Friday, October 30, 2009

Land & Water Appropriations...

Congress passed the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010. The bill provides a $4.7 billion increase over 2009 and a large chunk will fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as water infrastructure. Follow the above link to read the official summary. I haven't delved into the gory details yet but they can be found here.

I did learn from a separate source that the legislation included $750,000 to the USFWS for the purchase of new tracts of land to expand the recently designated Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which is located in Monroe County and near the Water Gap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Indian Summer Light...

Wading River Headwaters

Looie and Grace on the Wading River below Speedwell

Upper Wading River

Grace with the smiling face on the Wading River

Chris on the Delaware River near Carpentersville

Two consecutive days on very different rivers = balm for the soul. Tuesday we paddled the 9-mile Easton to Riegelsville stretch of the Delaware River with a fellow who is a cultural anthropologist with an interest in the river and the people who live along its shores. It was his first look from the center of the river, and what a spectacular, cool fall day it was for a river trip.

Wednesday we headed to the NJ Pine Barrens for a trip on the Wading River between Speedwell and Godfrey Bridge. We put in at the uppermost part of the river and crashed through and slunk under the brush and blowdowns of this extremely beautiful little stream. At the launch site the road was peppered with cranberries that fell off trucks carrying a steady stream of the berries to the Ocean Spray plant. We were in the heart of cranberry country and harvesting was in progress.

This was about 5 full hours of steady paddling with one relatively brief lunch break (approximately 14 miles). The Wading River, particularly the uppermost reach is an incredibly twisting affair and it is mostly surrounded by hardwoods, pine and the beautiful Atlantic Cedar. It's all sand with intermittent gravel bars. The air was fragrant with fall foliage and pine needles, the water a dark tea color that defines the Pine Barren streams.

I look forward to paddling more Pine Barren rivers this coming fall and winter. Thanks to Looie, Grace and Chris for sharing such a fine day on one of the sweetest rivers on the planet.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just ahead...Indian Summer

The Musconetcong River, despite days of intermittent rain, is lower right now than before the nor'easters began. It's running below average for this time of year according to the Bloomsbury gage.

The flow coming out of Lake Hopatcong is less than half the median daily flow over the past 53 years. The lake discharge is the main branch of the river.

According the Belvidere gage the Delaware River is running just above the average flow for this date. That's where we'll be this week.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Three days on the river...

Rejuvenated somewhat from a 3 night canoe camping trip along the Delaware River. Paddled one day with two buddies and solitude for the rest of the trip. Saw nary a bear but observed a few bald eagles and many mergansers.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Heading Upriver...

It's about time. Sleeping this evening in Worthington State Forest - black bear capital of NJ - and joining Delaware Riverkeeper staff for a Sunday day trip, followed by a 2-day solo canoe camp through the beautiful Walpack Bend section.

If you don't hear from me by Wednesday it means I'm well on the way to becoming bear scat (not sure about the turnaround time in a bear's digestive tract).