Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

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Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby NJAngler on June 2nd, 2016, 7:27 am

Apparently Knowlton township is against it citing primarily reasons such as emergency water source for fire dept and fishing.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/314022057/Kn ... resolution

Its a sediment filled and weed infested spot where fishing is difficult at best. Most of the anglers using the area are bucket guys trying to get carp and catfish. I see no real benefits to keeping it. Like most older dams, it has become obsolete. The fish populations are already pretty good in the river - smallies especially - and their numbers would only get better with the removal. Not to mention cooler water for better trout holding capacity further into the season.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 2nd, 2016, 9:17 am

I'm on that task force to remove this dam and the one further upstream owned by the town of Blairstown. Knowlton doesn't "get it", they don't own the dam and in the end have absolutely zero say in whether it is removed or not. We are not using any taxpayer funds to date, only private funds. The tiny amount of hydro power (approx. $30,000/year in a good flow year) will be far more than offset by the building of solar panels on the roofs to be constructed over the Pequest Trout Hatchery raceways which is only a few miles away. I've seen foolish comments about the hydro out producing solar "because the sun doesn't shine at night", but this dam has requirements for flow which means they were not able to produce hydro power much at all during the day or night.

Right now, American shad stack up against this dam each spring in hopes of running up to spawn. Soon they will be able to....
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Skink on June 2nd, 2016, 9:50 am

Solitude dam was similar, but the town owned the dam. In the end the town chose to go with repair than breech. They are still paying off those loans. The lake behind the damn dam has an average depth of two feet (forget where I heard this, I think it was from Agust). Foolish decision on the town's part, they could have had a trout stream with park-like setting and more than one group participating on clean up days.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Dave B. on June 3rd, 2016, 1:18 am

Both of the aforementioned dams have long been pet peeves of mine. Columbia due to the fish passage blockage which includes walleye, stripers and trout in addition to the shad, and Paulina for the thermal pollution it causes for several miles downstream, ruining what could otherwise be fairly reasonable holdover waters for the most part.

I'm very glad Columbia will be coming down, albeit not for some time yet, and hopefully Blairstown Twp. will be successful in their efforts to remove Paulina. Now if we could just get something done about 'green pond', AKA Paulinskill Lk.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 3rd, 2016, 9:26 am

Dave B. wrote:Both of the aforementioned dams have long been pet peeves of mine. Columbia due to the fish passage blockage which includes walleye, stripers and trout in addition to the shad, and Paulina for the thermal pollution it causes for several miles downstream, ruining what could otherwise be fairly reasonable holdover waters for the most part.

I'm very glad Columbia will be coming down, albeit not for some time yet, and hopefully Blairstown Twp. will be successful in their efforts to remove Paulina. Now if we could just get something done about 'green pond', AKA Paulinskill Lk.


Dave - I wrote the original NFWF grant to remove the Paulina Dam in Blairstown with my associate at American Rivers and with help from NJ DEP. While we didn't get that funding since all Sandy funds in NJ went to the coast instead of inland which is where that particular pot of funding came from, the Blairstown town council remains committed to full removal and many of the same folks are writing new grants along with new funding from DEP using mitigation funds to remove that. Columbia dam is coming down and likely first. Dr. Barbara Brummer is a very focused individual, and she is moving this project at a pace I can only envy. But when you can pick up a phone, make one call, secure $1 million with a pledge for more from a wealthy donor, then things get done much more quickly than via writing grants for that same amount.

My prediction is 3-4 degree lower summer temps below Paulina dam once it is gone and the first river in NJ to see spawning American shad other than the Delaware River in over 200 years.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby MR.MCR on June 3rd, 2016, 6:30 pm

Its nice to see Tim and Brian working together on projects again......
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 4th, 2016, 6:45 pm

MR.MCR wrote:Its nice to see Tim and Brian working together on projects again......


:?: :?:
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby The Royal Coachman on June 5th, 2016, 6:38 am

A few years ago I did some research at the library about the Shad run in the Delaware. I was specifically interested to find any references of Shad running up any New Jersey tributary. The Paulins Kill was the only trib that I could find with a Shad run. They still run up to the Columbia Damn so there is no reason to think that run wouldn't be reestablished once the dams come down.

