Dam Removals: Finesville
The Finesville Dam, which spanned the Musconetcong River from Pohatcong Township, Warren County to Holland Township, Hunterdon County was removed in November 2011. This dam was the lowest blockage on the river (after the Riegelsville Dam) and removal now provides access to 2.4 miles of historic river herring spawning and nursery habitat. The dam removal included excavation, removal of debris, and 450 linear feet of stabilization of the upstream channel.
The removal took place over the course of a week beginning on November 10, 2011, but the process leading up to the removal took 4 years and included a Feasibility Study, Environmental Assessment, public meetings and a special agreement with the NJ State Historic Preservation office. Like the Riegelsville removal which took place over the summer of 2011, an archaeologist was onsite during the removal process to document any findings of historical significance.
The Finesville Dam was a 9-foot high, 109-foot long concrete dam built in 1952. The earliest Finesville Dam was originally built around 1751 to power an iron forge; later dams were rebuilt several times on the same site.
Like other dams removed by the MWA and partners, this removal was initiated by the property owner. All of the dams on the Musconetcong River are obsolete, none of them produce power and none of them were ever designed to attenuate floodwaters. They are a liability for those who own them. When a dam owner decides to pursue removal, there is financial assistance available from many organizations working to restore our nation's rivers.
MWA and funders, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), US Fish & Wildlife (USF&W), American Rivers, National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Watershed Institute and Conservation Resources Inc. worked over four years with local residents and stakeholders from both Holland and Pohatcong Townships.
The Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership (MRRP) received the national 2012 Coastal America Partnership Award for the Finesville Dam Removal project!
The Musconetcong Watershed Association is a member of the MRRP. The Coastal America Partnership Award is the highest level award for environmental partnership efforts. This award from the office of the President of the United States recognizes outstanding collaborative, multi-agency and multi-stakeholder efforts that leverage and combine resources to accomplish coastal restoration, preservation, protection and education projects of national significance. Only a handful of awardees are named each year.