Monday, September 29, 2008

Musky Up and Running

To sign up for the Musconetcong Watershed Association sponsored river trips and indoor class that I will be teaching this Saturday visit the MWA Website.

Finally, the release from Lake Hopatcong has begun (a few days ago) and we got a close up look at it yesterday during the Musconetcong Watershed Association's Annual Wine Tasting, which was held at the Musky Hatchery. Yes the wine was flowing nicely as well as the river.

It was a great time to catch up with folks from the river valley, many of whom worked with me on the Wild and Scenic Study and several other projects.

I was introduced to the guy who hired by the Warren Rod & Gun Club to remove all the fish weirs from that stretch of the river. A lot of seasoned paddlers of the Musky will be surprised to see these singular features missing from the river, unless of course they read this blog post.

I've mentioned this topic a few times and will do it one more time:

The Deadline to Stop the Bush Administration's Gutting of the Endangered Species Act Is:

October 15th To Take Action visit the Center for Biological Diversity

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nor'easter's not to be a tropical storm but a nor'easter will soak us and the region could use a good soaking.

Taking a train trip to Philly to eat at the Vietnam Palace and see a great art show. Carol Wisker (my brother's babe) is a super painter. We had planned to watch the great debate after the show, but McSame has bailed out -- for noble reasons of course. How did the Straight Talk Express morph into the Lying Circus and now into to this Cowards Retreat?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Parched but chance for tropical storm...

Paddled the Delaware River in a tandem canoe with Sharon last Sunday with 20+ other paddlers as a Delaware Valley Division -American Canoe Association outing at Tinicum Park. Tinicum to Point Pleasant is a really pretty stretch of the river. There were plenty of other people out there including a group from Mohawk Canoe Club, and lots of livery boats and tubers.

The gage at Rieglesville read about 2.68' and that might be the lowest level that I've ever paddled the Delaware River, but even then we only scraped a few gravel bars, at least one of those occasions only because I chose the boniest course, much to the chagrin of the unfortunates following me.

The Musconetcong is stuck at 1.68' Bloomsbury and it will stay there as long as the release from Lake Hopatcong remains at a paltry 68 CFS. They should be cranking about 200 CFS.

We do stand a chance of getting some rain with a little flow off the Atlantic. We might even have Tropical Storm Kyle visit somewhere between Thursday through Saturday morning. We need it badly.

The National Weather Service says:
A less circumspect call comes from Hurricane Center "the system over the next couple of days will move through an area that will allow it to become better organized and take on tropical characteristics, possibly become a tropical depression.

All interests along the East Coast should closely monitor the progress and development of the disturbance.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski says it is too early to determine if the disturbance will make landfall on the Eastern Seaboard, or if it will skirt up the coast while remaining over the open water of the Atlantic.

"The steering currents at this time of year usually direct a system in this position in the Atlantic to the north and northeast, along the East Coast," says Sosnowski.

"The danger here is the system develops rapidly into a hurricane and is then forced to the northwest at increasing speed toward the New England or mid-Atlantic coast Friday into Saturday."

To paraphrase the great War President: "Bring it on!"

And we could get the same results that Bush did. Afterall, 105 years ago we had a similar scenario that eventually became the Pumpkin Flood of 1903.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Save our lakes and rivers!

The bottom of the Delaware River with photographer's shadow.

Poorly planned sprawl development in the form of box stores and strip malls has ruined a once pristine lake. Sound familiar?

New Jersey? Pennsylvania? North Carolina?

Try Alaska.

Sarah Palin, religious fundamentalist and great outdoorswoman has quite a legacy as the former Mayor of Wasilla, AK.

If you're looking for intelligence, sound judgment and prudent planning in our next administration be aware, and beware.

Read about it here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day on the Delaware

Looking upstream at the railroad bridge just below Yardley, PA. It's a very active line, and the bridge pier from an early rail line appears just upstream.

Did a local trip today, paddled in the 'hood between Scudders Falls and Calhoun Street Bridge, the very bottom of the non-tidal river, where the cormorants gather on the rocks to air out their armpits.

I'm ashamed to admit it's the first time I've paddled down here since we moved to Yardley, that lovely flood capital of the Delaware River Basin.

It was enjoyable although not so scenic like places upstream. The ugliest stretch the river is not here, or even down by the refineries, it's the stretch of river in Harmony Township. That's anther story.

It was nice to escape the campaign for the day, speaking of which:

Would someone please tell Senator John McSame: 'Senator, I worked with John McCain; I knew John McCain. Senator, you're no John McCain.'

The man has suddenly blossomed into a raging populist, railing against the greed and lack of regulations, a situation that he actively helped to create over the past dozen years.

