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Project Overview

Canal embankments along elevated sections of the Erie Canal in Orleans and Monroe counties will be restored to their design condition by removing trees and brush at 56 locations covering about 145 acres. Their removal will restore the integrity of the embankments and improve the Canal Corporation’s ability to properly manage their condition, keeping the communities that surround the canal safe from potential flooding due to structural failures.

The work will occur at 56 locations in and around the following municipalities over the next several months: Medina, Albion, Brockport, Spencerport and Pittsford. Work is scheduled to begin the last week in September.

Q: Why are we undertaking a vegetation management program?

A: Together with the New York Power Authority, the Canal Corporation is taking steps to strengthen and reinforce Erie Canal embankments in Monroe and Orleans counties. This work primarily involves removal of trees and other vegetation, which can weaken embankments through root structure growth. NYPA and the Canal Corporation are taking proactive, appropriate measures to ensure the embankments are restored to their design condition, free of vegetation and roots. This type of vegetation can provide pathways for seepage, which can potentially weaken embankments and result in failure, leading to flooding of lands surrounding the canal. Furthermore, the heavy vegetation prevents Canal employees and other inspectors from being able to thoroughly monitor the integrity of the Canal’s embankments.

Q: What is the scope of the project?

A: The work will take place in phases. First, any required environmental protection measures will be installed. Next, smaller brush will be cleared, followed by the cutting of trees. Brush and trees will be removed from the site of work or may be chipped on site. Eventually the tree stumps will be excavated and removed and the affected area will be regraded. As the work progresses, all disturbed areas will be restored by establishing a vegetation surface that the Canal Corporation will maintain.

Q: What impacts will this project have on your property?

A: The Canal Corporation has taken care to assure the work is being done exclusively on property it owns to ensure your land remains undisturbed. Please contact us regarding any potentially impacted permitted structures on Canal lands at 518-449-6026. Canal personnel will be happy to come to your property to do an assessment and help you determine whether the structure(s) in question should be temporarily moved.

Q: Are you going on private property to perform this work?

Work is generally being done on property owned by the New York State Canal Corporation. If there is work that needs to be done on private property, NYSCC will work with the land owner to obtain a property release.

Q: Who will oversee the contractor to ensure the vegetation removal is being done properly?

NYSCC Construction Management staff will oversee the contractor’s work and will be assisted by consulting firm Arcadis, which is providing construction inspectors as needed.

Q: How long will this project take to complete?

The first phase of this project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2018.

Q: Can residents obtain the wood from any of the trees that are removed?

The contractor is responsible for removing the trees from Canal property. Residents may discuss opportunities to obtain cut trees from the contractor, but the contractor owns the trees after they are cut.

Q: What is the project timeline?

Anticipated deadlines can be found below:

Site #1 (Medina) 10/17/17 Estimated: 11/20
Site #2 (Albion) 10/27/17 Estimated: 11/20
Site #3 (Brockport) 11/14/17 Estimated: 12/18
Site #4 (Spencerport) Anticipated: 12/28/17 Estimated: 2/18
Site #5 (Pittsford) Anticipated: 1/13/18 Estimated: 3/18

Q: What does the daily schedule look like?

Work will generally take place Monday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Q: Did you consider any alternative approaches to vegetation management?

The Canal’s embankments are meant to be free and clear of vegetation. This is the only approach we can take that will be 100% effective. The project goal is to maximize risk reduction by removing vegetation (trees and brush) from the highest risk embankments first.

Q: How are you communicating this work to the public?

The NYSCC and NYPA public relations teams have made contact with elected officials at all levels of government; public information sessions have been held, as well as private meetings with elected officials and/or homeowners; letters have been sent to NYSCC permit holders where appropriate; updates have been posted on NYSCC’s social media pages including Facebook and Twitter; newspaper ads have been placed to inform the public about upcoming public information sessions and a webpage that is updated regularly was created to share information -- it can be found here

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2017, New York is celebrating the bicentennial for the start of the Erie Canal’s construction.

Image of canals

If you have additional questions concerning the Vegetation Management Project, contact:
Jackie Schillinger, Manager Public and Community Relations
NYS Canal Corporation
30 South Pearl Street, 5th Floor
Albany, NY 12207
(518) 449-6026