Press Release
New Jersey River Partnership Receives Obama’s Prestigious Environmental Award

September 13, 2013

Contacts:
Beth Styler Barry, beth@musconetcong.org, 908-537-7060
Eric Schrading, eric_schrading@fws.gov, 609-383-3938 x46

Government officials and environmental advocates celebrated the ongoing restoration of the Musconetcong River in Finesville today, with the presentation of a national Coastal America Partnership Award to the partnership that has restored 3.4 miles connecting the Musconetcong to the Delaware River.
 
“The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership is a shining example of the public and private collaboration encouraged by the President to improve the health of our waters, which are not only critical habitat for fish and wildlife, but also support jobs, contribute to the economy, and are essential to public health,” said Deputy Regional Director Deb Rocque for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region.
 
The Coastal America Partnership Award recognizes outstanding collaborative, multi-agency and multi-stakeholder efforts that leverage and combine resources to accomplish coastal restoration, preservation, protection and education projects.
 
In 2011, the Musconetcong River Restoration 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.
 
These efforts support the overall health of the Musconetcong River, sections of which have been federally designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System. The river is also the largest tributary to the Delaware River, the longest undammed river in the eastern U.S.
 
The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership is a multi-disciplinary team of agencies, organizations and individuals working to improve and restore the Musconetcong River. In addition to private landowners and others, the partnership includes: American Rivers, Musconetcong Watershed Association, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, NJDEP-Division of Fish & Wildlife, National Park Service, New Jersey Trout Unlimited, North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
Partners have provided assistance from project design and restoration to funding, outreach and grant application. The partnership is pursuing additional dam removals along the Musky.
 
Other restoration efforts include stabilizing stream banks, adding trees and natural grasses to improve buffers along the river, returning meanders to the river’s course and stocking the river with fish or other organisms.
 
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.


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