Canal Facts & Info

Canal Repair & Maintenance Blog

Interesting Canal Facts & Dam Information

  • Why is the Erie Canal closed for the winter?
    Actually the NYS Canal System never fully closes. While many sections may be drained, dewatering is the official term, large portions of the canal remain full or near full. The canal is really open 24/7, 365 days per year. about half the time it's open for navigation, the other half…
  • This is the place to go for Erie Canal Information
    By far the best place for Canal Information The ECNA has to mention a website that seems to be one of the best collections of Erie Canal material that we have found. It has it all from pictures to engineering plans. And they also prepared a nice piece for the…
  • Are Erie Canal Embankments actually Higher Risk Earthen Dams?
    Some would say the short answer is YES! The Phreatic Line is one of the favorite topics here at the ECNA, just ask Mike Caswell If you look at the Perinton Safety Video, created by the Canal Corporation, they mention the issues with seepage and breaches. Most of this has…
  • Testimony in question – Vegetation on Dams.
    Testimony in question – Vegetation on Dams. Mike Caswell April 19, 2018 In the recent court case when an injunction was filed against the New York Power Authority to stop vegetation removal from the canal Earthen Embankment Dams between Brighton, Pittsford and Fairport,  Mr Donald H Gray (Professor Emeritus)  was called…
  • At Last! We have 20 Years Worth of Inspection Reports!  FOIL REQUESTS.
    At Last! We have 20 Years Worth of Inspection Reports!  FOIL REQUESTS. Mike Caswell April 7, 2018  The Legal Department of the NYPA has sent me 68 reports covering the past twenty years of inspections carried out between Pittsford and Fairport. That might sound like a lot of reports, but…
  • EMERGENCY EMBANKMENT DAM REPAIR!
    EMERGENCY EMBANKMENT DAM REPAIR! Mike Caswell March 21, 2018  Starting week commencing March 27th 2018, The New York Power Authority is carrying out an EMERGENCY EMBANKMENT REPAIR by driving interlocking steel sheet pilings 45 feet deep into the embankment, for a total length of 200 feet. Please note!! This is a classic…
  • NYPA Save The Oxbow Embankment Dam From Slope Failure
    NYPA Save The Oxbow Embankment Dam From Slope Failure Mike Caswell March 20, 2018 Spotted today on the towpath at the Oxbow area in Fairport, several surveyors in two vans, looking at a potentially dangerous area where there is a leak right under an badly positioned R.G& E electricity pylon atop…
  • An Expert Opinion! Clear Cutting Canal Embankments
    An Expert Opinion! Clear Cutting Canal Embankments By Thomas X. Grasso President Emeritus, Canal Society of New York State Since the New York State Canal Corporation announced its plan late last year to clear cut trees from Erie Canal embankments in western New York, there has been much opposition. I,…
  • Weeds – or shrubs and flowering bushes?
    My study of plants along the Fairport area of the canal has  shown me there are mainly illegal or prohibited weeds growing on the embankment slopes. The DEC has issued a web page for these species in NY. NY DEC Invasive Plants THE FOLLOWING PLANTS ARE LISTED IN THE NYDEC…
  • An afternoon walk along the Erie Canal in Brockport
    I decided to take a drive out to Brockport for a walk I’d heard the Vegetation Project had been halted there due to inclement weather. Today was a pleasant day with plenty of sunshine, so a great time to take a few photos perhaps. Trying to find where the last…
  • Power from The Canal? Is this a way to increase NYPA Profitability?
    There’s a theory that the new owners of the canal system are interested in harnessing the run off and flow of water through the system to generate power. Here are a few links to this great environmentally friendly concept. Is the canal corporation about to get a new home? Erie…
  • This is a MUST READ about Embankment Dam & Levee Safety
    The Corps of Engineers Safety Dam Analysis leaflet is packed with a detailed explanation of why dams fail and what needs to be done. Note the the NY Power Authority (Canal Authority) mentions this article many times. This is where the procedure for restoration of the canal comes from. Dam…
  • Canal Operation & Maintenance Manuals – US Dept. of the Interior
    By far the best set of documents that explains the issues AND remedies for the aging NYS Canal System. It is distributed by the US Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation. Click any of the pictures below to open the manual Canal_Embankments Canal Vegetation Canal_Animals
  • Canal Corporation Embankment Restoration Plans Explained
    There are TWO canal embankments efforts going on right now, divided by where one stopped and the other is about to start. The first Embankment repair effort is the Earthen Embankment Restoration Project (EERP) and it ran from west of Lockport to east of Brockport. That is about 27 miles…
  • Earthen Dam Inspection – At the Root of Embankment Safety
    Dam Inspection is the key to SAFE Erie Canal Earthen Embankments... Currently many of the 125 miles of raised embankments are covered with the wrong vegetation making them nearly impossible to properly inspect. There are many groups that work to make Dam Safety a number one priority in our country…
  • Embankment Piping – Another problem with earthen dams.
    Earthen Embankment Piping Explained The main issues with trees on Earthen Dams is Piping..or the allowance of water to escape the dam through a subterranean flow created by voids from old, dead tree roots or poor soil compaction. Piping brings the Phreatic line to the surface and is the start…
