As the Spring of 2020 is unfolding, with many challenges to New York residents, it's also the expected time for a restart of the NY Canal Corporation Embankment Integrity Program.
This canal earthen embankment clearing exercise actually started out as a "project" in 2017. It was initially requested in 2014, by the NYS Comptroller, after a scathing safety review of NY's Canal System showed major issues with canal integrity, dam maintenance & public safety.
The canal system in NY had become so bad it had to be transferred away from the NY Thruway Authority and handed to NY Power Authority (NYPA), who understood the dangers of earthen dams, how to properly maintain these embankments and how to insure proper dam inspection is done in the future.
The original Canal Embankment Safety project was met with strong public opposition, which forced the leadership of both NYPA and the NY Canal Corp to reassess their idea of handing 127 miles of raised dams as a simple project or should it be something more. They decided to change course and make this a SAFETY program within the NY Canal Corporation.
And that is how the NYCC created it's Earthen Embankment Integrity Program, or EEIP as it's been called. The Canal Corp created a new website for the Embankment Program, and also worked hard to educate the public on what was being done with embankments and why it needed to be done the way they intended.
You can go to the WEBSITE HERE
Now we are coming to another program milestone point where the Embankment Integrity Guidebook is being finalized and readied for "public review". Here's the most recent schedule for EEIP which shows where we are.
This is the reason for my post, and plea to all who may think they want to "weigh in" on what's RIGHT OR WRONG for safety of New York residents in general and specifically Erie Canal Neighbors who live below these dams. I am one of those neighbors and take offense to people who want to IGNORE my safety and the safety of my community for their own reasons.
Brian Stratton, the Director of the NY Canal Corporation, posted an opinion piece in the local Rochester newspaper, trying to explain to the general public, the issues with the canal, the root causes of the embankment safety concerns and how everything was going to be fixed.
His original message still hold true today, as nothing has changed except that the embankments are now a few years older, and still just as unsafe to those living below them if they have not been properly cleared & managed.
I have broken his explanation down here, please read so that you are aware of what's at stake, should anyone decide to stand in the way of safety once again as the EEIP work begins this year.
Before you start to pick apart the new EEIP Guidebook, remember that peoples lives & properties are at stake here... it not about trees or shade, it's about living & dying. It's about much more than "scenery for a walk".
It's about the State of NY watching out for it's residents' SAFETY.
It's time for ALL residents of our state to take heed when someone who has the facts, says they are in DANGER from unsafe earthen embankments!
It's not a time to start a different discussion about the ozone layer, or about shade for people using the Canal Corporation Service Road that we like to call the Empire Trail.
It's time for people to stand up against those who would try, once again, to stop this public safety problem from being solved. That starts with understanding the issues, and solutions that the EXPERTS have stated clearly. It's time to start believing what is being stated by the NY Canal Corporation.
It's not time to "shoot the messenger" as so many have done when this embankment work started. The Canal Corporation owns the property, let's respect that they know what to do with it. They have guidance from a new agency with years of experience with dam inspection & maintenance.
It's time to start using our heads and thinking for ourselves, to make the right decisions about safety in out communities and for our families, friends, and neighbors. Do not let misguided people set the narrative about community safety by trying to change the topic or deny the facts.