Friday, April 30, 2010

Scoping Report…

The National Park Service has released its “Public Scoping Report.”

If you want to read the comments NPS received about the proposed Susquehanna to Roseland 500kV Electric Transmission Line go here and click on “Document List.”

If ‘Alternative B’ is constructed the power line would ruin one of the prettier sections of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as well as the Appalachian Trail.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Rivers…

Batsto River

Last Friday we paddled an 8-mile stretch of the Musconetcong River (Hampton to Bloomsbury) and Saturday it was a 15-mile marathon run down the Batsto River, in the heart of the wild New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Two Jersey rivers of entirely different character.

The Musconetcong is a swift and rocky stream in the NJ Highlands.

The Batsto is a slow (though not sluggish) and entirely sandy-bottomed little river typical of the Pine Barrens.

The Musconetcong flows by mostly privately owned land: farms, historic hamlets and wooded slopes.

The Batsto meanders through state owned land that is primarily a mix of Atlantic Cedar forest and scrub pine. During the entire 15 mile trip we saw nary a house or barn and only a few bridges. The Batsto is a tributary to the Mullica -- another wild Piney river in Wharton State Forest.

Even though the Batsto flows through deep woods and swampland there is relatively little wildlife to be seen from the center of a Pine Barrens river. A trip down the Musky almost always features dramatic wildlife sightings such as osprey, red fox, and lots of fish.

The one thing these two beautiful rivers have in common is: when you fall in you’ll get wet. One of our group unexpectedly confirmed this on the Batsto, giving him a chilly last 6 miles on the river.

Another common theme is both offer a delightful experience for river trippers.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Looking upstream on the Delaware Canal a mile below Yardley PA. Portions of the canal are now holding water thanks to the extensive flood restoration that is nearing completion. When the Delaware Canal is operational it's primarily supplied with water from the Lehigh River, which joins the Delaware River at the Forks of the Delaware in the City of Easton. That's where the Lehigh Canal ends and the Delaware Canal begin

The Delaware River is back to a normal flow (long-term median); indeed at Belvidere it’s a little below normal for this date.

The weather has been streaky that way for many moons. Frequent and/or long lasting storms punctuated by glorious weather. Lately the glorious mode has been dominant.

And the reason for the Delaware’s long descent to somewhat below normal is the more sudden crash of many of the Pennsylvania tributaries like the Broadhead Creek, which is a few hundred cfs below the median. That’s the result of the unseasonably hot, dry windy weather we enjoyed.

The mighty Lehigh too is well below normal, a full 1000 cfs below at Bethlehem.

Down in the land of Triassic shale the Tohickon is at a summerlike trickle of 55 cfs, barely half the median flow for Tax Day.

On the Jersey side of the river, tributaries like the Flatbrook and Musconetcong River are near or slightly below the median.

The difference between the overall flow of the two states' tributaries is expressed in the rainfall distribution from the last nor’easter, which hammered the coast with up to 15 inches in some places, but only gave the Poconos and westernmost PA piedmont a paltry few inches by comparison.

And that’s the way it is. And as usual, changes are on the way.