As for the resolution. I wonder if they realize the damn is privately owned? It's really none of their business what the owner decides to do with the damn as long as it's allowed under the law.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 5th, 2016, 6:26 pm

The Royal Coachman wrote:A few years ago I did some research at the library about the Shad run in the Delaware. I was specifically interested to find any references of Shad running up any New Jersey tributary. The Paulins Kill was the only trib that I could find with a Shad run. They still run up to the Columbia Damn so there is no reason to think that run wouldn't be reestablished once the dams come down.

As for the resolution. I wonder if they realize the damn is privately owned? It's really none of their business what the owner decides to do with the damn as long as it's allowed under the law.


The P-Kill has the right depth and relatively slow speed in many of its pools for successful American shad spawning. As for "privately owned", it is actually publically owned in that it is owned by the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife. But your point is a good one - it is not owned by the town who oppose the removal and as such, they will have no more say than anyone else.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby NJAngler on June 7th, 2016, 9:28 pm

Some nice LM bass in Paulinskill Lake. Not a high density but the ones I've gotten are fat and healthy. Its a soft bottomed, turbid, weedy lake with a ton of carp roiling around making a mess of things. Basically the base of the dam is the upper limit of smallmouths.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Dave B. on June 7th, 2016, 11:10 pm

I'd speculate the real reason behind the Knowlton pols objection to the loss of the dam is far more financially driven than any other reason. Unfortunately I know more about certain members of the town council, zoning board, etc. than I really care to. If enough of the newer residents pulled their collective heads from their backsides and re-elected Frank Van Horn as mayor I'm certain a good deal of this nonsense would cease. Unfortunately folks like Rene Mathez have been able to sway the opinions of many of the 'sheeple' in town.

As for the 2 dams Columbia is almost certain to come down likely a couple of years before Paulina but I do know the Blairstown council and most of the residents are fully committed to the removal of Paulina and for that I applaud them heartily as well as all who share in working towards that goal with them!
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 8th, 2016, 9:49 am

Dave B. wrote: As for the 2 dams Columbia is almost certain to come down likely a couple of years before Paulina but I do know the Blairstown council and most of the residents are fully committed to the removal of Paulina and for that I applaud them heartily as well as all who share in working towards that goal with them!


That wasn't always the case with Blairstown, but we got some of the members of their town council to tour the Musky dam removal sites and we shared with them the good, the bad and the ugly of dam removal. They were shocked we were so open and honest with them, especially about the short term negatives. One council member assumed I was a raging liberal because I was "an environmentalist" (in her mind). I explained that I am actually a conservationist and not an "environmentalist" and explained the difference to her. She then went on to explain she is Jewish and was "raised as a liberal and then went to an ultra liberal college where she was radicalized". Her words. She later realized that all her liberal beliefs were not the right way to go in life, again, her words. So here was this newly found conservative assuming I was liberal which I found very fascinating. Long story short, she became one of the converts that day and now fully supports removal of their dam. Most of the council members that were on the fence were just there because they feared negative reactions by some in town.

But the economics of having to rehabilitate that dam every few decades while it pollutes the river thermally, exacerbates flooding because the floodplain above the dam is under water with the dam intact, and wanting to increase eco tourism by people interacting with the river all won out in the end. Now we just need a good grant to come through to help push this removal over the top.
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Re: Columbia Lake dam removal opposition..

Postby Dave B. on June 9th, 2016, 12:35 pm

I recall the initial opposition from the Blairstown council. I believe the first stage of the turn-around was the visit they had from Beth of the MWA which then led to the council members joining you all on the former site tour you mentioned, which combined with your frank and open approach to sharing information regarding all aspects of such undertakings made all the difference.

That's a great story regarding the female council member. Heheh, there's are huge differences between conservationist and environmentalist, not the least of which is the term 'mental' contained within the latter word, very telling IMHO. ;) It's a shame the vast majority of people have no clue there is such a tremendous difference between the 2 sets of beliefs.
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