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    Restoration question to Rusty

    Hey Rusty.

    First I want to applaud you, and TU, and the TU chapter that's spearheading the Musky restoration.

    As our inside TU/restoration guy, do you hear anything about any other major restoration efforts for any other watershed in the metro area? Ex. The Ramapo, Raritan, Wawayanda, Walkill, etc.. or any area? Sterling/Harriman (which we know is being looked into)

    Some streams are obvious and already have news about them but is there anything interesting planned that we might see in the near future. Something as extensive as the work on the Musky?

    Also in your opinion to what extent have you improved the Musky? Will the restoration ever be called completed, or will it and future projects stretch far into the future?

    I hope I worded my question/s correctly

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    I would like to add the Whippany. When can speedwell dam and pocahontas dam come down. There is a cold water spring that feeds in to speedwell lake.


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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    No trout stream/river is getting the attention yet of the Musky, but there are many other significant initiatives underway throughout NJ. A year after Hurricane Irene, the Borough of Oakland approached me for some help and I've been working with them and our East Jersey chapter on a 2 1/2 mile channel restoration project still in the works. For the record, I don't work for a chapter or our state council, I am on our Eastern Conservation staff and my job title is Musconetcong Home Rivers Initiative Coordinator.

    In my 6 years here on staff, I have helped in some way with a variety of specific channel restorations and one dam removal outside of the Musky watershed. These have been on West Brook, NBR, SBR, Capoolong Creek, Pequest, Cresskill Brook, and Paulins Kill and a few more coming including Sparta Glen Brook in Sparta (native brookies) and Mason's Run (southern most brook trout stream in NJ) with our FSB/North Jersey chapter. I help where I can to jump start a fledgling industry, river restoration.

    The William Penn Foundation has brought into play a tremendous amount of new funding for non-profits like TU and many others to the 4 state Delaware River Basin for protection and restoration. That effort which is brand new will eventually lead to a lot more great restoration projects throughout trout country in NY, PA and NJ as well as warmwater rivers and streams further to our south and down into the Delaware Bay Estuaries. Here in NJ, those new efforts include the upper and lower Musky (giving us even more partners and more funding), the upper Paulins Kill, and the Lopatcong Creek right now. Also, I have been approached to help spearhead efforts to remove a significant dam on one of the NJ tribs that flow into the big D, but I will talk more about that at a later date when more is made public. Outside of the Musky watershed, I have to be very targeted in my work as my funding is almost entirely just to work in the one watershed.

    I have a fellow staffer, Tracy Brown, that is working in the Catskills on upper D tribs as well, although her work is not singularly focused in one watershed like mine is. As for how long I will continue my work, that is up to me and my ability to remain funded for same. I must raise 100% of my salary, overhead and project costs each year. We used to consider our home rivers initiatives to be 3-5 year projects and that has morphed into 5-7 or even 7-10 or more if we have the work and funding and staff. At some point, I'll burn out and likely either open my own business or join teams with a river restoration firm and do that for a living. But you never know what life has in store. As for the effectiveness of my work, I'll leave that for others to determine. Some of the work TU does alone and other work we do with a variety of partners. Having great partners really makes a big difference as part of our goal is to help them build internal capacity to take on these dam removal, river channel and bank restoration, protection, and riparian buffer plantings on their own and for decades to come. I can tell you that anytime we (TU and/or partners) removes a dam or restores a degraded river channel, the biological uplift is highly noticeable (and we track it via sampling) and the fishing greatly improves. I focus through the lens of our native brook trout, but all trout get a lift when we restore our streams. Hope I answered most of your questions.

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    FYI (boldface added by me):
    Flood Control Commission Meeting - February 10 | The Oakland Journal
    Flood Control Commission Meeting - February 10

    The Oakland Flood Control Commission will hold a public meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the main room of the Senior Center on Lawlor Drive, behind the First Aid Squad Building on Route 202 in Oakland. Interested residents will be offered information on the new flood insurance rates (who will be effected, when it will start and how it works); the borough’s participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) program (what it is and why it is important to every resident carrying flood insurance); future mitigation efforts (including elevating structures); and the Trout Unlimited project and its benefits. Following this program, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions relating to these topics. This session will be followed by the regular monthly meeting of the Oakland Flood Control Commission, which also is open to the public.
    Is something going on behind the scenes?
    When I read "Riffles", I don't see any reference to a "project".
    When I watch televised council meetings, I don't hear anything about funding.

    Edit:
    The flood commission minutes for November, refer to an inspection and some engineering, but aren't very revealing.
    The Oakland website hasn't updated since then.


