ALBANY New York state's canal season is under way for the 190th consecutive year.
The system includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals, and is an important artery for commercial shipping. It's also a recreation and tourism economic engine, generating nearly $380 million annually for the upstate New York economy.
State officials say last year commercial shipping on the system nearly exceeded 100,000 tons, the most in two decades, and the Canal Corporation hopes to surpass that mark this year.
New for 2014, boaters can purchase canal passes online.
Work also is underway on a flood warning system for critical watershed regions upstate. The system will cover over 13,000 square miles in 27 counties and encompasses the Oswego River Basin, Mohawk River Basin, and Upper Hudson River Basin.