NYS Canal Embankment Maintenance Program

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NYS Canal Embankment Maintenance Program

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NYS Canal Embankment Maintenance Program


Embankment Maintenance is important

Our Embankment

Maintenance Program

includes a comprehensive Vegetation Management component. This component:

Follows clear, consistent and unambiguous guidance from agencies like FEMA and the USACE on proper maintenance of elevated embankments.

Restores the structural integrity of the Canal embankments to their design condition by removing trees and brush.

Enhances the safety of residents along, and members of the public and employees on, the Canal by reducing the risk of a sudden embankment failure.

Improves the Canal Corporation’s ability to properly monitor, detect emerging issues in a timely manner, and properly maintain the Canal embankments.


Why this work is important:


How were the priority locations selected?

NYPA retained Rizzo Associates to conduct an assessment of water-retaining infrastructure along the Canal System. This project involves clearing embankments designated as “high hazard” – meaning a failure could result in loss of human life, widespread property damage, and environmental/economic impacts.


Federal guidance


- Federal Emergency Management Agency Technical Manual for Dam Owners:

Impacts of Plants on Earthen Dams - TM-534

(September 2005)


- The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Guidelines for Vegetation Management - ETL 1110-2-583 (April 2014),

Vegetation on earthen water impounding structures must be controlled to:

Allow proper inspection, surveillance, and monitoring

Enable Emergency Operations and Maintenance (O&M) activities.

Prevent structural damage, voids in embankments

Limit animal burrows


Revised Embankment Maintenance Program

The Canal Corporation is committed to public safety. 

Our Embankment Maintenance Program is critical work towards that end.  We are also committed to performing that work in a way that, to the extent possible, also recognizes and accounts for the concerns raised by local residents. To make sure we are striking the appropriate balance, we have determined to pause wide-scale vegetation removal while we develop, with community input, a more tailored approach. 


Scope of Work

This work will include:

1.     Working closely with affected property owners along the Canal to develop a site by site plan to address embankment maintenance work going forward.  

2.     Hiring a certified arborist to inform the work plan.

3.     Focusing Phase 1 project work this winter on removing felled and dead trees, and underbrush, to enhance the structural integrity of embankments and improve the line of site for embankment inspections that can identify any weaknesses or water seepage.


Who can I contact if I have concerns or would like additional information?


Jackie Schillinger

Manager, Public and Community Relations

New York State Canal Corporation

30 South Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12207




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