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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    For Whippany R questions the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee is probably the best source of info. They are a quasi-governmental org with representatives from all the municipalities in the watershed. They meet the first Wednesday of the month at the county library. Most of their work is in getting TMDLs for pollutants down (which they done well at), monitoring the condition of the Whippany, riparian planting and maintenance (by Burnham Park Pond, Speedwell Lake, Parsippany garage, and the county buildings on Hanover Ave), and worrying about storm water management (which is a big deal for more urban watersheds)- the dull work that needs to be done. Riparian planting is fine, but it must be maintained most places. Also, projects are often well away from the river since what happens over the entire watershed is important. Not much instream work, their focus is more on storm water management as the root cause of problems. They are big in disconnecting watersheds, but in their case they mean disconnecting storm drains from directly flowing in the river by better retention ponds, rain gardens, and rain barrels that let more rainfall soak into the ground. Hacklebarney TU used to do macroinvertebrate sampling of the Whippany in Lewis Morris Park and behind Acorn Hall. The upper section always rated as excellent, but the lower section went from poor to good. I've had good smallie fishing in the high gradient section of the Whippany below Morristown.

    Wild rainbows and browns are moderately common down to Washington Valley Rd (the Whippany is listed as TP water down to Whitehead Rd). The brookie situation is hard to gauge. Only one trib in the watershed (Gillespie Hill Bk) is listed as brook trout water, but it hasn't been sampled in decades and I could never catch one in the lower section of the brook. However, a very rare small wild looking brookie is taken from the Whippany so wild brookies may be just hanging on. The sedimentation hasn't helped the wild trout pops IMHO, and the replacement of native shrubs eaten by the deer by multiflora rose has made the river less fisherman friendly. Don't wear good waders when exploring the Whippany.

    The lakes are an issue. The historical people protect them and the conservative side likes them because they have always been there and they look nice to many people (more Speedwell than Pocohontas). The Speedwell Dam shows up on a lot of calendar shots. On the other side, without the lakes there can be more park land. Both are very shallow, but money for dredging is not forthcoming because the sediment load is so high they will fill up in a short time. The park lands upstream don't reduce the sediment load because the deer damage to the forest is so great and it has been going on so long loss of native plant seed/root stocks and soil degradation are long term issues. One thing I learned here was the reforestation is a good thing, but we still don't know how long it takes for soil damage to be mitigated once the land goes back to being wild and erosion and runoff issues remain long after the land goes back to woods. Anti-deer hunters didn't help on that score.

    Bottom line is that I don't see the dams being removed soon. The dams have friends, and most people don't care about the environmental health of the more urban NJ streams, although the WRWAC is trying to change that.


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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    FYI (boldface added by me):
    Flood Control Commission Meeting - February 10 | The Oakland Journal


    Is something going on behind the scenes?
    When I read "Riffles", I don't see any reference to a "project".
    When I watch televised council meetings, I don't hear anything about funding.

    Edit:
    The flood commission minutes for November, refer to an inspection and some engineering, but aren't very revealing.
    The Oakland website hasn't updated since then.
    Pete, I honestly don't know how the town is going about this, but they have set aside funds and have hired a grant writer to help increase those funds. Nobody has yet been hired to perform any project as it remains in the funding stage right now. But it sounds like they are continuing to move forward. They are also accessing Blue Acres funds to remove a bunch of homes in the floodplain which is awesome to see. By that ballpark above the rt. 287 bridge on river right looking downstream and across the that badly failed bank the town restored recently. Any project would begin at Glen Gray Road and run downstream to the RR crossing above where the Army Corps did their flood mitigation project and where they dredge that section periodically.

    I'm bringing in the Division's Threatened and Non-game team to look at any potential freshwater mussel issues on the upstream reach near Glen Gray Rd. this summer to know we are not disturbing any state-threatened mussels in that reach ahead of any potential project. Lamp mussels are the main concern in that reach.

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    I failed to mention the tremendous effort to remove the dams on the mainstem of the Raritan River. While that section is trout stocked and not wild trout water, dam removals will greatly impact striped bass, river herring, American shad and eels to name a few.

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Spinner View Post
    I failed to mention the tremendous effort to remove the dams on the mainstem of the Raritan River. While that section is trout stocked and not wild trout water, dam removals will greatly impact striped bass, river herring, American shad and eels to name a few.
    I live on the mainstem, hopefully the dam removal project will pave the way for a sea run brown program on the Raritan. They need to take one more dam out . The Headgates dam in Duke Island park. Rusty do you know if there is any plans in the works to remove it?

    "Hatchery fish have the same colors, but they always seem muted like bad reproductions of great art." Bill Barich

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK View Post
    For Whippany R questions the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee is probably the best source of info. They are a quasi-governmental org with representatives from all the municipalities in the watershed. They meet the first Wednesday of the month at the county library. Most of their work is in getting TMDLs for pollutants down (which they done well at), monitoring the condition of the Whippany, riparian planting and maintenance (by Burnham Park Pond, Speedwell Lake, Parsippany garage, and the county buildings on Hanover Ave), and worrying about storm water management (which is a big deal for more urban watersheds)- the dull work that needs to be done. Riparian planting is fine, but it must be maintained most places. Also, projects are often well away from the river since what happens over the entire watershed is important. Not much instream work, their focus is more on storm water management as the root cause of problems. They are big in disconnecting watersheds, but in their case they mean disconnecting storm drains from directly flowing in the river by better retention ponds, rain gardens, and rain barrels that let more rainfall soak into the ground. Hacklebarney TU used to do macroinvertebrate sampling of the Whippany in Lewis Morris Park and behind Acorn Hall. The upper section always rated as excellent, but the lower section went from poor to good. I've had good smallie fishing in the high gradient section of the Whippany below Morristown.

