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Restoring the Musconetcong

Restoring the Musconetcong

Dunne inspects piece of breached damNRCS and the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) reached a major milestone in the effort to restore the Musconetcong River on Thursday November 10, 2011, with the removal of the Finesville Dam. The Association is implementing a conservation plan to restore fish passage, enhance fish habitat, stabilize eroding stream banks, control invasive exotic vegetation and plants trees and shrubs along the Musconetcong. The majority of the funding for the project at Finesville is being provided by NRCS through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. The dam removal design and construction supervision are being done by Princeton Hydro, a private engineering and environmental consulting firm from Ringoes, NJ. Construction is being done by Gleim Environmental Group of Carlisle, PA.

Planning for the restoration began in 2008 and involved input from many local, state and federal partners who lent resources and expertise to the effort. Federal agencies included the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. State agencies included NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, the State Historic Preservation Office and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Two local townships bordering the River at Finesville, namely Pohatcong Township in Warren County and Holland Township in Hunterdon County, and their historic preservation groups and several non-governmental organizations such as American Rivers and Trout Unlimited also contributed to the process.

When completed, the project will restore about four miles of the Musconetcong River from its confluence with the Delaware River in Riegelsville to the Hughesville Dam in Warren Glenn. A local safety issue (two people have drowned at the Finesville Dam) has been alleviated, fish passage and other ecological functions have been restored, and the dam’s private landowner has been relieved of the liability of owning a dam. The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership, the agencies and organizations involved with this process, is looking to move upstream with additional dam removal projects in the future.

An environmental assessment of the site and a review of cultural resources at Finesville were conducted during the development of the conservation plan for the river restoration.

Finesville Dam May 29 2008      
Musconetcong at Finesville
May 2008
     
November 2011 at Finesville   excavator in Musconetcong at Finesville Gleim Environmental begins demolition November 2011.
Musconetcong at Finesville
 November 2011
  Princeton Hydro Inspector Princeton Hydro engineer Laura Wildman oversees construction.
    archeological investigation at Finesville Michael Gall, archaeologist from Richard Grubb & Associates, washes an old timber crib structure found under the 1950’s-constructed Finesville Dam. Gall is documenting historical artifacts revealed when the dam was breached.
    restoration project being documented by US Fish and Wildlife U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is producing a video about the restoration.