Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership receives Coastal America Award   Leave a comment

The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership announced today that the group has received the Coastal America Award for work performed in dam removal and riverbank restoration.   This is the one of the highest level awards given by the President of the United States to partnerships for environmental efforts. It recognizes outstanding collaborative work that includes governmental agencies and non-profit organizations to leverage and combine resources in restoration, preservation, protection and education projects of national significance.

A ceremony recognizing the success of the partnership and receipt of the award will be conducted at 1:00 P.M. on Friday, September 13 at the Pohatcong Township ball field, 11 Musconetcong River Road, Finesville, NJ.  Congressmen Leonard Lance and Scott Garrett are expected to attend to be acknowledged for the work they have done on behalf of the Federally designated Wild and Scenic Musconetcong River.

The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership is a multi disciplinary team of agencies, organizations and individuals working to improve and restore the Musconetcong River.  The Partnership includes the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), American Rivers (AR), the Musconetcong Watershed Association, North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development (RCD), New Jersey Trout Unlimited (TU), the NJDEP-Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW), National Park Service (NPS), private landowners and others.

While the health of the river is generally good, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection has identified thermal pollution and nutrient enrichment as serious water quality problems for certain areas of the main stem of the Musconetcong River.  In some areas, riverbanks are severely eroded.  In some cases land use activities have eliminated native trees and allowed invasive non-native vegetation to become established.  These factors stress the ability of critical natural ecosystems to function properly.

The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership has examined many restoration alternatives available to improve the health of the river.  Most common efforts focus on stream bank stabilization, enhancing riparian buf

NJ Award Ceremony

fers by adding trees and natural grasses, enabling fish passage, the removal of dams and other man-made structures, adding meanders, and stocking the river with fish or other living organisms. 

The Musconetcong River watershed, a drainage area of 157.6 square miles, includes portions of Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties, and all or part of 25 municipalities.  The “Musky”, as it is often referred to, runs 42 miles from Lake Hopatcong to the Delaware River, and its watershed consists primarily of forest (49.5%), urban land (19.5%), and cropland (17.8%).  Ground water is the primary source of drinking water here. In the limestone valleys of the Musconetcong Watershed there is a constant mix of surface water and ground water. Protecting the water quality in the river will protect the drinking water for watershed residents.

The partnership hopes to preserve and protect the Musconetcong River and its watershed for present residents and future generations, restoring the natural river flow, native vegetation and high quality fish and wildlife habitat in the area.  In addition to being one of the most scenic river valleys in New Jersey and the surrounding region, the Musconetcong valley is a high-quality setting for a wide variety of recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, camping, nature study and other outdoor activities.

Partner List and Contact Information

Natural Resources Conservation Service – Natural Resources Conservation Service – technical assistance and financial assistance on riparian buffer restoration Contact: Maria Collazo and Gail Bartok,

 US Fish and Wildlife Service – technical assistance and financial assistance from the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program Contact: Eric Schrading

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration – technical and possible financial assistance through the American Rivers-NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program. Contact: Bethany Bearmore

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration – technical and possible financial assistance. Contact: Carl Alderson

American Rivers – technical, outreach, and regulatory assistance. Contact: Laura Craig

North Jersey RC&D Council – technical assistance and possible financial assistance on riparian buffer restoration. Contact: Christine Hall

Musconetcong Watershed Association –local landowner outreach, education, technical assistance. Contacts: Beth Styler Barry,  Bill Leavens,

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife – technical assistance on local fisheries issues.   Contact: Pat Hamilton

Trout Unlimited – in-kind volunteer assistance from membership and possible limited financial assistance from local TU funds. Contact: Brian Cowden,

National Park Service  Contact: Paul Kenney

Invitation list:

Partners as listed above

Mayor Pohatcong

Mayor Holland Township

Environmental Commission members, Pohatcong and Holland Twps

Freeholders, Warren County

Freeholders, Hunterdon County

NJ Leg. District 23 Legislators, Doherty, DiMaio, Petersen           

James Grodin

NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin

NJDEP Larry Ragonese, Press Attache

NJDEP John Trontis, Assistant Director, State Parks

NJDEP Green Acres Land Acquisition Fawn Z. McGee, Chief

Tim Dunne

Michael Catania

Russ Furnari (CWRP Chair)

Dodge Richrd Simon

Dodge Margaret Waldock

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