Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna issues initial comments on the New York Power Authority (NYPA)/New York State Canal Corporation Earthen Embankment Integrity Program (EEIP):

August 25, 2021

“With more than 8 miles of the Erie Canal running through the Town of Perinton and Village of Fairport, this historic waterway has an incredible impact on our local economy and quality of life. As Town Supervisor, I am concerned that the proposed removal of trees, shrubs, and undergrowth along the Canal proposed in the State’s Earthen Embankment Integrity Program (EEIP) could adversely affect Perinton, Fairport, and other communities that gain economic, tourism, and recreational benefits from the Canal.

Our community has many residents in strong opposition to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) / New York State Canal Corporation (Canal Corporation) EEIP. The Town of Perinton requests NYPA and the Canal Corporation hear and consider the concerns of our residents and local leaders. I believe a common-sense solution is possible. However, that does not include proceeding without direct communication and input from local municipalities, impacted businesses, property owners who border the Canal, and community members.

I also understand that several agencies such as FEMA and the US Army Corp of Engineers have declared that trees and underbrush growing along earthen embankments pose a significant public safety risk – as it could result in a breach of the Canal if, for example, a tree was to fall and a root ball was to unearth. If this were to happen along an embankment – where the Canal is higher than the surrounding neighborhoods – it could result in catastrophic flooding in residential areas. The possibility of this scenario causes me great concern for the safety of our residents, businesses and infrastructure.

I appreciate that NYPA and the Canal Corporation took more than two years to complete the environmental review process and postpone any further physical work on the program to allow for additional opportunities for public input. I have instructed our Department of Public Works to review the EEIP, including the Embankment Inspection & Maintenance Guidebook issued by the Canal Corporation, and to coordinate with our Conservation Board. We plan to submit those comments by the deadline. The Town is doing our due diligence to review the program. We now ask NYPA and the Canal Corporation to act as good community partners to inform local towns and residents of the project’s full scope, including the exact locations planned for tree and brush removal, and request they meet and work with concerned property owners along the Canal.

In the meantime, I would encourage residents to submit their own comments by emailing NYSCC-Embankments@bergmannpc.com by Sunday, September 5, 2021.”

For more program information visit, www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2XiGbxxYxCk-uXeC7pc5ss5kyqxOYxJIozbGCW3zRIh7GBXkNMPo0p754

To view the guidebook visit, www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/DGEIS/2021-03-09_DRAFT_FINAL_Embankment_Maintenance_Guidebook.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0HaCCXDXh1xx0dFy221LLTYG-4Emu38jk-deDOHoiGnklY0ypESaxr13I