India Brook mischeif

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coaltrout
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India Brook mischeif

Post by coaltrout » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:09 am

Taken from a thread from NJF, https://www.njfishing.com/forums/showth ... p?t=110481

"B.C. got a call from one of our members that was hiking along India Brook in Mendham Twp. earlier today. He came across what is clearly an illegal diversion in a C-1 wild trout stream. I took these photos and others and called in to WARN-DEP and got case # 1909-30-1227-17 and DEP Enforcement is alerted and looking into it.
Before B.C. left, a black pickup truck came down a dirt road on the other side where lots of fresh, new No Trespassing signs have been placed and he was shouting to me from across the river. I explained I was on the phone with the DEP because what I was seeing was multiple clear violations of NJ laws. Long story short, he knows he's screwed and while he denied even having any heavy equipment on site, I could hear an excavator working maybe 200 feet into the woods. Tree removal, illegal diversion ditch, fill in NJ Open Waters, working without proper DEP Land Use Regulation permits, without county soil conservation district permits, and doing all of this in a C-1 trout stream with spawning trout closures between September 15 and March 15. That's just for starters. The bridge abutments are historic as well.....

The reason the new landowner drove down is that he has cameras installed and he could see me walking along the river, but B.C. remained only on the public (town) land. This is in India Brook Natural Area in Mendham Twp."

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:32 am

LOL, I'm famous :lol:
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:36 am

What you are seeing are multiple violations. I know the town of Mendham (Twp., not Borough) is on it this morning. So is Raritan Headwaters and TU. But I have yet to hear from DEP Enforcement which has me concerned as they have not seen any photos and I have no idea if they've been on site yet. This landowner is looking at both fines and remediation when the smoke clears. And it might just cost him the flow he needs for his pond which once had a pipe into the river feeding it. I assume that is what he was attempting to replace without any permits, during trout spawning season, and blocking flows while dumping fill into State Open Waters. Lastly, not to just violate DEP Land Use regulations, but it looks like he peeled off some of the boulders from the historic district bridge, so there are more violations there as well......stay tuned for more info.
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coaltrout
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by coaltrout » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:48 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:36 am
What you are seeing are multiple violations. I know the town of Mendham (Twp., not Borough) is on it this morning. So is Raritan Headwaters and TU. But I have yet to hear from DEP Enforcement which has me concerned as they have not seen any photos and I have no idea if they've been on site yet. This landowner is looking at both fines and remediation when the smoke clears. And it might just cost him the flow he needs for his pond which once had a pipe into the river feeding it. I assume that is what he was attempting to replace without any permits, during trout spawning season, and blocking flows while dumping fill into State Open Waters. Lastly, not to just violate DEP Land Use regulations, but it looks like he peeled off some of the boulders from the historic district bridge, so there are more violations there as well......stay tuned for more info.
Thanks man and great work with the investigation! Thought i would share the post from AndyS here. People in the NJF thread are curious too. I would share your response there if you dont mind?

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:38 pm

coaltrout wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:48 pm
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:36 am
What you are seeing are multiple violations. I know the town of Mendham (Twp., not Borough) is on it this morning. So is Raritan Headwaters and TU. But I have yet to hear from DEP Enforcement which has me concerned as they have not seen any photos and I have no idea if they've been on site yet. This landowner is looking at both fines and remediation when the smoke clears. And it might just cost him the flow he needs for his pond which once had a pipe into the river feeding it. I assume that is what he was attempting to replace without any permits, during trout spawning season, and blocking flows while dumping fill into State Open Waters. Lastly, not to just violate DEP Land Use regulations, but it looks like he peeled off some of the boulders from the historic district bridge, so there are more violations there as well......stay tuned for more info.
Thanks man and great work with the investigation! Thought i would share the post from AndyS here. People in the NJF thread are curious too. I would share your response there if you dont mind?
Feel free to. I was back today with Raritan Headwaters Association and they are following up on my complaint as is the Division biologist and staff there. I know Mendham Twp. is on it, because their town administrator was reaching out past 10pm last night and she was on it first thing. The site was quiet when we walked up mid afternoon today. Let me download and dummy down some pix I took so they will fit here and I will post some later. The work done was more than I initially saw yesterday, but that was only because I was on the phone with DEP at the time when the landowner drove down and started to yell over the river to get my attention. I was taking some pix then as well, and I'm sure that had him nervous. The sediment in the channel is a federal Clean Water Act 401 violation, and that can run him $50,000 per day once they catch up with him. :shock: :shock:
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:00 pm

This is the bridge abutment from the historic Steep Hill Road which was decommissioned back in 1910 per the sign. He destabilized the structure significantly as you can see. He dug a pool on his side with boulders stacked up on the town side.
Destabilized historic bridge abutment .JPG
Destabilized historic bridge abutment .JPG (817.11 KiB) Viewed 1421 times
Old bridge and road sign at site.JPG
Old bridge and road sign at site.JPG (490.43 KiB) Viewed 1421 times
Here's the big crime.....look at all the fresh sediment in the channel and we have had zero point zero inches of rain in this watershed since this was done.
Sediment in channel .JPG
Sediment in channel .JPG (855.95 KiB) Viewed 1421 times
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:00 pm

This is the bridge abutment from the historic Steep Hill Road which was decommissioned back in 1910 per the sign. He destabilized the structure significantly as you can see. He dug a pool on his side with boulders stacked up on the town side.
Destabilized historic bridge abutment .JPG
Old bridge and road sign at site.JPG
Here's the big crime.....look at all the fresh sediment in the channel and we have had zero point zero inches of rain in this watershed since this was done.
Sediment in channel .JPG
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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coaltrout
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by coaltrout » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:15 pm

Thanks, rusty, for the updates.

