Our Vital Waterways:
Agents of Transformation


WCC 2017 presents a world-class program that highlights some of the most exciting and innovative activities on the world’s waterways. Join us!

Canal Light Festivals (Netherlands)

Let’s Adapt! (USA)

Floating Communities – Flourishing Heritage, (UK)

The Transformative Power of Canals (Scotland)

Reimagining Waterways (Ireland)

Waterway Engineering, Ingenuity & Craftsmanship (Nova Scotia)

Journey Along the Erie Canal (USA)

Stimulating Urban Transformation (Poland)

Restoring Working Waterways (Northern Ireland)

Empire State Trail, USA

Restoring Waterways (UK)

PLEASE NOTE: Schedule as of 9/1/17. Program sessions and speakers subject to change.



  • Syracuse Inner Harbor, 1pm – 6 pm; open to the public and conference attendees. Come one and all to enjoy a day of fun, learning, entertainment, and merriment on the water.
    • Tour replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure.
    • Row a traditional six-oar long boat built at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
    • Watch live hot glass shows presented by the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge.
    • Try paddling! Free kayak lessons & demonstrations.
    • Tour Onondaga Lake by boat from the Honeywell Visitor Center.
    • Cycle to the Inner Harbor. Join Tour the Towpath as it completes its two-day tour from Rome to Syracuse. Meet in DeWitt for a unique ride through Syracuse to the Inner Harbor. Meet at 1pm at the Old Erie Canal State Park trailhead in DeWitt (5100 Butternut Drive).
    • Music, entertainment, food trucks, and special exhibits throughout the day.
  • “Doors Open” at Syracuse Museums & Galleries, 1-5 pm: Experience dynamic cultural institutions, including the Erie Canal Museum, Everson Museum of Art, and Onondaga Historical Association.
  • Delegate Craft Brew Tasting, Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor, 3-6 pm
  • American Canal Society Members’ Meeting, Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 1 pm
  • Inland Waterways International Members’ Meeting, Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 6-8 pm
  • Water Way Youth Video Exhibition, Everson Museum of Art, Outdoor Exhibition Venue, 8 pm: Enjoy a screening of 1-3 minute short films focusing on canal life and culture through the eyes, experience and imagination of young people from Scotland, Belgium, Italy and New York State.  Projections will be shown each night from September 24-28.
  • Delegate Opening Reception, Marriott Syracuse Downtown- lounge/bar near hotel lobby, 8pm: Mix and mingle with fellow conference delegates. We’ll also introduce you to several of the youth videographers who participated in the Waterway video exhibition, including Isolde Debuck, coordinator for Ghent short films.



Welcome Remarks and Conference Kick Off

  • Cornelius B. (Neil) Murphy, President Emeritus, State University of NY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
  • Sharon Leighton, Chair WCC2017, New York State Canal Corporation, Albany, NY, USA
  • David Edwards-May, President, Inland Waterways International, Grenoble, FR

Morning Speakers

  • Celebrating 200 Years of Transformation, Gil C. Quiniones, President and CEO, New York Power Authority and Brian U. Stratton, Director, New York State Canal Corporation, Albany, NY, USA
  • Saying “I Do”: Marrying Canal Heritage and Community Revitalization, Bob Radliff, Executive Director, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Waterford, NY, USA
  • Getting Oriented to WCC 2017: Where are we, where are we going, and what are we doing here? Duncan Hay, WCC2017 Program Chair, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor


  • The Transformative Power of Canals, Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Canals, Glasgow, Scotland,UK
  • Historic Cleanup of Onondaga Lake, John McAuliffe, Program Director, Honeywell, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Journey Along  the Erie Canal, John Robinson, CEO, Our Ability, Glenmont, NY, USA



WELCOME DINNER, GRAND BALLROOM, MARRIOTT SYRACUSE DOWNTOWN, 7:30PM; welcome from Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney; special presentation on the restoration of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown by hotel owner Ed Riley.


