Musconetcong River Habitat Connectivity Feasibility Study

Published July 16, 2019


APPROPRIATION / PHASE: General Investigations / Reconnaissance

AUTHORITY: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Resolution dated 20 July 2005 (Del. River and Tribs)

DESCRIPTION: The study will evaluate the removal of the Warren Glen Dam for aquatic ecosystem restoration purposes along the Musconetcong River in Warren County, NJ. The Musconetcong River is a 45.7-mile-long tributary of the Delaware River in northwestern New Jersey in the United States. The Warren Glen structure is located approximately 5.5 miles upstream of the confluence between the Musconetcong River and the Delaware River, and stands more than 35-feet high. It is the furthest downstream dam on the Musconetcong and is the first impediment to migratory fish. The Warren Glen dam is one of two remaining impediments to a natural, free flowing condition along the first 13.4 miles of the Musconetcong River. The second dam, Bloomsbury Dam, is located approximately 2.3 miles upstream of the Warren Glen Dam and is currently under design for removal by USACE in Fall 2019. The Musconetcong River drains the rural northwestern part of New Jersey and includes 158 square miles of drainage area. Over 24 miles of the Musconetcong River are designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, which preserves select rivers with scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other important values in their free-flowing natural condition. The river is designated by the NJDEP as a Category One water, defined as waters protected from measurable changes in water quality due to their exceptional ecological, recreational, water supply or fisheries resources.

PROJECT BENEFITS  Removal of the dam and restoring the river’s free flowing condition will reconnect access for migratory fish including shad, herring, alewife, striped bass, and American eel, and improved habitat for trout, bass and other local fish populations and aquatic organisms. The Musconetcong River sustains naturally breeding populations of Eastern brook trout, the region’s only native trout. The removal of Warren Glen would provide significant habitat improvements for this native species. Restoration efforts have the potential to increase connectivity, improve geomorphic conditions, enhance the hydrologic character and integrate with other regional restoration plans leading to high priority, sustainable ecosystem outputs.

PROJECT GOALS: The principal goal is to remove an obsolete dam that impedes free passage of aquatic organisms; obstructs the movement of sediment, nutrients, and woody debris; and changes natural conditions of a riverine habitat to that of a lake. The 15- acre impoundment creates a 0.75 mile long gap in the cold water stream habitat of the river. The quantity of sediment impounded behind the dam may exceed 300,000 cubic yards. Dam removal will restore freeflowing natural geomorphic conditions within the project area allowing for more natural stream morphology to occur such as sediment transport.

NON-FEDERAL SPONSOR:   New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection

DATE OF PROJECT AGREEMENT: April 2020 (scheduled)