U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants worth nearly $8.2 million for the New York State Canal Corp for debris removal from sections of the Erie Canal expanding across the Capital Region as a result of Tropical Storm Lee and Irene. Specifically, the project will remove sediment from Locks E-8 to E-22 and C-2 to C-12, and to dredge debris and remove sediment from the waterway between E-6 and E-20.
“Tropical Storm Irene quickly followed by Tropical Storm Lee, dealt a one-two punch to canal, the Cap District and to the Mohawk Valley and I’m extremely pleased that this FEMA funding will help repair the serious damage left behind,” said Schumer. “The damage in the Capital Region and along the Erie Canal was expansive and severe, and it’s the federal government’s job to help get things back on track. When I visited Amsterdam shortly following the September storms, I pushed for additional FEMA disaster assistance to help the Capital Region rebuild, and this $8.2 million investment for the New York State Canal Corp will help do just that.”
“These massive storms may be almost a year behind us, but much of the damage is still here,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This funding will help our effort to clean up and rebuild waterways so families and businesses in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley can continue to recover, and get back on their feet.”
Tropical Storm Lee produced heavy rains that took down trees and limbs, and sent debris and other waste into the New York State Canal System. $2,605,157 from FEMA will be used to dredge and remove sediment from waterways upstream and downstream of the locks of the Canal in Schenectady County. Another $5,579,794 from FEMA will be used to dredge and remove debris from the waterway between Locks E-6 through E-20 that stretch from parts of the Capital Region into the Mohawk Valley.
Senator Schumer visited Amsterdam and toured the damage to the Erie Canal at Lock 11, as well homes and businesses to get a first-hand look at the flood damage from the most recent tropical storm to hit Montgomery County. Hurricane Irene, closely followed by the recent tropical storm, had particularly devastating effects on the Erie Canal and their canal locks. The twin flooding events along the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal have caused heavy damage to the canal infrastructure, and at least locks 7 through 13 have sustained damage, with lock 10 in particularly bad condition. The locks themselves, the powerhouses, the grounds, and even the bridges were affected by this storm, and Schumer and Gillibrand’s announcement will help repair that damage.
The funding from FEMA covers 75 percent of the debris removal costs.