Tag Archives: musconetcong

An after photo at the former Finesville dam site. Credit: Eric Schrading/USFWS

The people—and the fish—say thanks!

Who doesn’t like a pat on the back for a job well done? Today, we’re sharing our excitement to be part of a partnership that’s received a prestigious environmental award for work on the Musconetcong River in northwest New Jersey. The award comes from Coastal America, which recognizes outstanding collaborative projects and excellence in leadership for protecting, preserving and restoring the nation’s coastal resources. Four partnerships were picked this year from across the U.S. Read today’s news release.

The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership has restored 3.4 miles connecting the Musconetcong to the Delaware River. In 2011, the partnership completed removal of Finesville and Riegelsville dams, the first two obstructions upstream of where the river meets the Delaware River. Many of the members of the partnership also worked together to remove the Gruendyke and Seber dams further upstream.

The dam removals along the 42-mile Musconetcong, also called the Musky, have restored natural stream flows, opened the way for migratory fish including American eels, alewife and blueback herring, and improved habitat for trout, bass and other local fish populations. Additionally, the projects alleviated some flooding by restoring the natural flood protection features of the riverside wetlands.

Fishing on the Musky. Credit: John Czifra

Reconnecting NJ’s Musky to the Delaware River

Where are we today?

View project map.

A man-made dam continuously harnessed the Musconetcong River at Finesville for more than 250 years, influencing the settlement of the region and providing visitors and residents of this northwest New Jersey village with a connection to its industrial origins powered by the teeming water of the river.

Like all of the dams on the 43-mile Musconetcong, also known as the Musky, the dam in Finesville had become obsolete. It wasn’t running a mill, contributed to flooding, kept water too warm for coldwater species like trout, degraded water quality, attracted invasive plants and nuisance species and was dangerous for swimmers and kayakers.

So in 2011, this 9-foot high, 109-foot long concrete dam became the fourth dam to be removed on the Musky, with several more proposed projects on the way.

The public process of dam removals isn’t simple – research, assessments, engineering and public meetings – but the return is worth it.

“Dam removals bring change and sometimes people need time to get used to the changes,” said Beth Styler Barry, executive director of the Musconetcong Watershed Association. “But in the end, people will be happy with the results. It will be different, but beautiful.”

Text from the Musconetcong Watershed Association.