Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that parts of the New York State Canal System will re-open today and that the system is expected to fully re-open to navigation early next week.
Water levels in the system had been lowered to reduce the risk of flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The storms impact on the canal was minimal, and there was no damage to locks, dams or other canal structures.
Every corner of state government worked together to put into place a comprehensive plan to prepare for this storm, which included steps to prevent flooding in some of the same areas that were hit by Irene last year, Governor Cuomo said. We are fortunate that these areas were not damaged by Sandy, and we are now working to restore the canal system to navigable water levels as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The restoration of water levels throughout the Canal System will allow all recreational and commercial vessels currently in the 524-mile system to continue and complete their journeys before the system is closed down for the winter months on November 15.
In addition to navigation, the New York State Canal System is also an important source of drinking water as well as water resources for hydropower and agricultural uses.
Governor Cuomo today issued the following schedule to increase water levels in the canals to navigable levels so that the entire system can re-open next week:
Wednesday, October 31
- Stabilize levels on Cayuga, Seneca, and Oneida Lake
- Raise guard gates along Canal System
- Open Oswego, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca Canals and Erie Canal between St. Johnsville and Tonawanda to all navigation
- Begin lowering uprights and lower gates at Locks 13 (Yosts), 14 (Canajoharie) & 15 (Fort Plain)
Thursday, November 1
- Begin lowering uprights and lower gates at Locks 8 (Scotia), 9 (Rotterdam Junction), 11 (Amsterdam) & 12 (Tribes Hill)
Friday, November 2
- Begin lowering uprights and lower gates at Lock 10 (Cranesville)
- Begin lowering upper gates where possible at multiple lock locations
Saturday, November 3
- Continue to lower gates to build navigation pool on Mohawk River levels
Sunday, November 4
- Continue to build navigation pool on Mohawk River levels
- Check buoys to ensure they are in proper position, reposition if necessary
- Clear debris as necessary
Monday, November 5
- Re-open remainder of the Erie Canal, from Lock 16 to Lock 8
This schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions and operational considerations.
The New York State Canal System is a navigable 524-mile inland waterway that spans upstate New York. The waterway connects the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River.
The Canal System includes four Canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca; canalized natural waterways, plus five lakes: Oneida, Onondaga, Cross, Cayuga and Seneca; short Canal sections at Ithaca and Watkins Glen; feeder reservoirs, canals and rivers not accessible by boat from the Canal; and Canal terminals on Lake Champlain. The Canal System passes through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns.
Canal mariners can sign up for email TRANSalerts with updates on Canal conditions by visiting http://www.canals.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml.
Updates and information are available by calling 1-800-4CANAL4 or visiting www.canals.ny.gov.