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Musconetcong Bank Restoration at Hughesville

Project Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to restore several hundred feet of riverbank at the site of the Hughesville Dam Removal, resulting in an armored bend in the river channel.

Brief Description:

The week after Thanksgiving neighbors of the Hughesville dam removal site reported a large sycamore tree had fallen into the river and that several hundred feet of bank had collapsed. Since late September, the Musconetcong River had experienced unusually high flows, due to the five year drawn down of Lake Hopatcong by 5’, heavy rain storms, and high runoff due to the very saturated ground. Our usual flows are 200 cfs this time of year, but we routinely hit 2,000 cfs with rain events this fall, and river levels remained high in between storms. The engineered “middle riffle” of the restoration, remained intact. However, the river’s flow has shifted from a straight channel to the river left and washed sections of both original and restored bank. This resulted is a slight bend in the river channel.

While there are Dam Safety and Freshwater Wetland permits in effect on the site, we are voluntarily restoring the bank, and have not been directed to do so as a permit requirement or violation. The solution proposed by Princeton Hydro is different than the prior bank conditions.

Proposed are:

  • Reinforcing the now naturally occurring bend in the river’s channel with stone to armor the toe of the restored bank.

  • Utilizing root wads from the fallen trees to shore up the bank’s structure.

  • Installing a higher density of live stakes, shrubs, and trees than on other parts of the site

to stabilize the bank (with volunteers from MWA, Princeton Hydro, and Trout Unlimited)

  • Extending the width of the middle riffle.


Resource Values/Project Outputs:

This project site is immediately upstream of a National Wild and Scenic section of the Musconetcong River. Restoration at this highly visible site would promote safe recreational (fishing and boating) access to an area of river that was previously inaccessible. Restoration at this site would restore a half-acre of floodplain and would support safe passage of migratory fish such as American Shad, River Herring, Stripped Bass, and American Eel. It would also create habitat for Native Brook Trout and other aquatic species.


We are proposing to utilize MWA cash reserves to facilitate most of the repair costs. The USFWS has allocated up to $10,000 for materials. Princeton Hydro is contributing in-kind engineering services worth $10,000. Total costs, with a 25% contingency are $61,207.50.


Construction of this project will commence once flow in the river returns to a safe level. The river would be considered safe for work to begin when the USGS Stream Gauge at Bloomsbury measures 2.5 feet or river flow is less than or equal to 200cfs. Work on this project will also have to occur around the trout exclusion of March 15 - June 15. Once these conditions are met, construction work is expected to take two weeks, with up to 4 days to install new bankside vegetation (about 2,000 live stakes, and 12- 15 trees of 12-14’ in height). Assuming we are able to enter the river and complete construction work prior to March 15th, all work would be completed by May, 2019. If conditions are unfavorable, construction work would be completed in summer 2019, and vegetation installed thereafter, with an anticipated completion by the end of September 2019.

Permit Status: Dam Safety and Freshwater Wetland Permits are in effect on site.

List of Partners:

  • Musconetcong Watershed Association USFWS

  • Princeton Hydro

  • Trout Unlimited

What is requested from the CWRP/Contribution: MWA is requesting $10,000 from CWRP to assist in construction costs for this project.


Point of Contact: Alan Hunt, Executive Director | | 908-537-7060

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