New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's 2018 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) annual competitive funding program awarded more than $103 million in grants to 124 projects that will improve water quality, reduce the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs), and protect drinking water across the state. The grants are administered by DEC.
Canal Corp. waives tolls for recreational boats through 2021
Recreational boats will be able to continue to use the New York State Canal System toll free through 2021, after the New York State Canal Corporation Board of Directors approved an extended waiver this week.
The $25 to $100 toll had been waived in 2017 and 2018 to celebrate the Erie Canal bicentennial and the 100-year anniversary of the New York State Barge Canal, now known as the New York State Canal System, according to a news release from the Canal Corporation.
“We had initially waived the tolls for special occasions, but the increased patronage of the canals is also a cause for celebration,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, which oversees the Canal System. “Come spring, we hope even more boaters will find out why the canals make for a unique experience on the water.”
Commercial vessels will continue to be charged the tolls, which depend on the size of the boat, the release said.
Motorized pleasure boat traffic on the state canal system increased 3 percent over last year as boaters took advantage of tolls being waived, the release said
The state recorded those vessels traveling through canal system locks and lift bridges 71,529 times during the 2018 navigation season, compared to 69,362 lockings in 2017, the release said.
Those numbers account for each time a boat goes through a lock or under a lift bridge, not the actual number of boats. If one boat travels through several locks it is counted separately at each one, the release said.
The New York State Canal Corporation also announced the navigation season dates for recreational vessels for 2019-2021.
Each year, the season will begin the Friday of the week before Memorial Day and end the Wednesday after Columbus Day, the release said.
For example, the 2019 season will run from May 17 to Oct. 16. Operating hours for 2019 will be announced in April.
Steven Gosset | Steven.Gosset@nypa.gov | (914) 390-8192
RECREATIONAL VESSEL TRAFFIC ON NEW YORK STATE CANALS INCREASED 3.4 PERCENT IN 2018
More Boats on the Water after Tolls Waived on System for Second Consecutive Year; Hire Boats Show Big Increase
ALBANY—The New York State Canal Corporation today announced that motorized pleasure boat traffic on the state Canal System increased 3.4 percent over last year as more boaters took advantage of tolls being waived on the system for the second consecutive year.
Motorized pleasure boats—the most-common vessels on the canals—were recorded traveling through Canal System locks and lift bridges 71,463 times during the 2018 navigation season that began May 15 and ended Oct. 10, compared to 68,928 lockings in 2017. Lockings are up 9 percent compared to the same period in 2016, the last year tolls were imposed, when 65,281 recreational vessels locked through.
“We are thrilled that more people are experiencing New York’s canals and all they have to offer,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “With 524 miles of waterways to explore, our Canal System provides unparalleled recreational opportunities and is becoming a magnet for tourism.”
The figures account for each time a boat goes through a lock or under a lift bridge, not the actual number of boats. If a boat travels through several locks, it would be counted as locking through each time. The numbers also do not account for boaters who only travel locally and do not go through a lock. A large percentage of boating traffic falls into this category.
New York waived tolls for recreational vessels in 2017 to celebrate the Erie Canal bicentennial and did so again this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Barge Canal, now known as the New York State Canal System. It includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals.
A decision on tolls for 2019 will be made by the end of the year. In the past, the Canal Corporation has charged $25-$100 for a season pass; the exact amount depends on the size of the vessel.
The Canal System also saw a 21 percent increase in hire boats leased by private companies for three to seven nights, so vacationers can leisurely explore the canal corridor. A hire boat on display this year at the new Exposition Center at the Great New York State Fair drew thousands of visitors.
“There is no better way to spend free time than boating in upstate New York, and some of the best boating is on the historic New York State Canal System,” said Gabe Capobianchi, Empire State Marine Trades Association president.
“It’s great to see recreational use of the system on the rise and it’s an indication that more people are discovering the joys of boating and the wonderful resource that the Canal System is to New York State.”
News from the Hudson River Estuary Program
The Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Hudson River estuary was completed in August by a group of more than 30 organizations in consultation with state and federal agencies. The plan details the current conditions of the Hudson River estuary, identifies potential restoration sites, and recognizes the needs that must be addressed in the coming decades to restore the river and prepare for future conditions
The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture & Markets are encouraging partners to get involved in raising public awareness about invasive species during Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) from July 8-14. ISAW is an annual campaign to provide New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to protect the State's lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive pests. This year's theme is "What YOU can do to help stop the spread.
New York's marine resources are critical to the state's economy, supporting nearly 350,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars through tourism, fishing and other industries. By investing in the health of this ecosystem now, we can secure a vibrant future for New York’s waters and the people who depend on them.
"At Governor Cuomo's direction, New York is leading one of the nation's most comprehensive programs to address the threat of destructive invasive species," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "This proposed plan will help our state and local partners more effectively prevent, detect, and respond to invasive species."