The annual mandated inspection of state canal system got underway in downtown Buffalo Tuesday morning.
Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton says over the next 60 days, inspectors and engineers will be joined by officials, friends and canal stakeholders to have an up close look at the nearly 200-year-old waterway.
"Our canal is an economic engine. It generates some $280 million every year in tourism spending," Stratton said.
Stratton says the annual inspection is an essential component of planning the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state canal system, which spans 524 miles between the Hudson River and the Niagara River and Lake Erie.
He says the canal also has a $6.2 billion impact on non-tourism industries.
"That includes irrigation of more than 100 farms, enough power from 24 hydropower plants to power 54,000 homes, drinking water, water for mining quarries, irrigation for major golf courses, and water for manufacturing industry and commercial freight shipping," he added.