Today is a great day to be a migratory fish on the Musky! I am excited to share that American Shad were found in the Musconetcong River where the Hughesville Dam was removed, about 5 miles upstream of the Delaware River. On Wednesday June 7th, the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reported that small schools of shad were found. American Shad are one of several migratory fish species that migrate from the Atlantic Ocean through the Delaware River into smaller rivers and tributaries, like the Musconetcong. For more than 100 years, migratory fish have been cut off from their habitats in the Musconetcong due to several now disused dams.
As you know, MWA has some history removing dams along the Musconetcong River. The Riegelsville and Finesville Dam removals paved the way to restoring the lower section of the River. Then, in 2012, MWA received a letter from the landowner of the Hughesville Dam site, International Process Plants, that they were interested in removing obsolete dams on their property. This began a removal process that took approximately four years to complete. After the Hughesville Dam was removed, five miles of migratory fish passage was restored.
This news of American Shad being documented. The return of migratory fish is an impressive indicator of this project’s success, and comes to us approximately one year after MWA began dredging at the former Hughesville Dam site.
MWA is still working to restore the site of the Hughesville Dam removal. In November of 2016, we began planting a riparian buffer that we are continuously monitoring and adding plants. This will help to stabilize the banks of the river, protect habitat, and decrease rising water temperatures.
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife also reported that the shad were found “several hundred yards downstream of the Warren Glen Dam.” The Warren Glen Dam is the largest dam on our river, and it is the next dam to remove, with the help of owner, NJDEP, and many other partners.
We would like to thank NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and all partners* who made our past dam removals possible. We are hoping collaborative efforts will ensure the Warren Glen Dam is removed and further increase habitat for migratory fish. Hurrah to the Shad!