July 18, 2013

TU and partners win the Presidential Coastal America Award

The beautiful but seldom seen Musconetcong Gorge on the lower river

The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership has been awarded the coveted President’s Coastal America Award for its efforts to remove dams and restore fish habitat on the lower river.  This award will be presented by a member of the Administration to the Partners on Friday, September 13th at 1 pm at a ceremony next to the removed Finesville dam on the lower river. The Partnership includes: Trout Unlimited, Musconetcong Watershed Association, American Rivers, NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, North Jersey Resource and Conservation Development, National Park Service (Wild & Scenic Rivers), and our various landowners that we work with to remove dams and restore degraded channels and eroded banks.  To date, the Partnership has lowered one stone dam dating to the late 1790s, removed two wood coffer dams dating to the late 1800s as well as restoring the river channel in the Reigelsville area, and removed the concrete Finesville dam and the channel upstream of that former dam.  These blockages prevented anadromous fish species like American shad, river herring, striped bass, and American eels from getting upstream to their favored spawning reaches for nearly 200 years or more in some cases.  Wild brown trout in the Delaware River may now also enter the lower Musky (nickname for the Musconetcong River) and spawn in the lower reaches this fall. 

The Partnership has sets its sights on removal of the Hughesville Mill and Warren Glen Mill dams next.  Significant work has been done to secure permits for removal of the Hughesville Mill dam which is currently the first blockage above the Delaware River now that the other lower dams have been removed.  Removal of the 35 1/2’ tall Warren Glen Mill dam will once again open up the Musconetcong Gorge in its entirety for the first time since at least the 1880s when a paper mill built a dam there to power the mill.