Embankment Integrity Program

Embankment Integrity Program Blog


Contrary to what some may think, the Erie Canal is slowly crumbling from lack of proper maintenance.


Here's work from an embankment breach in 2012 - Albion NY



And more local footage...



Despite an active Canal Embankment Inspection program being run along the Erie Canal, the overgrown embankment dams became too cluttered to properly inspect. Here's more:



There have been other canal leak issues that have come dangerously close to the Empire State Trail that the trail has been closed in the past due to leaking issues in the Syracuse area.

Erie Canal Leak Closes Trail in Syracuse


There have also been TWO Major Embankment Failures as recent as 2021.

The first was in Macedon/Palmyra NY, where an embankment holding an old creek aqueduct let go. You can read more about this embankment failure on our Forum Post, linked to the image below. (Tap to View)


Here's a local Newscast with video of the breach -

Macedon Embankment Breach Newscast



And the latest embankment failure is Royalton NY, October 2021, when a 2' x 3' x 4' deep sinkhole appeared overnight between the waterway and the Empire Trail. Upon further investigation the sinkhole was found to be leaking internally out of the canal, down a 50' earthen embankment and leak-detecting dye solution was found at an old blow-down tree at the Toe of the Slope for this earthen dam.


So the New York Canal Corporation is going to repair this public safety issue by rebuilding it's Earthen Canal Dams through a new Embankment Integrity Program



It's being done through an initiative called the Earthen Embankment Integrity Program or EEIP. You can find information about it at the New York State Canal Corporation's Website


NYS Canal System Embankment Integrity Program


The ECNA, Erie Canal Neighbors Association also has an active conversation about all of these new Canal programs being rolled out across NY state. Click the image to enter the ECNA Forum Page


Here's a great conversation with one of the ECNA Founders on the subject of  Embankment Repair work along the Erie Canal in the Rochester area.


Rochester Beacon : Trees On Dams are a High-Risk Danger


This embankment integrity work has been covered in local Rochester news...and elsewhere.


Though few news outlets are reporting about the stated reason for the clearing work... safety of the Public. They tend to focus more on the controversy around those who are trying to rally for the trees causing the original embankment safety issues instead.



Madison County and residents talk Erie Canal


While many people opposing this work are saying that the NY State Canal is just fine the way it is... no issues, no safety concerns. It looks OK, trees and all. Maybe that's their view, but not everyone shares it, especially new owners, the New York Power Authority.


Here's a story from a neighbor talking about issues with a leaking Erie Canal next door, it's not the only canal neighbor with leaks.




The NY Canal Embankments will be cleared, it is a certainty.

The reason is simple... there are many more reasons to keep the embankments clear, all directed towards a safer & more sustainable NY Canal System, than there are reasons for keeping trees in place causing these embankment safety issues.

Clear embankments are easier to inspect, easier to maintain, easier to clean up, and also meet the requirements set for earthen embankment dams by all Federal, State & Local regulations & requirements. Think about it... why wouldn't you remove the trees?


This is a video of a Embankment Safety Video that the NY Canal Corporation created for the Town of Perinton, which has almost 11 miles of the Erie Canal running through it.