Perinton, NY Residents - Help Save the Oxbow Lake Dam

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In late 2017 the NYS Canal Corporation (NYSCC) came into our Town saying that Erie Canal earthen embankments were unsafe, they had not been properly inspected, and were in need of overdue maintenance & repair. It was all part of a new effort for Canal Embankment Safety  They called these embankments "dams", and stated they had to be cleared of trees, by Federal & State code, and replanted with grass.

They had in hand, an Embankment Vegetation Management Plan for their project; which covered both removal of the overgrown vegetation, but also a plan for replanting of natural. privacy screening barriers, that would replace the trees they were taking down, if their Embankment Restoration criteria called for it.

The Canal Corporation's Dam Safety Plan was not very popular and some in our community decided to fight against it. They managed to slow the process down, while the owners of these unsafe Embankment Dams, the New York Power Authority, did a FULL environmental review of their embankment clearing process.

Now that Environmental REVIEW is done, and the canal embankment safety work has cleared all hurdles that this group of residents threw in front of it. And, most likely that canal embankment clearing work is going to start back up in our area later this year, after the 2021 Canal Navigation season ends.

Here we are again, over three years later and we STILL have one of the most dangerous Erie Canal Embankment Dams right in our backyard, right here in Perinton & Fairport.

If you can't recognize this Embankment Dam it's because the whole thing is STILL covered with trees, from Crest to Toe. The overgrown vegetation, and a few very large crevices, make this earthen dam ripe for a breach & flood that would cover all the land below it for miles.

This invisible dam in our midst has already been rated unsafe, received a HIGH hazard flood rating, and has resulted in FEMA Flood Zone Map changes in our Town & Village.

Area flood maps are all ready to release as part of the Canal Embankment Integrity Program Paperwork

This dam needs to be fixed, or we all just might be buying Flood Insurance.. without a choice in that decision.

The NYS canal Corporation created an Embankment Restoration Video to inform us this dam clearing work needed to be done. And after that, they specifically made a Perinton Safety Video, warning all of us, about this issue with unsafe dams in our community.

Some have listened to the message in this video, while others have simply stated it's wrong & ignored it...at everyone's peril.

This  unsafe dam is looming over the western half of Perinton, and holds back millions & millions of gallons of Erie Canal water from potentially flooding our community. It's also holding back a sizeable lake that many local Fairport & Perinton people frequent for a nice walk by it's shoreline or a destination to kayak to when the canal is filled. 

So where is this danger you ask?

It's on the west side of the Erie Canal, opposite the Oxbow Park & Trail which is by the old Minerva school. It's looming over many neighborhoods along Jefferson Avenue, like Brentwood, Crystal Springs & Oakwood Manor. 

It's more than half a mile long, and at it's largest height the earthen embankment dam rises almost 50 feet above the surrounding area below... and it's STILL very hard to see that it's there.

It's that big uphill slope, currently covered with dangerous trees, it leads up about 40-50 feet to the Erie Canal Trail. 

There used to be a set of wooden steps near the south end of this dam. But EMERGENCY REPAIRS in 2018 required that those steps had to go. They should not have been built on the slope of an earthen dam to begin with.

It's hard to make out, right now, that it is an earthen dam, but we all should take the word of the Dam Owners, NYPA and the New York Canal Corporation, that this hill is an UNSAFE EMBANKMENT that needs to be repaired.

Would it ever be a smart idea to ignore the pleas of ANY property owner in Perinton who is stating they have a public safety problem on their property?

The answer is NO!

If you have doubts this tree covered hill is really a dam, you can go look at some canal embankments west of Rochester, along the Erie Canal, that have already been cleared and replanted with grass by viewing this ECNA Post.

The NYS Canal Corporation has already cleared about 25 miles of unsafe dams on the starting in Middleport NY and stretching to Brockport, our neighbors to the West. Go see for yourself what is hiding under all those trees.

Please, if you read this and care about your community... sign the Petition.

If you currently live below this large Earthen Erie Canal Dam... sign the Petition.

If you care about what might happen to the Perinton Community "environment" if this embankment dam broke and flooded us... SIGN the Petition.

Thank you so much for your time, and for caring what happens in your Town

You can read all about the public safety issues with the Oxbow Lake Embankment Dam by clicking the link below, it will take you to a POST on the Erie Canal Neighbors Association Forum

Help Save the Oxbox Lake Dam - ECNA