As New York prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of the Erie Canal in 2017, ownership for the canal system was transferred from one state agency to another.

On Jan. 1, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) assumed ownership of the New York State Canal Corporation, taking over from the New York State Thruway Authority. The Thruway Authority had overseen the canal system since 1992, and had already transferred fiscal responsibility for the Canal Corporation to the NYPA on April 1, 2015.

“We have anticipated this day for nearly a year and we are excited about the potential this new partnership represents,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “By helping to identify and streamline operations with the Canal Corporation, we are confident we can achieve operating efficiencies to build on the solid foundation of this iconic waterway.”

The New York State Canal system includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. NYPA owns three hydroelectric facilities along the Erie Canal and has worked closely with the Canal Corporation for decades to operate them.

In a statement, NYPA said that transition planning had been underway for the past year and that the transfer was expected to have little impact on waterway users.

“Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated employees at NYPA, Canals and the Thruway Authority, this transfer will be seamless for the many dedicated users of the Canal System,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “With the benefit of NYPA’s focus on best-in-class operations and Canals’ dedicated workforce, we will ensure the canal system continues to thrive.”

In 2017, the Canal Corporation will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Erie Canal, which occurred in the city of Rome on July 4, 1817.