145 acres to be cleared along the Erie Canal

BROCKPORT, NY (WROC) - By next year the Erie Canal will look a lot different in many places around Rochester. The New York State Canal Corporation is out and cutting back trees and shrubs to return the shoreline to the way it looked years ago.

The area spans along 145 acres of the Erie Canal, intended to help drainage; one thing that has Janet Fleisher concerned. "In the spring it's like a lake back here," said Fleisher.

The drainage problem is across much of the neighborhood with fears of it getting worse. "Who knows how much water is going to be coming down in our already flooded backyard," said Fleisher.
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The plan is to cut the foliage along the sloped part of the canal to help eliminate roots that can cause seepage from the canal. This brings the canal back to its original purpose.

"Where there are pathways for seepage," said acting executive deputy director of the Canal Corporation John Callaghan, "If that water is coming through the embankment, we'll be able to identify that and address it."

The raised area around the canal is really a dam and the roots feeding into that earthen dam, also known as an embankment, are doing more harm than good. That is letting water flow into yards.

Other big concerns for residents are peace and quiet. "I like my privacy," said Fleisher. Fleisher says canal traffic is nonstop in the summer and still busy during the spring and fall.

"This is so peaceful. I'd like to see it stay that way," said Fleisher. Removing the trees, according to the Canal Corporation, achieves their main goal.

"In everything we do we consider the safety of the residents alongside the canal and the users of the canal to be paramount," said Callaghan. The project runs through the beginning of 2018 and has already started in some areas along the canal in Medina.

When asked about the wildlife, Callaghan said there will be no massive clear cutting and the maintenance will be in only very specific, sloped portions that should not jeopardize any animal habitats.


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