Civil War-era Dam to Undergo Repairs after Labor Day for Safety Upgrades 

For Immediate Release: 03/08/19

ALBANY—The New York State Canal Corporation today announced that a major rehabilitation project is slated for a reservoir in Madison and Onondaga counties that once supplied water to the Erie Canal.

Repairs at the DeRuyter Reservoir Dam, which dates back to the Civil War, will begin after Labor Day, following the peak of the summer boating season. Crews will stabilize the embankment, install drainage systems, build new low-level outlets and rehabilitate overflow spillway structures. The project is expected to take 10 to 12 months to complete.

"Safety is always our first priority, for those who use Canal Corporation assets as well as those who live nearby," said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. "DeRuyter is an important recreational and historical resource in Central New York, and we want to ensure it is safe and in good working order, providing important quality-of-life benefits for area residents for many generations to come."

The reservoir is a manmade 575-acre lake in southwest Madison County and southern Onondaga County built during the Civil War to provide water for the Erie Canal, though it is no longer used for that purpose. It now serves as an important regional recreational resource for boating, fishing and bird watching.

The dam is considered a high-hazard structure by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. While there is no imminent danger of failure, work is needed to ensure the dam's long-term safety and integrity.

In order to safely and properly make these repairs, water levels on the reservoir will be lowered 10 feet. Subject to precipitation and other factors, water levels would return to normal in 2020.

Residents who live downstream from the reservoir along Limestone Creek could see high flows while water levels are being reduced. The Canal Corporation will take remedial steps to minimize any impact.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York's canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2019, New York will mark the 200th anniversary of the first trip taken on the Erie Canal, from Rome to Utica.

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Steven Gosset
Media Relations
(914) 390-8192