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Canal Corp. says tree stumps will be removed with grass surface to be established

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mohawk Valley Materials from Utica cuts down trees next to the towpath in Albion on Friday. This section was just west of the Brown Street bridge. The company started clearing trees along the canal last month in medina and is working its way east to Fairport.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 November 2017 at 11:33 am

ALBION – Canal Corp. officials say they know they trees being cut down along the fringe of the towpath is a shock for many in the community. The strip will look better than its immediate state when the trees are cut down, an official said Friday in Albion. The stumps will be removed and grass seed will be spread.

The tree removal is phase one of a vegetation management project.

The New York State Canal Corp. has hired Mohawk Valley Materials from Utica to remove vegetation on the Canal Corp. right of way.

The Canal Corp. will be taking down trees on 145 acres between Medina and Fairport. The contractor hired for the job won’t be touching any trees on privately owned land.

Trees are removed in Albion in the section near the Brown Street bridge.

The trees have roots that can burrow into the soil, going under the towpath and reaching the canal walls. That can make the canal vulnerable to leaks and weaken the walls, Canal Corp. officials said.

“Their removal will restore the integrity of the embankments and improve the Canal Corporation’s ability to properly manage their condition, keeping the communities that surround the canal safe from potential flooding due to structural failures,” the Canal Corp. states on its website. (Click here for the link to see more about the Vegetation Management Project.)

The tree-cutting crew is working its way east along the canal after starting in Medina last month.

The Canal Corp. posted this section of Frequently Asked Questions about the project:

Q: Why are we undertaking a vegetation management program?

A: Together with the New York Power Authority, the Canal Corporation is taking steps to strengthen and reinforce Erie Canal embankments in Monroe and Orleans counties. This work primarily involves removal of trees and other vegetation, which can weaken embankments through root structure growth. NYPA and the Canal Corporation are taking proactive, appropriate measures to ensure the embankments are restored to their design condition, free of vegetation and roots. This type of vegetation can provide pathways for seepage, which can potentially weaken embankments and result in failure, leading to flooding of lands surrounding the canal. Furthermore, the heavy vegetation prevents Canal employees and other inspectors from being able to thoroughly monitor the integrity of the Canal’s embankments.

Q: What is the scope of the project?

A: The work will take place in phases. First, any required environmental protection measures will be installed. Next, smaller brush will be cleared, followed by the cutting of trees. Brush and trees will be removed from the site of work or may be chipped on site. Eventually the tree stumps will be excavated and removed and the affected area will be regraded. As the work progresses, all disturbed areas will be restored by establishing a grass surface that the Canal Corporation will maintain.

Sections of the towpath are closed while the contractors take down trees. This spot is just west of Main Street in Albion.

Q: What impacts will this project have on your property?

A: The Canal Corporation has taken care to assure the work is being done exclusively on property it owns to ensure your land remains undisturbed. Please contact us regarding any potentially impacted permitted structures on Canal lands at 518-449-6026. Canal personnel will be happy to come to your property to do an assessment and help you determine whether the structure(s) in question should be temporarily moved.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2017, New York is celebrating the bicentennial for the start of the Erie Canal’s construction.

Trees are cleared out on the north side of the canal between Main and Ingersoll streets in Albion on Friday.

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