ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Canal Corporation announced a couple weeks back that water levels for this navigation season in the Erie Canal between the Macedon and Lockport locks will be consistent with levels maintained throughout 2022 — approximately one foot lower than historic levels.

Shane Mahar, Spokesperson for NYS Canal Corporation says, “Last navigation season in 2022 we made a decision to reduce the water level by about a foot in that greater Rochester region of the Erie canal to reduce the pressure off of the embankments and by doing that temporary reduction we realized that the seeps that we were monitoring that were wet went from north of 260 to less than 50…”

This will be the second year in a row that water levels are reduced as the Canal Corporation continues to monitor those active seeps in the embankments to prevent any possible breeches. 

“We’re trying to make sure that the canal stays safe, and it stays operable and that it is here for all of Monroe County all of NY to enjoy for the next generation as we look to begin the 3rd century of the canal’s operation in 2025,” says Mahar.   

Boaters will not have any issues coming down the main navigation channel, and Shane says there will only be minimal impacts felt by some dock owners. 

“Some boat owners, some dock owners may need a small step stool or something to help them get in and out of their boat at their dock just because of that slight reduction in the water levels,” says Mahar.  

It’s a short-term solution as they continue to monitor any known seeps over the next several years. These efforts are being done as part of ongoing ‘earthen embankment integrity program,’ to keep the Erie Canal safe and ready by the time canal navigation starts up for the season on May 19.