Montgomery County

FEMA gives $8M for canal repairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the state Canal Corp. more than $8 million fo

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the state Canal Corp. more than $8 million for the agency’s post-disaster cleanup of the canal system.

U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the aid in a news release Friday.

“Tropical storm Irene quickly followed by Tropical Storm Lee dealt a one-two punch to the canal, the [Capital] District and to the Mohawk Valley and I’m extremely pleased that this FEMA funding will help repair the serious damage left behind,” Schumer said in the release.

The storms caused an estimated $31.6 million in damage to canal infrastructure. At Lock 10 between Cranesville and the town of Florida in Montgomery County, surging floodwater, unable to topple the canal’s movable dams, carved out a massive gully to the south of the lock. The surge sent a major electrical transmission line cascading into the Mohawk River.

Much of that gully has been filled in, but a large pond remains on the site where lush grass and parkland once welcomed guests.

Emergency work that followed the storms allowed several boats to get out of the canal system in November. That work entailed dredging roughly 15,000 tons of sediment and debris, loading it up on 100 barges and hauling away.

Two applications submitted by the Canal Corp. were approved for 75 percent funding.

One will yield $2,605,157 toward sediment work completed and another appropriates $5,579,794 for the debris removal.

The work took place on portions of the Champlain Canal and a 55-mile stretch of the Erie Canal west of Schenectady.

The Canal Corp. was able to repair infrastructure damage by April, marking an early opening for the system’s 188th consecutive season.

The Canal Corp. has more work to do to fully recover. The parks at Locks E-8, E-9 and E-10 look more like the surface of the moon than parks, and Guy Park Manor’s historic stone mansion remains a construction project with the stone that made up parts of its walls laying in pile at Lock E-11 in Amsterdam.

Canal Corp. Spokesman R.W. Groneman on Friday said restoration work continues and the agency has more applications for federal reimbursement in the pipeline. “The Erie Canal is a national treasure and an economic resource for all of Upstate New York,” he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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