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.
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.
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!