Herkimer Hydraulic Canal No Longer Exists Yet Lowers Property Values

Does your property FEMA ranking need a change?

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Final phase of Herkimer's Hydraulic Canal project is finished. (View from East Smith Street toward the Mohawk River.)
A section of the now completed Hydraulic Canal project, looking toward the Mohawk River from East Steele Street. Despite the out-of-date FEMA Flood maps, the area is no longer a flood risk

by Linda Kaidan
The map is not the territory. Alfred Korzybski

What is Herkimer’s Hydraulic Canal? How does it impact FEMA flood designations which influence both property values and the cost of flood insurance?

In the 1830’s Herkimer, NY was home to several major industries including furniture manufacturing and a paper mill. Local companies made use of hydraulic energy to power their production enabled by the construction of the Herkimer Hydraulic Canal. The canal’s water originated in West Canada Creek.

Ancient map of Herkimer's Hydraulic Canal, published by New Department of Environmental Conservation.
Ancient map of Herkimer’s Hydraulic Canal, published by New Department of Environmental Conservation.

Eventually, the canal was no longer used and became a dumping site and a flood hazard. By 2021, a remediation project succeeded in making the hydraulic canal area much safer. The former Herkimer Hydraulic Canal is now cleaned, filled in, and flood safe. It is now a lovely green space. Newer parts are fenced off and hopefully will become a village park that leads to the banks of the Mohawk River.

Herkimer Hydraulic Canal(left). View from East Steele St.
Hydraulic Canal (left) where it crosses beneath East Steele Street and continues on to the Mohawk River to the right.

If you think your property has incorrect FEMA flood zoning you can submit a zoning change to FEMA!

It appears that remediation has not yet become part of the FEMA flood risk map commonly used by realtor.com. FEMA still shows this area as a dangerous flood zone (FEMA flood map-featured image-top). It continues to adversely impact local property values and gives potential home buyers concern.
If you are selling a home along the former hydraulic canal please contact FEMA to change your flood zone rating using this link.  If you are planning on getting flood insurance, you should also consider examining your FEMA designation and make an effort to correct it where applicable. It can save you from higher premiums!

The current FEMA Flood Map shows flooding in zones where Herkimer Hydraulic Canal has been filled in.
The current FEMA Flood Map shows flooding in zones where Herkimer Hydraulic Canal has been filled in.

Author: herkimerblog

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan