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County Line Dam Removal

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Project Purpose: Removal of the County Line Dam; Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration


Brief Description:

TNC is working with a landowner to remove the County Line Dam to restore and reconnect habitat for trust species including American shad, American eel and native sea lamprey. The dam is located approximately 15 miles from the Delaware River and is the second obstruction to fish migration.  The Paulina Dam is five miles below the County Line Dam and removal design and permitting is currently underway. Together with the Columbia Dam removal (2019) these two removals with open a total of 45 miles of mainstem and tributaries.


The Paulins Kill is a “high priority” per the Restoration Center NE Region Fish Passage Prioritization.  The first obstruction on the Paulins Kill, the Paulina Dam, is located 10 miles upstream of the Delaware and is ranked number 825 using the Northeast Aquatic Connectivity Project tool.  The design and permitting for the removal of the Paulina Dam are underway.  With the Paulina Dam removed, the County Line Dam will rank 758 among over 14,000 dams in the northeast in terms of the importance of reconnecting critical habitat.


Historical accounts from this area document that the Paulins Kill once had annual migrations of shad. Sussex County, a History, (Cummings, 1964) describes a local family’s settlement in the mid-1740s and the rise of mill dams along the river, noting that “there had been lots of shad every April” until “these dams ruined the Paulins Kill for shad fishing”.  The County Line Dam is an obstruction to fish passage.


The removal of County Line Dam is anticipated to be completed by November 2022; this is of course contingent upon the permitting process.


Resource Values/Project Outputs:

The removal of the County Line Dam will restore and reconnect habitat for diadromous fish species including American shad (Alosa sapidissima), alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), American eel (Anguilla rostrata) and native sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and to restore 12 acres of floodplain habitat currently inundated by the County Line Dam. Removal of this dams is part of a larger effort to restore the lower Paulins Kill.


Cost/Budget: Estimated costs for the project are approximately $645,000


Schedule: Permit Applications submitted by August 2021; Construction activities to begin early 2022.


Permit Status: Permit application prepared for submittal (summer 2021).


List of Partners: The Nature Conservancy, Landowners Malton/Kaplan, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Service


What is requested from the CWRP/Contribution: $25,000 for construction activities.


Point of Contact:  Michelle DiBlasio, Watershed Restoration Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy

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