Jerzguy21
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Jerzguy21 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:36 pm

Brian, I hope this gets better results than i received from the DEP on that wts in Oldwick, where the exact same thing was done to supply water to a farm pond. Stream was damned, water almost entirely diverted, and nothing was done. I spent hours and documented everything with photographs and made calls and wrote to everyone and supposedly the DEP came out and decided it was no issue!

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by martalus » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:09 pm

These people think they can do whatever they want. I was in Tewksbury last month and the section above where the guy dammed and diverted the water is silty and shallow. Luckily it just messes up a small section, but it is still annoying. Futher upstream, a couple good years of rain has helped out and I can confirm the trout are doing great!

Jerzguy21
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Jerzguy21 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:23 pm

Martalus, If I was a bunch younger, I would have someone drop me off on a rainy night for an hour, and remove that rock damn!!!

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:00 am

I was informed this morning that the town has been out with their building inspector and they will be issuing notices of town violations today. The DEP complaint I called in is being followed up by both NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife and Raritan Headwaters Association. Those violations found by DEP will or should have some sting to them and require immediate action to remediate.
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Bubba Zinetti
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Bubba Zinetti » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:00 am

Thanks Rusty. I cannot stress enough how important it is to report this stuff. Please insert a string of insults and curses to the person(s) who did this and another string of curses hoping that they pay for it.

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:00 am

Bubba Zinetti wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:00 am
Thanks Rusty. I cannot stress enough how important it is to report this stuff. Please insert a string of insults and curses to the person(s) who did this and another string of curses hoping that they pay for it.
We are talking about signs that organizations like Trout Unlimited, watershed organizations, towns, etc. can place around their streams and rivers that basically inform people what actions they can take, who to call, etc. if they see something that they don't think looks right. The more sophisticated signs (more expensive) show the specific location where the sign is located with a code the local town Haz Mat will know along with GPS coordinates. Other signs are more generic and can be placed anywhere with info like call 1-877-927-6337 (877 WARN DEP). I often get these calls myself because folks don't know where or whom to call, but they know I will. And I'm happy to take the calls and offer whatever help I can, but I'm out of town more and more on business and sometimes can't be reached. I think the signs also raise awareness of the critical nature our trout streams play for our drinking water supply. Some people think we are too obsessed with trout, but the truth is, would you want to drink out of water being polluted by unregulated activities? Of course not.
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by cappy » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:49 pm

Kudos to all involved.

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:10 am

DEP Enforcement called me finally, and they are headed out there today. Mendham Twp. has cited this landowner with several violations, and those may or may not be involved in the pictures I put up here. Apparently he is also working on the house and the overall property, and likely without the proper permits (or any permits). The fill in the stream is a 401 violation under the Clean Water Act and can carry fines up to $50,000/day once they come down on him later today. It also turns out that he made a DEP complaint a month ago that his pond on the property he had just purchased "was too low" and he told DEP what he wanted to do. He was told much of what he wanted to do was not allowable, and he went over the head of the woman in Enforcement that he initially spoke with and had "a heated argument" with her supervisor later about the same issues. So he has ZERO chance of claiming he didn't know he was violating laws since he was clearly told he could not do what he eventually went ahead and did. The very same people in DEP Enforcement are now assigned to his case......
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:10 am

DEP Enforcement called me finally, and they are headed out there today. Mendham Twp. has cited this landowner with several violations, and those may or may not be involved in the pictures I put up here. Apparently he is also working on the house and the overall property, and likely without the proper permits (or any permits). The fill in the stream is a 401 violation under the Clean Water Act and can carry fines up to $50,000/day once they come down on him later today. It also turns out that he made a DEP complaint a month ago that his pond on the property he had just purchased "was too low" and he told DEP what he wanted to do. He was told much of what he wanted to do was not allowable, and he went over the head of the woman in Enforcement that he initially spoke with and had "a heated argument" with her supervisor later about the same issues. So he has ZERO chance of claiming he didn't know he was violating laws since he was clearly told he could not do what he eventually went ahead and did. The very same people in DEP Enforcement are now assigned to his case......
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by cappy » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:34 am

Curious as I fish that stream occasionally and don't recall ever seeing the old bridge abutments. Where is this in relation to the falls.

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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:04 am

cappy wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:34 am
Curious as I fish that stream occasionally and don't recall ever seeing the old bridge abutments. Where is this in relation to the falls.
Downstream if by the "falls" you mean Buttermilk Falls which is on the upper end of the same park. The bridge was once intact over the stream and the road was called Steep Hill Road. It was decommissioned in 1910.
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Re: India Brook mischeif

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:04 am

cappy wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:34 am
Curious as I fish that stream occasionally and don't recall ever seeing the old bridge abutments. Where is this in relation to the falls.
Downstream if by the "falls" you mean Buttermilk Falls which is on the upper end of the same park. The bridge was once intact over the stream and the road was called Steep Hill Road. It was decommissioned in 1910. If you look at the one photos, I literally show GPS coordinates. :)

It is about 1/2 mile up the white trail from the parking lot off Mountainside Road at the India Brook Natural Area. You can't miss it if you just hike the trail. The path is away from the river until the last minute, and then it turns right and takes you almost directly to the old bridge.
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