A total of $8.2 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants will be used for removal of debris from sections of the Erie Canal across the Mohawk Valley and Capital Region caused by last year's tropical storms.
Tropical Storm Lee produced heavy rain that took down trees and limbs, and sent debris and other waste into the canal system, a news release from U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand stated.
About $2.61 million 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 $5.58 million will be used to dredge and remove debris from the waterway between Locks E-6 through E-20, which stretch from parts of the Capital Region into the Mohawk Valley.
The work affecting Montgomery County will include: Lock 10 at Cranesville; Lock 11 at Amsterdam; Lock 12 at Tribes Hill; Lock 13 at Randall; Lock 14 at Canajoharie; and Lock 15 at Fort Plain.
Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Dwight Schwabrow said today the FEMA funding is welcome in the ongoing effort to help clean up from the storms.
Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shayne Walters said a lot of cleanup work has to be done, including the removal of many large trees.
"Any help we get is great," Walters said.
The news release stated funding from FEMA covers 75 percent of the debris-removal costs.
Schumer stated in the release: "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. 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," Schumer added, "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."
Gillibrand stated in the release, "These massive storms may be almost a year behind us, but much of the damage is still here. 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."
The release noted Schumer visited Amsterdam and toured the damage to the Erie Canal at Lock 11, as well as homes and businesses to get a firsthand look at the flood damage in Montgomery County.
The flooding along the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal caused heavy damage to the canal infrastructure. Locks 7 through 13 sustained damage.
The locks themselves, the powerhouses, the grounds and the bridges were affected, the release said.