Erie Canal Neighbors Association Conducts Perinton Survey

If you are reading this webpage you have probably just scanned a QR code while walking along the Erie Canal Trail near Fairport in the Town of Perinton

It was on a clipboard, carried by someone like this:


Please Read On... this will be interesting.

Oxbow Lake Embankment Dam

Perinton, NY

Date: A Brisk October Day

If you did not realize it, you are actually standing on the crest of an earthen embankment dam, that is holding back several millions of gallons of water called Oxbow Lake,  from thousands of unsuspecting Perinton residents below.

The Erie Canal Trail is also an Embankment Dam & Waterway Inspection Road, used by the NYS Canal Corporation on a daily basis.

This is an aerial view of Oxbow Lake:

All the trees in red area are on a steep, earthen dam, under pressure at the very top.

Note the elevation of the Erie Canal at 463' above sea level, and Oxbow Lake, and the Empire Trail (right where you are standing). It's all elevated

Now see the area below to the left of the Erie Canal? It is 53' below the canal water being held back by a very long, very overgrown , earthen dam or "embankment" as it's called. It's a needless danger in this community.

That embankment is supposed to be GRASS covered, looking like this:

The picture below is what a grass covered earthen canal embankment should look like. This section of embankment dam is located 1 mile east of Brockport and has a dive culvert just ahead in the tree line. That culvert carries Brockport Creek under the Erie Canal.


Be aware that the NYS Canal Corporation is aware of the canal leak issues in Perinton, as seen by this newly released Erie Canal Seepage Map that's showing the very spot you are standing on right now.

This Oxbow area has a history of canal breaches.

This embankment dam is unsafe, and seeping enough water, to warrant emergency repairs as recently as last year, and is very much in need of vegetation removal so that the embankment dam can be repaired, and properly inspected. 


You can see the Canal Integrity website by selecting the link below, that website also suggest the exact same thing, clear canal embankments for safety.

So, safe to say that Erie Canal Neighbors & Local Communities should probably heed their warning.


If you don't believe all of this, the simple FACT that you are standing on a 50' tall man-made earthen embankment dam, then please...

Simply walk over to the edge of the dam, where the trees are, and look down the outer slope of the embankment.

See the valley below? 

Can you see the houses in the neighborhood below?

This earthen embankment dam is COVERED with very thick invasive vegetation that prevents the dam from being properly inspected. There are many areas along the canal just like this, Over 100 miles that have NEVER been inspected, according to NYS Comptroller Documents 

All of this is outlined on the integrity website of the Canal Corporation

These hazardous conditions place everyone living below this spot along the Erie Canal, in a flood impact zone, that only becomes more unsafe over time. That is according to a recent, independent, NY State DEC study.

And few if any people in communities like Brentwood, Crystal Springs or even far-off in Penfield, realize that the entire Irondequoit creek basin is the lowest point that any canal flood water would seek, and their homes are in possible danger because it's in their backyards.

So why isn't this Embankment Dam being cleared?

Is that what you are wondering?

Well it's because there is a "grass-roots" Facebook group who has convinced themselves, and their local Town & Village governments, that "no danger exists" with unsafe, uninspected, high-hazard dams.

Their idea is that canal embankments aren't a danger, all purely on a few individuals beliefs,  thoughts & opinions within this Facebook group.

The group has no supporting science or hydrology experts to back their claims.

There are NO experts who support earthen dams in the condition that canal embankments have become.

There are 60' tall trees on 30' tall earthen embankments that impound water for navigation... physics say a tree blowdown is like popping a cork.

The Facebook group calls itself "Stop the Canal Clear-cut".

 You can find out more about them here on our web discussion forum

And so three Towns took the Canal Authority to Court, based on hearsay from a group on Facebook, and forced the Canal Corporation (and parent NYPA) to conduct a Full State Environmental Quality Study.

That environmental study is now done and the FINAL report is due out any day. Work being done on embankments is NOT a "clear-cut", as some may say in this community. It's REQUIRED earthen dam maintenance to meet State & Federal laws and guidelines for public safety.


That EEIP SEQR Final Impact Study will show that the Canal Corporation was pushing on the side for SAFETY, while those that tried to interfere & unsuccessfully stop the Canal Embankment Integrity maintenance work from being done, were not. That list would also include several local community leaders, who now must rethink their "strategy" of denial.

The Environmental study will also show that Town Residents, living below the Erie Canal waterline, in neighborhoods around Perinton, Fairport and Pittsford\Brighton, have been living under danger of embankment breaches and floods for almost 10 years now... that needs to change!

All this happened while a NY State finished an 18 month long study that showed EXACTLY what the Canal Corporation has been saying all along:

The Canal IS broken and needs to be repaired, which includes inspecting miles and miles of earthen dams. If we can't see it we can't fix it!

That final New York State Environmental Study is due on by the End Of October, when the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation files it's next set of SEQR statements & approvals online. 

Just a reminder, the picture below shows this same Oxbow Dam being built in 1916-22. Note how high above the valley below the New Barge Canal was built.

All of this area has now been filled with homes and business in the past 100 years, all built under a very large, very long earthen embankment dam holding millions of gallons of Erie water overhead.

This image is from Fairport/Perinton archives and you are standing very close to where it was taken back then.


Now it's time for you to decide...

If you now understand that you are standing atop a very LARGE earthen embankment dam please show your support for public safety by signing our petition, simply click the image below.

If you figured out you are standing on a DAM you are correct... you have come to the right conclusion.



If you are still undecided, or maybe want to learn more, go to our online ECNA Forum and read about this topic and many others that just might open your eyes. Social media isn't very social when it wants to trade "shade for safety". Your safety, your neighbors, safety... your kids...

And if you want to voice your concern about Canal Safety to your local Town  Legislators & Officials, please go and Take A Poll about this issue.

Click the image below to vote and read more.



Thank you for taking part in our ECNA Study today.

Look for us in the future along the Erie Canal Trail.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Oxbow Dam, you may ask the person who showed you the QR code a question or two about Erie Canal dams, or dam safety in general.

But PLEASE do not harass him/her/them as they are also recording that information for us as well.

Be kind, don't be blind... listen to the science about Earthen Embankment Dam Safety.