There is a fight happening along the Erie Canal. The New York State Canal Corporation is removing trees in the area. Officials say it will keep the community safe from flooding. Local environmental activists are not happy about this and will rally against this project on Sunday.

There is a fight happening along the Erie Canal. The New York State Canal Corporation is removing trees in the area. Officials say it will keep the community safe from flooding. Local environmental activists are not happy about this and will rally against this project on Sunday.

The activists say there has to be better way to stop flooding as opposed to chopping down trees. Some of the trees that have been and will be chopped down have been standing for nearly a century.

The canal corporation has already started removing trees and brush in Medina, Albion and Brockport. By the time this Vegetation Management Project ends in 2018, officials would have cut down trees at 56 locations covering about 145 acres along the canal.

Officials will replace with trees with grass. Representatives from the Canal Corporation say they will be responsible for making sure that grass is cut. This is a two million dollar project and environmental activists like Elizabeth Agte say this isn't a good idea.

She and her husband have been passing out fliers along the canal, and she says the community agrees this could have detrimental effects.

"We have no idea how much impact it would make to cut down these trees," Agte said. "Everyone knows they are essential for CO2, they clean our air, they keep the ground cool and provide habitat."

Agte also says the public was not properly notified about this project beyond one public meeting. She also says elected officials did not have knowledge of the specifics of the vegetation management project.

Officials from the Canal Corporation say they have looked into the environmental impact of the project but have seen no red flags. They emphasize this project will keep the community along the canal safe. Officials from the New York State Power Authority sent this statement to address our questions:

"The Canal Corporation's top priority is the safety of the users of the Canal and the Canalway Trail along with nearby homes and businesses. The best way to ensure safety is to follow guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Army Corps of Engineers and restore embankments and dams to their original design condition, free of vegetation whose roots can cause seepage and potentially weaken embankments to the point of failure. This project will enable more thorough inspections of embankments so any problems can be quickly identified and remediated. Those who use the Erie Canal or live nearby deserve to know that it is safe and secure.

Throughout the rollout of this vegetation management program, the Canal Corporation has been fully transparent about the program and its goals. We have held multiple public meetings with community members that were advertised in local media and contacted elected officials. We spoke with numerous public officials, including Pittsford Supervisor Bill Smith by phone on October 30 and Perinton Supervisor Michael Barker by email on November 1. Canal personnel have personally met with homeowners whose property is adjacent to the Erie Canal. Residents can also go to the Canal Corporation website for more information about the project, including maps that show where work will be performed. We are looking to schedule another public meeting early in the new year to explain the process and project and answer questions posed by the community and elected officials."

Local environmental activists, including the Sierra Club aren't buying that story. They will rally with the Town Supervisor from Perinton and Pittsford and dozens of other people who want the state to reconsider this project.

The Stop the Canal Clear Cut rally is happening on Sunday, December 10th, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Erie Canal Boat Launch on Ayrault Road in Perinton.