Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dam removal in New Jersey

Environment News Service: New Jersey has negotiated removal of three dams on the Raritan River as compensation to the public for harm to natural resources from pollution at a refinery and three polymer plants operated by or affiliated with the Houston-based El Paso Corporation. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today that El Paso will finance and carry out removal of the dams under a settlement agreement between the state and the company.

The dam removals will open a 10-mile stretch of the river to fish migrations for the first time in more than a century and expand recreational opportunities along the river. None of the dams were built for flood control. "This unique and unprecedented settlement will make valuable habitat in the Raritan River available for fish spawning while improving overall environmental conditions in the river system," Commissioner Martin said.

"In addition, dam removal will make it easier for kayakers, canoeists, and other lovers of the outdoors to enjoy a river system that has been undergoing a steady and impressive ecological comeback over the years," Martin said.

Dam removal will open up a stretch of the river that winds through a diverse residential, commercial and agricultural portion of Somerset County that includes Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Somerville and Manville. It will also open up about 17 miles of Raritan tributaries to spawning….

The Raritan River in Clinton, New Jersey. It's unclear whether the dam in this photo is one of those slated for removal. Shot by Ekem, who released it into the public domain

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