SESSION 1: 8:30 am-10:00 am

Track 1: Reimagining Canal Waterfronts

  • Western Reclamation Canals – Transformation from Agriculture to Urban, James C Duncan, Salt River Project, Arizona, USA
  • Understanding Landscapes and Stimulating Urban Transformations Along International Waterway E-70, Lucyna Nyka, Ph.D, Gdańsk University of Technology, POLAND
  • A New Route to Canal Restoration: Floating Communities and Flourishing Heritage, Patrick Moss, Moss Naylor Young, Frome, Somerset, UK

Track 2: The Economic Power of Water

  • 19th Century Canals Contributing to a 21st Century Economy, Mary Burgoon and Jean Loewenstein, CHA, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Canal Power: A Case Study in Connecting the Public to Small Hydropower Along Canals, Julie Smith-Galvin, JSC Communications, USA
  • Leveraging Assets on Canada’s Canal System, Darlene Upton, Parks Canada, ON, CANADA

Track 3: Canal Heritage & Restoration

  • 50 Years of Restoring Waterways, Roger Squires, Inland Waterways Association (IWA), London, UK
  • (CANCELLED) Waterway Engineering, Ingenuity and Craftsmanship: Dartmouth Inclined Plane , Douglas Brownrigg and Bill McIntyre, Shubenacadie Canal Commission, Dartmouth, NS, CANADA
  • (NEW) Interpreting and Presenting the Heritage of Scotland’s Canals, Russell Thomson, Scottish Canals, Inverness, SCOTLAND
  • Restoring the Lockport Flight , Donald Nims, P.E., Bergmann Associates, Rochester, NY, USA and Dave Kinyon, Lockport Locks Heritage District, Lockport, NY, USA

BREAK – 10:00am – 10:30am

SESSION 2: 10:30am – 12:00pm

Track 1: Reimagining Canal Waterfronts

  • Leveraging Historic Canals for Economic Revitalization: Buffalo Canalside, Tim Huges, C&S Companies, Buffalo, NY, USA
  • Inspiring Connections Along the Delaware & Lehigh Canal, Elissa M. Garofalo, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Easton, PA, USA
  • Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines: LEED for the Waterfront, Darryl Zuk, McLaren Engineering, New York, NY, USA

Track 2: Waterway Tourism

  • Sustainable Tourism: Economic Development and Natural Heritage Preservation of a Neglected Region, Julia Wleklinska, Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk, POLAND
  • Building a New Future for the Sault Ste. Marie Canal , Jeanette Cowen, Parks Canada, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, CANADA
  • Promoting Tourism Through New York State’s Canal System, Ross Levi, NYS Division of Tourism-I LOVE NY, Empire State Development, Albany, NY, USA

Track 3: Canal Heritage & Restoration

  • Canal College: Using Scotland’s Canal Heritage to Inspire & Train Future Generations, Ross Martin and Karen Moore, Scottish Waterways Trust, SCOTLAND
  • Lagan Navigation Trust: Leveraging Historic, Cultural & Natural Assets to Deliver a Restored Working Waterway in Northern Ireland, Brenda Turnbull, Lagan Trust, Lisburn, NORTHERN IRELAND
  • The International Dimension of Canada’s Historic Canals in Quebec, Lauren Small, Québec Waterways, Parks Canada, Chambly, QUE, CANADA

LUNCH: 12PM, Special Guest: Ross Levi, Executive Director/VP, NYS Division of Tourism-I LOVE NY, Empire State Development, Albany, NY, USA




SESSION 1: 8:30 am-10 am

Track 1: Celebrating & Interpreting Canals Through Public Art & Events

  • The GlassBarge, Rob Cassetti, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, USA
  • Make No Small Plans- Transforming Scottish Canals Through Art & Creative Engineering, Richard Millar, Scottish Canals, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Lowell’s Canals: A Vision for City, Peter Aucella, Lowell NHP and James Ostis, Lowell Heritage Partnership, Lowell, MA, USA

Track 2: Canal Engineering

  • Welland Canal Improvements (Ontario, Canada), William R. (Bill) Miles, Bergmann Associates, Rochester, NY, USA
  • The Stratton Lock Expansion Project (Fox River, IL), Josh Repp, Bergmann Associates, Buffalo, NY, USA
  • Innovative Below Water Inspection of Canal Facilities , Eric Thorkildsen, GPI/Greenman-Pedersen,Inc, Albany, NY, USA

