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Preservation League places canal system atop its list of 'Seven to Save'

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LOCAL Erie Canal Middleport CANTILLON

A proposal to interrupt the path of the Erie Canal will need serious review if that otherwise unwanted action is crucial to protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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The Barge Canal System topped a list of seven threatened historic sites released Wednesday by the Preservation League of New York State.

The Preservation League said the threat comes from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Reimagine the Canals initiative, which last month called for further study of a consultant's recommendation to close parts of the Erie Canal as a means of preventing invasive species from reaching inland waters.

"This 'Seven to Save' designation highlights the need for New York State to prioritize stewardship of the NYS Canal System as an intact, fully navigable international waterway for present and future generation," the Preservation League's announcement said.

Funding for a $300 million, five-year work program, which was approved last week by the New York Power Authority, makes changes "without fully recognizing the system’s strengths and historic integrity," the Preservation League said. "We believe that the best future for our NYS Canal System lies in capitalizing on its authenticity as the oldest continuously operating canal system in the nation."

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