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Barge Canal / Mohawk River Flooding at Schenectady Examined:

Go back to: Conclusions | ahead to: Appendix A

This information is from p. 18 of Barge Canal / Mohawk River Flooding at Schenectady Examined: A Report to the People of Schenectady by James E. Duggan (Schenectady, 2007), and is reproduced here with permission of the author.

In conjunction with other applicable plans and programs to increase capabilities to mitigate canal/river flooding in counties west of Schenectady, the Canal Corporation should commit to the goal of achieving the minimum-practical vulnerability to canal/river flooding at Schenectady.

Objectives should center on (a) limiting the incidence of floods to truly extraordinary discharges and, when conditions make flooding unavoidable, (b) converting the Vischers Ferry Dam to provide active means of mitigating flood-stages to the lowest possible.

Basic measures must add adequately scaled, flexible pre-emptive capability to lower the pool temporarily and, following events, gradually return to normalcy.

Associated measures and procedures can help reduce the extent and structural strength of sheet-ice extending upriver from the power-dam, ice-jams at the Knolls and perhaps farther upriver to and past Schenectady.

The Canal Corporation should commission a comprehensive review of all factors below the Rexford Bridge, then engineering feasibility studies toward (a) modifying the Vischers Ferry Dam with new capabilities to allow active interventions at times of high discharge from the drainage basin approach, and (b) specific short-term procedures to use the capabilities as effective means for maximizing throughput to preemptively reduce the pool-level.

Project planning for selected modifications should start at the earliest-achievable time, with an action program for implementation following as soon as possible.

To achieve and flexibly manage substantial flows below the level of the present crest, one conceptual example is the replacing of a significant upper portion of the spillway (such as from the lock to the bend at Goat Island) with an adapted Taintor gates arrangement that has worked successfully for the liftable dams at Lock 8 and farther upriver.

In the benefit-cost calculations for possible mitigating measures today, economic factors should extend beyond the observable physical damages and expenses to include concealed long-term deterioration, cost to local government for emergency responses, diminished urban lifestyle and property values (as well as corresponding assessed valuations for taxes to support local services) in an otherwise high-caliber neighborhood. Very important benefits will accrue to SCCC also.

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