Following our November '15 restoration of the Wild & Scenic Musconetcong (Musky) River on this same dairy farm, Urbani Fisheries returned on March 16 to work in West Portal Brook, a native brook trout spawning tributary to the main Musky. West Portal suffered from five generations of dairy farmers that allowed the cows to access the entire stream which lead to bank erosion and a lack of riparian plantings to hold and stabilize the banks as well as provide shade to the stream.
This is a limestone spring creek, so the water quality and temperatures are excellent for native brook trout. However, excess sediment had built up in the channel and the remnants of an old trout hatchery in this stream were causing additional damages during high flows, threatening to allow the channel to move outside of the now-enclosed cattle exclusion area along this stream. Over the last several years after the cattle fencing was added, several conservation groups including North Jersey RC&D and Trout Unlimited have planted buffers along both the Musky and West Portal Brook.
In-stream restoration was the last piece of the puzzle for this particular dairy farm. The local Ridge & Valley Trout Unlimited chapter will add spawning gravels to the tailouts of pools in need of the proper sized gravels in early fall and their volunteers will later count active spawning redds of brook trout spawning in this tributary.
Urbani Fisheries restored a 1/3 mile stretch of the Wild & Scenic Musconetcong (Musky) River in Asbury, NJ. The river suffered from farming too closely to its banks over a period of decades and a dam upstream about one mile which conspired to widen the channel and to fill it with sediment.
Below: The Musky pre-restoration on the Beatty Farm. Note lack of riffles, runs or pools.
Below: Same channel during restoration. Note creation of pool and point/gravel bar restoration.