    Wild rainbows and browns are moderately common down to Washington Valley Rd (the Whippany is listed as TP water down to Whitehead Rd). The brookie situation is hard to gauge. Only one trib in the watershed (Gillespie Hill Bk) is listed as brook trout water, but it hasn't been sampled in decades and I could never catch one in the lower section of the brook. However, a very rare small wild looking brookie is taken from the Whippany so wild brookies may be just hanging on. The sedimentation hasn't helped the wild trout pops IMHO, and the replacement of native shrubs eaten by the deer by multiflora rose has made the river less fisherman friendly. Don't wear good waders when exploring the Whippany.

    The lakes are an issue. The historical people protect them and the conservative side likes them because they have always been there and they look nice to many people (more Speedwell than Pocohontas). The Speedwell Dam shows up on a lot of calendar shots. On the other side, without the lakes there can be more park land. Both are very shallow, but money for dredging is not forthcoming because the sediment load is so high they will fill up in a short time. The park lands upstream don't reduce the sediment load because the deer damage to the forest is so great and it has been going on so long loss of native plant seed/root stocks and soil degradation are long term issues. One thing I learned here was the reforestation is a good thing, but we still don't know how long it takes for soil damage to be mitigated once the land goes back to being wild and erosion and runoff issues remain long after the land goes back to woods. Anti-deer hunters didn't help on that score.

    Bottom line is that I don't see the dams being removed soon. The dams have friends, and most people don't care about the environmental health of the more urban NJ streams, although the WRWAC is trying to change that.
    Jeff,

    I am huge fan of the Whippany. I caught the below 3 fish in the whippany on the same day last spring from the same hole in Lewis Morris. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	10214Click image for larger version. 

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    I have only ever caught stocked brookies in there, never a wild one. The browns are common the rainbows can be common upstream but never too much size. I don't know where Gillespie Hill Bk is. It is not named on google maps. I have never caught fish past whitehead road. I been all though that section and never seen a fish. I have also fished behind freulinghuen arboritum and only caught chubs and sunnies. It always looked like great small mouth water to me but I never found them there. Good to know somebody has because I will be back. The deer, carp and dams really cause the most problems. The run off is bad too but I think that could be fixable. I also fished the north branch of the whippany to no avail. It runs colder than the main branch in the summer but I have never found trout there.


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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by tomfly View Post
    I live on the mainstem, hopefully the dam removal project will pave the way for a sea run brown program on the Raritan. They need to take one more dam out . The Headgates dam in Duke Island park. Rusty do you know if there is any plans in the works to remove it?
    Yes, I believe they got the go-ahead last fall if memory serves, but I don't know a time frame for removal.

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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Gillepsie Hill Bk is the one that comes into the Whippany just upstream of Washington Valley Rd. At one time Watnong Bk had wild browns not too far from the Butterworth Sewage Treatment plant. Haven't been there in more than a decade. Probably Dismal Bk is the best bow trib now.

    I have caught browns in the section above Washington Valley Rd, but it is a funny sandy bottom and you have to hit the hot spots and move on. At one time there were lots of little wild bows by Washington Valley, but they are scarcer today.

    The big pollutants for the Whippany are fecal coliform bacteria, phosphorus, and sediment. 2/3 of the fecal coliform bacteria is point source pollution from sewer plants. Morris Co sewer plants do a good job and that has improved the river, but you can't make the wastes of 400,000 people entirely go away. This will be an issue in the lower river for a long time. The remainder is distributed source that is hard to eliminate. Goose crap is a problem here, but geese control is a contentious issue. Phosphorus is lawn fertilizer runoff with a touch of dishwater detergent (dishwasher detergent got a pass on phosphorus when it was removed from laundry detergent). As long as people want a perfect lawn and fertilize up to 5 times a year this will be a problem. Need a statewide ban in NJ to address. Some towns have banned phosphorus, but in NJ the next town is never far away and local bans don't work. Erosion is always huge in urban and suburban areas - which most of the Whippany watershed is. The forested headwaters should lessen erosion, but deer damage and 200 years of soil abuse take their toll.


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    Re: Restoration question to Rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK View Post

    I have caught browns(...)

    The big pollutants for the Whippany are fecal coliform(. ..)
    Ah yes, a great spot for browns on the surface.


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