Track 3: Waterway Cleanup – Canals and Brownfields

  • Combined Navigational and Environmental Dredging (Duluth, MN), Eric Dievendorf, Arcadis, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Environmental Remediation of Coal Gas Facilities along the Erie Canal, Todd Cridge, Lauren Putnam, and Mark Gravelding, Arcadis, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Transforming Utica’s Inner Harbor, Paul Romano, OBG, Utica, NY, USA, and Lisa Nagle, Elan Planning, Design & Landscape Architecture, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

Track 4: Canal Vessels – Old and New

  • Using the Rhein-Main-Danube Canal System for Green Energy and Products, Klaus Doelle, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Examining Our Legacy: The Interconnected Relationship of Waterways and Forests, Erick Tichonuk, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT, USA
  • Protecting and Promoting Ireland’s Floating Heritage, Cormac McCarthy, Waterways Ireland, Scarrif, County Clare, IRELAND

BREAK 10:00am – 10:30am

SESSION 2: 10:30am – 12:00pm

Track 1: Celebrating & Interpreting Canals Through Public Art & Events

  • Extending the Season with Light Art Festivals , Felix Guttmann, Amsterdam Light Festival, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
  • The Journey and Impact of Water Music NY, David Alan Miller, Albany Symphony, Albany, NY and Mariah Maloney, Mariah Maloney Dance, Brockport NY, USA
  • Marketing Canals to Audiences Old & New, Jim Aroune and Debbie Stack, WCNY Public Media, Syracuse, NY, USA

Track 2: Canal and Canalside Recreation

  • Empire State Trail – A Transformation along New York’s Navigable Waterways, Andy Beers, Hudson River Greenway, Albany, NY, USA
  • Let’s Adapt! Partnering for Inclusive Canalway Transformation, Anita O’Brien, Rochester Accessible Adventures, Rochester, NY, USA and Peter Abele, Erie Canal Boat Company, Fairport, NY, USA
  • Blueways – Reimagining Inland Waterways in Ireland, Sharon Lavin, Waterways Ireland, Carrick-on-Shannon, IRELAND

Track 3: Waterway Cleanup –A Focus on Onondaga Lake

  • Onondaga Lake and The Great Law of Peace, Philip P. Arnold, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Onondaga Lake: Introduction and Vital History, Edward M. Michalenko, Ph.D., Onondaga Environmental Institute, Syracuse, NY, USA
  • Onondaga Lake: Responses to Habitat Restoration , Neil H. Ringler, Ph.D., Onondaga Lake Science Center, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY, USA

Track 4: (CANCELLED) World Heritage Canals

  • Panel Discussion- Dave Ballinger, Past President of Inland Waterways International, leads a panel of representatives invited from: Rideau Canal, Canada; Grand Canal, China; Canal du Midi, France; Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wales; Amsterdam Ring, NETHERLANDS

LUNCH 12pm, special guest: Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor of New York State


DINNER: UPSTATE COOK OUT AT PAPER MILL ISLAND (ERIE CANAL- LOCK 24), BALDWINSVILLE, Enjoy a live hot glass show on the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge, tours of canal schooner Lois McClure, and see historic tugboats on the canal.


FUTURE VISIONS FOR INLAND WATERWAYS, CLOSING PLENARY, 9:00am to Noon, Niagara Hudson Building / National Grid Headquarters

  • Welcome, Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid, Presenting Sponsor
  • Reimagining Canals and Inland Waterways: From Hauling Coal to Driving a Low Carbon Economy, Panel discussion moderated by Ross Martin, Scottish Waterways Trust. Panelists:
    • Natalie Stetson, Executive Director, Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse
    • Sophie Moss, Project Manager, Water Music 2017, Albany
    • Sarah Krisch, Senior Planner, Madison County and organizer for Tour the Towpath 
    • Meghan K. Medwid, student (Environmental Resource Engineering), SUNY ESF


  • Invitation to WCC2018, Sharon Lavin, Waterways Ireland & Colin Becker, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, IRELAND
  • Ceremonial Passing of Canal Waters: United States to Ireland, WCC2017 Hosts to WCC2018 Hosts from Irish Waterways
  • Closing Remarks, David Edwards-May, President, IWI, Grenoble, FRANCE and Sharon Leighton, Chair, WCC2017, Albany, NY, USA

Lead Sponsors

back to top