World Fish Migration Day on the Raritan River!
World Fish Migration Day on the Raritan River!

World Fish Migration Day on the Raritan River!

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George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River with the Continental Army on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War was made famous by oil-on-canvas paintings by the German-American artist Emanuel Leutze. Today the Delaware River is in many ways still revolutionary. It stands as the longest undammed of the Eastern United States. For the entire 330 miles of its main stem, forming much of the New Jersey border with Pennsylvania, the free-flowing character of the upper Delaware provides exceptionally clean water and superior ecological integrity, hosting wildlife in abundance.  Much less is known of the adjoining and much smaller watershed.  The Raritan River, home to its own revolutionary war battles, is connected to the Delaware River via the Delaware-Raritan Canal. The Raritan River is the lifeblood of a 1,100 square mile basin at the heart of the State of New Jersey.  It is by comparison an abundantly dammed river system.  Once a powerhouse of the American Industrial Revolution, the Raritan-Millstone Watershed no longer hosts an abundance of industrial smoke-stacks. It is now the home to 1.2 million residents and renowned academic institutions Rutgers University and Princeton University; providing major advancements in healthcare/life science and transportation logistics;   Dams in the Raritan, with few exceptions, are without a current purpose. They stand as remnants of a bygone age.  The Raritan River Fish Passage Initiative (RRFPI) was born in 2008 with the stated goals of undamming the Raritan River, returning diadromous fish to their historic range, and establishing precedent for a State-wide barrier removal program.  “I think we have achieved much of our stated objectives in 15 years, but there is still more to go”, said David Bean, former Chief of the Office of Natural Resource Restoration at New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, one of the founders of the initiative.  To date, six dams have come down; seven are in planning and design; and one will replace a failing concrete vertical slot weir with a rock ramp to provide in-river passage.  When all of the primary objectives are achieved the Initiative will have opened over 100 miles to fish passage, benefiting not only fish, but insects and benthic organisms, fishermen, recreational paddle enthusiasts while enhancing water quality across the many miles. “It was once perhaps a far-fetched dream to match the mighty Delaware with a smaller, somewhat less mighty free-flowing river. But with each year’s passing we come closer to that dream”, said Carl Alderson, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), another founding member of the initiative. “With support from many stakeholders across the state, that dream is within reach.” 

On May 30th 2024 the members of the Initiative along with State and Federal Trustees representing several Natural Resources Damage cases and the Raritan Headwaters Association will lead a World Fish Migration Day Paddle as part of a campaign for public education and awareness. The formal trip will begin at 8AM ET at Darts Mills (former dam) and end at Neshanic Station (former dam).  At the mid-point the paddlers will tour the Rockafellow Mills Dam slated for removal.   Due to the nature of the event, paddling and water safety skills are required.  Therefore the trip is restricted and by invitation only. Our 2022 event was an all-welcome riverside event. Our next WFMD event in 2026 will return to that theme. 

Additional Details

Name of contact person - carl alderson

Country - United States

 

Date And Time

2024-05-30 @ 08:00 (EDT) to
2024-05-30 @ 05:30 (EDT)
 

Event Types

 
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