TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

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Rusty Spinner
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TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:48 am

My firm was hired after a Request For Proposal from Trout Unlimited for a 1.5 mile reach of Lopatcong Creek, NJ's best limestone spring creek located in Warren county and flowing into the Delaware River. We did the survey this week and had planned on 3 days, but yesterday's rains forced us to work nearly from dark to dark on Tuesday and Wednesday to complete it before the creek got blown out. This is a public section, three sections actually, that is degraded from a combination of factors including the Morris Canal, farming too closely to the river and cutting down all vegetation along the river to do so, obsolete stormwater systems, and invasive plant species all leading to the current degradation we see here in these photos. TU has an aggressive timeline and plans to complete this work before closures for wild trout spawning (Sept. 15 - March 15). And we can meet that timeline and still complete our work in MT, NJ, CT, NM, and VA among other states we are currently working in.
Lopat - Canal section upper.jpg
Lopat - Canal section upper.jpg (167.94 KiB) Viewed 2786 times
Lopat - Canal section eroded bank height.jpg
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Lopat - Stryker section farm.jpg
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Lopat - Stryker section farm field eroding into creek.jpg
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Lopat - Stryker section channel unravelling.jpg
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Lopat - Lock St section top.jpg
Lopat - Lock St section top.jpg (165.7 KiB) Viewed 2786 times

This wild brown was flopping around on bottom and we pulled it out to find talon marks in its side from an osprey or eagle. It was about dead as you can see, but still fighting for its life.
Dying brown trout w_osprey talon wounds.jpg
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Lopat - Lock St survey gear by bath house.jpg
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Lopat - Lock St scalloped bank.jpg
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Lopat - Lock St section lower banks.jpg
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Lopat mallards in flight.jpg
Lopat mallards in flight.jpg (154.89 KiB) Viewed 2786 times
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

barkeater
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by barkeater » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:03 pm

Looks like it really needs some help. Looking forward to seeing what you can do.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:36 pm

barkeater wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:03 pm
Looks like it really needs some help. Looking forward to seeing what you can do.
It's a fine mess for sure, but many areas have excellent trout habitat and so will the rest once we are done. This project will showcase not only our in-stream habitat restoration which we are well known for, but bank stabilization techniques and floodplain reconnection techniques will be employed during this project. Banks will be restored using such techniques as soil bioengineering, willow fascines, lunker structures (creates an undercut bank habitat), coir matting, willow and dogwood stakes, etc. Many of the vertical banks you see will be re-graded from 1:1 slopes to 3:1 or less to better allow the river access to its floodplain which is fully intact on these three sites. We will be adding wood turtle nesting mounds, turtle hibernaculum on the insides of some point bars, duck nesting boxes, vernal pool habitat, and other terrestrial habitat restoration where practical.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

Dave B.
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Dave B. » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:05 am

Definitely looking forward to seeing the finished product! One of the finest wild brown pops in NJ is about to get better!

brookie222
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by brookie222 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:03 am

Unfortunately, the new high density development being built off Lock St and Rte 22 may be adding to the stream degradation. However, anything that can be done to help this nice small stream is welcome.

Johnw
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Johnw » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:27 am

That sure is a mess and amazing to me that it holds a strong wild brown trout population. Looking forward to seeing the final results.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:50 am

Johnw wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:27 am
That sure is a mess and amazing to me that it holds a strong wild brown trout population. Looking forward to seeing the final results.
There are pockets of very good in-stream habitat, but the excess sediment is what is limiting the lower Creek right now in areas like these three sites. Once the river can better access its floodplain, those fine sediments will be deposited out of bank in the floodplain instead of remaining in the stream and coating the bottom, choking out macroinvertebrate life.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue May 14, 2019 1:00 pm

Permit applications go in later this week.....
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

Dave B.
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Dave B. » Tue May 14, 2019 10:37 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:00 pm
Permit applications go in later this week.....
Good to hear! It's a shame the wheels of progress turn so agonizingly slow at times! Hopefully there'll be no glitches in permitting and the project can continue to move forward at a decent pace.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Wed May 15, 2019 11:31 am

Dave B. wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 10:37 pm
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:00 pm
Permit applications go in later this week.....
Good to hear! It's a shame the wheels of progress turn so agonizingly slow at times! Hopefully there'll be no glitches in permitting and the project can continue to move forward at a decent pace.
We have a Flood Hazard permit for this project, and those have a 90 day time in which DEP must approve or deny your application, so the other two DEP permits that don't normally have a 90 day window attached will be included with the FHA permit. This project so far has been a very fast turnaround from the bid to the awarding to the survey to the design to now the permitting phase. Like you said, let's hope it sails through the DEP quickly and we can get in and out by mid September when spawning trout restrictions apply on the 15th of that month. Worst case would be next spring, but we all want this done in 2019.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

Bob J
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Bob J » Fri May 17, 2019 6:52 am

Looks like an awesome project. Kudos to your firm - must be great going to work each day knowing that you're making a difference in something so important and something we all appreciate so much.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Mon May 20, 2019 8:41 am

Bob J wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 6:52 am
Looks like an awesome project. Kudos to your firm - must be great going to work each day knowing that you're making a difference in something so important and something we all appreciate so much.
Thanks Bob J. It is a great job, but the red tape sucks at times. But when we are working, it is fun and never feels like "work"!
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: TU's Lopatcong Creek restoration project

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:25 pm

NJDEP SHPO strikes again. SHPO is state historic preservation office, and their reviewer did the old red tape dump and run, sending off an email at 4:45 pm on a Friday telling our client he needs a phase one archeological study. And he (SHPO guy) is gone on vacation for two weeks and we can't do anything to even discuss what his office thinks it wants until next week when he's back. That shut down any chances of working this year. We now plan to do all three sites in March or April, flows depending. I'm relieved because it would have been a bit too much work for us, but we would have done a great job at Lock Street this fall had we had the chance. Now we'll bang it out next spring and get it planted right away.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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