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Friday, July 29, 2016

Elwah Dam Removal Success

Published on Jun 2, 2016
June 2, 2016 - Conservationists can now point to the largest dam removal project in the U.S. as a success story. The ecosystem of Washington's Elwha River has been thriving since the removal of its hydroelectric dam system. Recent surveys show dramatic recovery, especially in the near shore at the river's mouth, where the flow of sediment has created favorable habitat for the salmon population. A new generation of salmon species, some of which are endangered, are now present in the river. Some hope that the restoration of the Elwha River will become a shining example for the removal of dams across the U.S.

Read "River Revives After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History."

Check out salmon photos on National Geographic Your Shot.

Learn more about the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Have your say on Penneast Pipeline's environmental impact

By Kurt Bresswein | For 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on July 25, 2016 at 9:27 PM, updated July 26, 2016 at 9:32 AM
Federal energy regulators are visiting the Lehigh Valley and Hunterdon County next month to take input on the environmental impact of the proposed PennEast Pipeline.
PennEast PipelineFederal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conducts a scoping meeting for the planned PennEast Pipeline Project on Feb. 25, 2015, in West Trenton, New Jersey. (NJ Advance Media file photo | For 
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday released the draft environmental impact statement for the planned 118.8-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline between Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and Mercer County, New Jersey.

Monocacy Creek Video

From Lehigh Valley With Love video of the Monocacy:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Trout Rivers and Streams Need More Wood

Fly Fishing: Our Trout Rivers and Streams Need More Wood

Posted on / by
Louis Cahill Photography
In-stream wood is critical for supporting wild trout. Photo by Louis Cahill

Wood is Good!

Several years back, one of my favorite wild trout streams, only a few miles from my house, got slammed with tornados and high winds (from back to back hurricanes that had moved up from Florida). The aftermath from the strong storms, downed dozens, upon dozens of trees along the stream. I was heartbroken at first when I witnessed all the downed wood. The first thing I thought about, was how much critical shade the stream had lost from the destruction of the large stretches of tree canopy along its banks. And that made me nervous water temperatures would thereby increase significantly during the summer months, posing a real threat to year round survival of the wild trout that lived there. I wasn’t alone in my worries, as I quickly found out when I talked with my local fly fisherman in the area. The large majority were in total agreement. We thought the best thing we could do, was go in and strategically remove as much wood as we could to avoid massive silt build ups, which we thought at the time, was causing the stream flow to slow down, and not only contribute to warming the water, but also choking out the natural aquatic bug life. Looking back now, as a much more educated angler, I know see the massive influx of in-stream wood cover that was gifted to us by the hurricanes, was not an environmental catastrophe, but actually a blessing in disguise for our beloved trout stream.
An example of a manmade logjam.
The truth is, a key element that many of our trout streams lack, is enough in-stream lay downs and log jams provided by fallen trees during storms. They’re critical for maintaining and supporting a healthy ecosystem, because they provide cover for all sizes of fish, both mature and juvenile, and they also hold back gravel critical for spawning grounds, and leaf litter from being washed out during high flows. The natural obstructions that they provide, also help to create new riffles and pools, thereby decreasing the chances of long stretches of trout streams ending up running straight as an arrow, widening over time, and becoming too shallow and barren of sufficient trout habitat.
I recently ran across a video on The Caddis Fly: Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, that showcased the local DNR going in and creating manmade logjams. They did this by strategically pulling down trees with heavy equipment on a trout and salmon stream, that overtime had been almost completely flushed out down to bare bedrock over the years. The goal for the project was to improve habitat, stabilize and increase the amount of gravel to improve spawning habitat, and also increase the number of riffles and pools. The video hit home with me and made me ask the question, “Why aren’t we doing more of this across the United States on all of our cold-water watersheds?”
Please watch the short video, support their efforts if your financial resources permit, and at the very least, take the time to spread the word with your local anglers and TU groups, about the importance of in-stream wood in our fisheries. Yeah, the added wood in our streams and rivers will cause us to lose quite a few more flies in snags. However, the long-term health advantages of the ecosystems on our salmonid watersheds, by the increase in available wood cover, will end up paying back our fly fishing endeavors ten fold over time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bridal Path Dam Removal

(Article from Summer Newsletter)

On July 6th, 2016 Flyway Excavating notched a hole in the small dam near Bridal Path Road to begin the process of removing the dam. Notching the dam took all of about 10 mins, but represented years of work by Monocacy TU and its partners. Admittedly, it probably took longer to get to this point than it should have, but when we are dealing with volunteer efforts, these things sometimes happen. Work, life, family, and other fun stuff (like fishing!) get in the way of moving these projects forward. In spite of the distractions and slow pace, those involved managed to stay on track and keep things moving forward. Unfortunately the process itself is somewhat involved. We needed to get permits, landowner permissions, grants written and awarded, contracts drafted, etc, etc. To say it was gratifying to see some actual (de)-construction happening after years of talking, planning, meeting, and waiting would be an understatement. I would like to specifically thank the following people/ organizations that made this project happen:

  • Sisters of St. Francis and the Snyder family
  • Viorel Dragan, Monocacy TU Member
  • Kristie Fach, Director of Ecological Restoration Wildlands Conservancy
  • Laura Craig, PhD, Director, Science and Economics; River Restoration Programs, American Rivers
  • Clair Sadler, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
  • Dr. Ted Burger, Monocacy TU Director Emeritus
  • Sam (Kutskel) Ferguson and Tali MacArthur, Coldwater Heritage Partnership

There were many more who offered advise and expertise along the way, and Monocacy TU appreciates your assistance and guidance.

This project was completed in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape Initiative. Funding was provided in part by a grant from PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. In addition, this project was also funded by a grant from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership on behalf of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, the Foundation of Pennsylvania Watersheds and the PA Council of Trout Unlimited.

Summer Newsletter now live.

Summer newsletter is now available here.  Check it out!