Schenectady County

Vischer Ferry Dam undergoes repairs

Work to repair minor damage to the Vischer Ferry Dam caused by last week’s storms could be completed

Work to repair minor damage to the Vischer Ferry Dam caused by last week’s storms could be completed by this Friday, state officials said.

The damage caused the water level above the dam at Lock 7 to drop about a foot. The drop caused the state to notify upstream marinas and boaters in the Niskayuna area, but the drop — or the work to repair the damage — is not expected to affect the navigation channel.

The storms and recent heavy rains caused damage to several “flashboards” at the dam. Flashboards are planks that are used to make the water levels higher to ensure summer navigation, according to the New York Power Authority.

The same heavy rains and storms also caused the canal to be shut as a precaution from Lock 7 in Niskayuna to Lock 19 in western New York. The canal reopened by Friday.

The damage to the Vischer Ferry Dam was discovered Saturday. The state power authority responded by cutting power production at the small hydro plant that afternoon to ensure that the plant didn’t contribute to the lower water levels.

The water levels above the dam are usually between 212.8 feet and 213.2 feet above sea level. Saturday evening, they had dropped to 212.7 feet.

It was enough of a drop for officials to advise marinas and boaters that they may want to consider moving moored boats from shallow areas above Lock 7 as a precaution.

The work to fix the flashboards is set for Friday, a state power authority spokeswoman said.

The power authority and state Canal Corporation will reinstall the flashboards. To do so, water levels will have to be lowered Thursday night to make the work possible. The levels are to be restored to normal by Friday evening.

The water levels during the repair work are not expected to have an impact on boating within the navigation channel, the spokeswoman said.

She also noted the repair schedule could change in the event of unexpected precipitation and high-water conditions.

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