Thursday, March 13, 2008

On the Musconetcong in March...

How could we resist a 3.22' water level on the river at Bloomsbury? No trip would be complete without some fortifying duct tape on the Howler's old beat-up hull (above).

Eric S and Chris M joined JB on a 12-mile run between Beattystown and Hampton Borough Park. I'm keeping their last names secret so they won't be picked up by Homeland Security. This stretch of the Musconetcong is a perky class one & two stretch of the river that features a nice mix of national historic structures and mixed hemlock-hardwood forest.

The Point Mountain Section is incredibly secluded and scenic, but after that the riparian areas are punctuated by extraordinarily degraded farmland. Two farms in particular contribute an estimated 50% of all the fecal coliform in the river. They are the Mannon Farm in Mansfield Township and the Miller Farm in Washington Township (pictured below). Both are located in Warren Counnty. YeeHah!

This was a really relaxing canoe trip despite the last minute impromptu swim by one of our party. Bringing in the sunken cargo-laden canoe was a challenge. Truly, we followed that boat at least 400 yards before we could get it on the shore.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


How did we ever dodge that one? The NYC reservoirs must have saved the day. Oh wait, they're full. What the *?

Hopefully we'll be rain free for several days so the landscape can dry out a bit.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Look out....

If we get the predicted potential of 3" rain over Friday and Saturday the river may enter the dreaded realm of severe flood. So far only a moderate flood event is predicted (22.5 at Riegelsville). The river is out of its banks at 22' at that location.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Skinny on Floods...any day now

(photo Assateague Island November 2007)

How to shake this blogger from a state of dormancy? The issue of Delaware River floods and flooding in general will get me going. And now we have the threat of flooding with the predicted 2-inches of rain, which didn't happen -- just another spring freshet.

Meanwhile another rainstorm is approaching from the south. That can't be good.

I've been reluctant to wade into this uber complex issue, preferring instead to observe the never ending debate about flooding along the Delaware River. Debate is too kind a word for what I've witnessed.

Distilling this extremely complex subject into a few pages will take time. I'm still trying to figure out which hat to wear and which voice to use. If only it was as simple as certain simpleminded people think it is.

Speaking of of the first chapters will deal with the myths and propaganda being spread around the watershed like so much horse manure by the Delaware Riverside Conservancy. This mob uses junk science and revisionist history to support their hysterical claims. The tragic result is that hundreds if not thousands of floodplain dwellers believe that a 20% void in the reservoirs will "stop the flooding." It wouldn't, although it could help reduce flooding in certain circumstances, to varying degrees. That's the rub. The river will flood no matter what; not every flood is reservoir inspired much less reservoir related. After all, there are at least three general categories (themes) of Delaware River floods and several possible meteorological and hydrological variations with each. Serious flooding can and has occurred without any influence from the reservoirs.

I predict that the river rednecks will soon be calling for a massive flood control project featuring a dam across one of the only free-flowing major rivers in the Nation. Not going to happen. A war would break out. I'd be on the side of the free-flowing river.

The answer? There are many. Best ones? Raze or raise. Buy-out and raze the more vulnerable homes, especially those that originally served as summer cottages. Raise up the rest. There are many other measures that can be taken to lessen the economic impact of floods.

My self-imposed deadline for the series is June 14. It will be a birthday present and a special gift for the Delaware River. That's my voice and that's my hat. Any day now. Any day now.