  • NYS Canal Corporation Vegetation Management Explained
    The Canal Corporation has implemented a comprehensive. Education and Community Outreach program to inform and educate the local communities in advance of the Vegetation. Management Program. Read their VM Outreach Presentation here.   Why does Vegetation need to be managed on Canal embankments? Watch this video. The Canal Corporation has stated that…
  • Erie Canal Embankment Video Tour – The Oxbow Dam in Fairport
    I felt it would assist people in understanding the problems existing on the Earthen Embankment Dam between Perinton Park and Bushnell’s Basin if I took a few photographs of the area where I spotted PRUDENT ENGINEERING using surveying tools on January 5th. They were here about four hours, working slowly along…
  • Keeping The Canal Safe For Generations To Come
    A letter to The Democrat and Chronicle from Brian Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation. Click here to read the letter He spells out the reasons why vegetation removal is a top priority for the Authority. “We intend to follow the best practices set forth by these…
  • The Oxbow Lake Embankment Dam in Perinton – 1918 vs 2018 Comparison
    Fairport/Perinton Circa 1912 Here is a photo of the embankment at The Oxbow in Fairport.  It was taken circa 1912. There are several points worth noticing here. In the center of the photo, the electricity pylon can be seen clearly perched on the top of the embankment. On the opposite…
  • Minutes from Canal Corporation Embankment Restoration 2017 Meeting in Brockport
    Brockport had a meeting on the Embankment Rehabilitation They posted the Q & A online on their Village Website Many questions have been posted from the Brockport Public Information meeting held to discuss Embankment clearing & Restoration.There were some interesting questions asked here, with really constructive answers. I found it…
  • Engineering Maps of vegetation removal locations along the Erie Canal
    Here's where all of the original MAPS from Rizzo Engineering are located... These are from the first Earthen Embankment Restoration Project that the NYS Canal Corporation started... and run from Lockport to Brockport. Three towns stopped progress east. EERP Project Vegetation Removal Maps   Now the Erie Canal Embankment Clearing…
  • Information on Internal Erosion & Piping on Embankment Dams
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Internal Erosion & Piping on Earthen Embankment Dams has one of the best looks at understanding the issue of dam leaking from piping or erosion. Federal Energy Commission on Engineering Guidelines Risk-Informed Decision Making This document demonstrates the complexity of diagnosing problems with earthen embankment…
  • The Dispute about Canal Embankment Clean-up and Environmental Review
    New York Power Authority (new owners of the Canal Authority), are being sued by the Towns of Perinton, Brighton and Pittsford, (PBP) in an attempt to stop the vegetation removal from high risk embankments along the canal. This is stopping public safety effort for those towns along the canal. The…
  • Guidelines for Vegetation on Embankment Dams
    The US Army Corps of Engineers have a published article regarding the vegetation management of Embankment Dams etc. For brevity’s sake, I have extracted relevant passages. ETL1110-2-583 Examination of this document should give the reader an insight as to why the Canal Authority is carrying out the long overdue work to restore…
  • New York DEC explains problems with Trees and Brush near Dams
    Trees and brush may be aesthetically pleasing and provide other benefits; however, the growth of woody vegetation on and near dams, including the downstream toe area, can lead to serious problems. Sudden uprooting of trees by strong winds can result in the movement of a relatively large amount of embankment…
  • Hazard Creep on Embankment Dams Explained
    Here is a great explanation of how urban development outstrips the original design intent of many embankment dams in the USA This could easily be what happens at The Oxbow in Fairport, Bushnell’s Basin Dam in Brighton or the tallest Canal Dam in Albion/Hulberton area.  
  • A Comparison with The Netherlands
    It was pointed out a while ago that The Netherlands had many more canals and dams than we have on The Erie Canal, and consequently, they have more experience. So, lets look at the facts here. See http://dutchdikes.net for more details The Netherlands’ dike network extends for over 22,000 kilometres (including dikes…
  • Is it an Embankment, a Dam, a Levee, a Ditch or Dike?
    If you check your favorite dictionary, you’ll find a tremendous overlap in the terminology, so here we’ll define the different aspects for the sake of this discussion. A DAM is a length of the canal where one side is constructed to contain the water over a low level area.  You could…
  • The Embankment Dam Phreatic Line – Where the water goes.
    Earthen Embankment Dams are made to hold back water.. but only to a point. It's a well known fact that ALL earthen dams leak to some extent. There is a well defined line of saturated earth that runs from inside the dam at the edge of the water to the…
  • Canal Embankment Integrity Program Delivers a Safer NY State Canal
    NYS Canal Earthen Embankment Integrity Program will fix structural issues along the canal's many raised embankments... It's not hard to imagine that trees fall or get blown over in NY State. Most times it's a simple cleanup, but not when it happens to trees on Earthen Dams that line the…

 

 

 

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