August 20, 2013
Musconetcong Partnership Restores the Channel at Finesville
During the week of August 5th, 2013, Urbani Fisheries worked to restore the former impoundment above the Finesville dam site where that dam was removed by the Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership back in November of 2011. Restoring this portion of the channel has created significant fish habitat in a nearly half mile stretch of river heavily impacted by sediment that accumulated above the dam over more than 200 years at this location. With this first blockage above the Delaware River removed, anadromous fish such as American shad, eels, river herring and striped bass in addition to wild Delaware River brown trout now have passage upstream as well as good spawning habitat above the removed dam.
Urbani Fisheries out of Bozeman, Montana uses a large Caterpillar wide track machine to manipulate the river’s bed to restore the deepest part of the channel (thalweg) while building riffles, runs, pocket water using large boulders, as well as pools, juvenile fish habitat and spawning habitat. This “bed manipulation” technique provides a biological uplift in the days and months following a project. Because so much of the fine sediment is removed during the process, there remains only larger cobbles where aquatic insects including caddis, mayflies and stoneflies find abundant new habitat. We typically see insect numbers increase exponentially in the months following these projects as well as seeing a species diversity not found previously including zero tolerance species to water pollution. This site as well as others already restored by TU upstream and some soon to be restored sites are being monitored over a 3 year period for the effectiveness of our restoration work. Water quality monitoring that includes benthic macro-invertebrates, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, nitrates and other factors are taken annually at each of these sites and compared to baseline data from pre-restoration.
The channel pre-restoration (note simplified channel)
Working in the channel to restore the thalweg (deepest part of the channel)
A restored section later in the same day
Another site restored the day prior to this photo