earth dams where woody vegetation was purposely planted or allowed to grow on a face of the dam." He then explains the difference between Dams & Levees. Basically, trees are OK on Levees, but not on dams. That is why some people have been trying to fudge the issue and call the embankment dams levees.

The main reason this vegetation has to go is because the engineers cannot properly inspect the dam for leaks, and there are many. I can show you a few of them.

Why would they need to inspect?
Because these dams were badly constructed well over 100 years ago, when the knowledge was very limited, and they have had no maintenance for that period. The vegetation is so dense, no one can see the leaks.
See my video

The trees are toppling all the time, and each time they do, a hole is wrenched in the side of the slope, making it weaker.

What happens if the embankment fails?
A huge flood. A wall of water 20 feet deep, rushing through the gap, and flooding all of the Jefferson Rd Crystal Springs area. All the water from Macedon to Pittsford would take about 6 hours to empty. Could you risk a 1000 people's lives for a few trees?

Unfortunately, when these canals were built, many areas under these dams were just fields with crops, or even fallow, a low risk problem. But local authorities ignored the danger and granted building permits for residential areas, schools and businesses.

This video will explain hazard creep zones.

I hope this answers your questions, but if you need any more information, please email me at

And visit

We have a very active forum where many topics are discussed see

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Mike Caswell.  Admin Erie Canal Neighbors Association