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New York State Canal Corp. will not remove trees from along Erie Canal

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  • Staff Report 

On Wednesday the environmental review and management plan was released that showed the New York State Canal Corp. would not complete a total tree removal along the Erie Canal.

For five years there has been a fight over what to do regarding growth along the embankments of the Erie Canal.

At 197 years old, around 12% of the canal has built up dirt and rock embankments between Lockport and Macedon in the Rochester area, according to MPN Now.


The embankments work as a dam to keep the water in and some areas have seen trees grow in as well as other vegetation. Many areas ended up with trees and vegetation cut out because state engineers believed the roots were causing seepage from growing into the embankment. The project was sued and halted after a Supreme Court judge determined the state did not go through the proper channels before starting to cut down trees.

Even after an environmental review was released by Canal Corp. in 2021, many still felt there was too much tree removal included. Now, clear-cutting has been removed entirely from the program.

In place of clear-cutting is the Earthen Embankment Integrity Program. This will allow state engineers to view each site individually. Those with seepage located in public areas will bring in an arborist or landscape architect to survey the area and find an alternative solution.

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