Finesville Dam Removal


the forty three mile long Musconetcong, or Muskie, winds its way through the northwest New Jersey village of Finesville providing a high quality coldwater home
to fish migrating through and a good spot to drop fishing line or kayak into the water. It took the right combination of planning, skills, funds, and people to return it to its natural state. Just over a year and a half ago nine
foot high 109 foot long concrete dam stood here – part of a series of dams that continuously
harnessed the muskie at the spot for more than two fifty years. Most of these dams in this part of a state are obsolete they have not been maintained or not at
the current standards The dam played a valuable part in the history Finesville for hundreds of years but it hasn’t been used in forty or fifty years. So uh… it’s not really uh… any yet
economic benefit to the town and hasn’t been for a long time. Was actually some safety issues to
unfortunate has been a coupla drownings here. It’s a dangerous situation removing the ban can certainly make this a safer place. I’ll just be a
very happy camper when this is out. The actual dam removal I think we figured it at total about
three days. It’s going well and uh… I think this will be another successful
project. Once the dam is removed we’ll go in and it’ll be about a week’s worth of work doing stream restoration moving around
larger stones to create that riffle, pool, and run system. Dam removals are I think the most rewarding
restoration project to work on and the reason why is because you get the biggest bang for your buck. You really are restoring national processes
to the river. People need to understand why people want to do dam removals and why it’s
good for the river and why the changes is that a dam removal will bring start from the bottom of the
river literally By improving habitat for aquatic
insects will improve it then uh… food
source for fish, frogs, turtles and then the tings that feed on those so we’ll improve habitat for things like herron, eagle, egret. Restoring the uh… ecological
integrity will help recreational fishing you know uh… Warren County uh…
recreational fishing as a multi-million dollar business brings a lot of
fishermen in money to the local economy. People who
can kayak down this stream don’t have to pick up their kayak or
canoe go around the damn now they can continue to kayak. Area residents raised
concerns during the planning process. As a homeowner a few hundred yards behind the dam, close to the Delaware, there is a flooding issue. The banking on the water from the dam
caused us severe damage last year. During Irene the water you know came down with came
right in front of our house and people evacuated. And right after it was taken out we had heavy rain again and no water came down the street so we we knew
that it was gonna help with the flooding. There was some concern expressed about uh… dam removal’s effect on local
shallow groundwater wells and uh… we did some research and uh… that
research revealed that in over twenty projects in New Jersey and two hundred dam removal projects
in Pennsylvania there was only one documented incident where uh… shallow groundwater well was
affected. And we were concerned when they took it out that we wouldn’t
hear it. You know, our bedroom at night me
open the windows near the falls and can you get used to that after thirteen
years of being here and we’re concerned you wouldn’t be able
to hear that whatever they did you can still hear the water flowing and
it sounds nice. The process is a lengthy one and
thorough one but it’s a good one that we uh… you know makes us think about every
individual step, every individual natural resource concern from sediment to water quality, surface water,
groundwater, wildlife, plants, air quality, uh… natural and historic resources. The reason for the archaeological monitoring at the Finesville dam project project is to document any exposed timbers for
the previous uh… dams that were in place, the earliest of which is an 1807 dam are that we
just found the the remains of. The overall cost of projects like dam
removal tend be very expensive. The good news is that once it’s done
once it’s completed if it’s done well, it’s a walk away project. You walk away you don’t have to invest
any more money in it. We removed 2 dams in the town of Hackettstown, about 3 or 4 years ago. 2 dams down by the Delaware. The next 2 dams upstream are owned by an old paper mill who wants to remove them. I love it, I think it looks great. My kids, you know, on a nice day they are in there constantly – with adult supervision – but they’re always in the river and I
love it.

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