Quote of the week: "It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers."
Read why a true conservative will vote for Obama.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Tidal Trip...

I befriended an aquatic Giraffe that has been living in Crosswicks Creek since the 1930's. Thanks to Herb Melhman for capturing this rare sighting.

I've been on too many organized paddling trips where the leaders and participants showed little enthusiasm for ecology, environment, or history. Too many paddlers treat the on-the-water experience as an amusement ride with little consideration given for the health of the waterway, or any other aspect beyond the actual paddling experience.

George and Leona Fluck are great trip leaders. They lead kayakers and canoers on the water but also help the followers better understand and appreciate the natural and man made environment along the way. An so it as with the Crosswicks Creek trip last Thursday, co-sponsored by the Outdoor Club of South Jersey and the NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club.

I hadn't paddled the Crosswicks for at least ten years and seldom visit tidal waters so it was a nice change of pace to be able to paddle up with the tide and paddle back down with the tide without the usual complications of the shuttle. This was an enjoyable and engaged group of paddlers and we were treated to the tidal marsh and some interesting layers of history in this area.

The release from Lake Hopat has been cut back to 75 CFS and not surprisingly the Musconetcong River has fallen back below 2.00' at the Bloomsbury gage (1.86). I've been told that complaints from recreational boaters have forestalled the big 5' drawdown, which is OK, that just guarantees that it will last into November. The lake boaters want a few more weekends of speeding across the water in their gas guzzling power boats. We'll wait patiently for the release toramp up to 200 CFS.

Check out this obit...a real loss for humankind.

Read about the fundamentalist Christian freak who could be the next Republican VP. Frightening.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Endangered Species Act imperiled

I sent out a personal email alert a few weeks ago about the Bush administration's most recent attempt to undermine the federal Endangered Species Act.

Here is a much more in depth and nuanced explanation about the proposed changes to the Act. It's all about the definitions. And it's about the never-ending efforts by Republican politicians to dismantle environmental laws at the behest of their corporate sponsors.

Instructions for taking action can be found at the end of the article.

I've admired the curmudgeonly writer Jim Kuntsler for several years. His recent post on Clusterfuck Nation is a sobering take on where our nation is headed (downhill fast). I don't understand much about Fannie and Freddie but agree with his take on the confluence of peak oil and the end of the suburban American Dream (which is a nightmare for the Planet now that the Chinese and Indians want to be like us).

Looking forward to a Thursday on the Crosswicks Creek - riding the tide back and forth through Hamilton Marsh.

The Musconetcong River has riven to a nice level for paddling, thanks to Hannah and Hopatcong lake, which is dumping at 148 CFS.


What is the difference between Palin and Cheney?


Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Gentle Storm..

Hannah turned out to be just what was needed to perk up the creeks, rivers and vegetation. The Delaware River at Riegelsville rose almost two feet and is already headingback down to a seasonably low flow. Most non-tidal tributaries were not significantly impacted despite predictions of small stream flooding.

As expected the storm (and dire forecasts) repressed turnout at the first ever Northeast Canoe and Kayak Symposium held at Spruce Run State Park near Clinton, NJ. The rain held off long enough for events to take place. Hopefully the turnout will surge today.

The Lake Hopatcong drawdown is underway and will help keep the Musconetcong until the end of October, depending on how much precipitation comes our way. Hurricane Ike will probably hammer the Gulf Coast, but we could get some rain out of it later this month.

Type your zip code into the widget and you will have instant access to all manner of info about water quality and environmental organzations courtesy of EPA.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hannah cross is coming to town...

It looks like we'll receive at least a few inches of rain this weekend if Hurricane Hannah proceeds as expected. Although anything can happen - there is universal agreement among various models that it will roll up the coast and move through pretty quickly once the high collapses. The Outer Banks is the projected landfall location at this hour. That line keeps moving north?

The Tropical Wave Train foretells what could become a troublesome hurricane season. Fay-Gustav-Hannah-Ike-Josephine it's a veritable Conga Line and forecasters think most of the action will be in the Atlantic instead of the Gulf. As stated below, we need rain, but a few droughts have been alleviated by wicked storms that resulted in flooding for various watersheds from Bound Brook to New Hope.

This time next week we will probably have a good idea of what to expect at the tail end of the Conga line.

This weekend is the first Northeast Canoe & Kayak Symposium to be held at Spruce Run Reservoir. I'll be at the American Canoe Association booth on Saturday (during the monsoon?).

The Lake Hopatcong release has not started as of today. The Delaware River and Musconetcong River are both about as low as can be. I love paddling the Delaware at this level, but if I don't get out there befroe the weekend the river may never be that low again until the next dry summer.