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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wildlands To Remove "Dam" in Monocacy Creek

The Wildlands Conservancy likes to say it has been "creating lasting connections to nature since 1973." It's been creating lasting connections to grant money, too. One of its latest dam removal projects concerns what some might call a dam near Bridle Path Road, near the St. Francis Retreat Center. Hanover Township Supervisors elected to take no position in response to an inquiry from the state DEP.

"I wouldn't call it a dam," noted Manager Jay Finnigan. "Beavers build bigger dams than that," he said of plans to remove what looks more like a speed bump.

Parks activist and blogger Michael Molovinsky recently played a major role in dissuading South Whitehall Commissioners from authorizing the removal of Wehr's Dam along the Jordan Creek. He might have a different attitude towards this proposal. The Monocacy, unlike the Jordan, is a high quality cold-water trout stream. So this proposal might make sense.


michael molovinsky said...

if there are natural breeding trout both above and below the dam, removing it will make no difference. unfortunately, the wildlands conservancy makes vodoo science claims, but it gets worse, much worse. they interact with the DEP, using their connections in harrisburg to degrade dam ratings. they get local college professors to recommend their projects, even if the claims are not applicable. the WPA built low dams like that as visual folly. any fish with self-esteem can jump it. hopefully, that township will stand up and protect both its beauty and history.

Anonymous said...

we used to race wooden boats over this damn.

and yes, fish laugh at it.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much the lost fees for taking out Wehr's dam has to do with them looking at this little bump in the monocacy?

They have grant money to spend and they need to destroy something to get it

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am going to try to find out how much $ Wildlands is getting for this project. I'd agree with MM on this point.

Anonymous said...

You two are the only truely investigative news outlets locally and I find it humorous that you both use a tool of Hollywood to act as if you hate one another¿ The blogging bitcchslap publicly to gain readership¿ This being said the grant grab speciality has many angles for which this shell trick of escaping monies are allocated and distributed administrationally¿ Dig deep and just maybe the millions burried in banks as well as land trusts will surface to print in this pandering new proffession proffessed to be benifiting the public¿

patent pending

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky you are correct about the dam in the photo but incorrect about the dams that are higher in magnitude. They do prevent significant travel by fish, I'll gladly sit with you and explain trout all day long.


michael molovinsky said...

cheers@2:12, it would be better if you explained all day long to the wildlands why they're wrong about this dam. beauty, history and money will be lost forever on this unnecessary removal.

Anonymous said...

That dam depicted in the photo clearly does not obstruct sufficient water to negatively effect water temperature, trout, specifically wild (not native) brown trout as well as other species of fish that migrate up stream to spawn such as suckers, could easily bypass that low obstruction. However, dams such as the one you defended on the Jordan creek DO in fact prevent fish from moving up stream to access spawning habitat and DO degrade thermal water quality by allowing te water above the dam to warm more than it would naturally. Trout migrate upstream To spawn, in almost every scenario dams prevent that. In some cases the water below a dam may not possess sufficient spawning substrate, this as well as isolating a gene pool which is further polluted by stocked fish, has a detrimental effect to the overall value and quality of the fish. Almost as bad as the dams are the lack of riparian buffers and tree canopy over streams, specifically stretchs of streams that are often flooded with geese, ultimately attracted by the slow moving water created by the dams. The one in the photo however is minimal. More concerning dams that have negative effects beyond migration of fish species including andromonous fish like shad, are the dams on the Lehigh that prevent safe recreational use such as canoing and kayaking, as well as exacerbating floods.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:41, the problem with you and the wildlands conservancy is generalizations and hypocrisy. although everyone admits that the small dam above has no negative consequence for the environment, the wildlands still wants to demolish it and none of you would actively defend it, you don't even sign your names. in the case of wehr's dam, the wildlands and their minions omitted the fact that the jordan in that area is a "disappearing creek," which is the main barrier to fish migration. secondly, the dam minimizes the "disappearing" quality. also omitted is that the jordan is not a cold water creek, natural to trout. as for the dams in easton, they have great historical and tourist value, which trumps your kayak. maybe you and the wildlands should move on to hoover dam.

Anonymous said...

A free lower Lehigh would increase tourist activity ten fold. Do you think people actually drive to Easton to see the dam? Especially the off the path Chain dam? They don't. The dams serve minimal purpose and exacerbate flooding by having the river levels artificially high. Shad returning to the Lehigh and the angler traffic associated with it would be a 10 fold boom to tourist dollars, as opposed to people who look at a dam for 10 seconds.

As for the Jordan, it is a chicken or egg dilemma, I completely agree that it is the lowest of priorites in terms of improving trout habitat, dams on the little Lehigh and bushkill should take much higher priority. Thermal stresses and a lack of a riparian buffer do a lot to prevent wild trout from taking or expanding a foothold. Despite the fact that they are far less interesting, other fish inhabit such waters, and access to spawning substrate and the ability to move about the stream are important to them as well.

Arguing that the chain dam or the dam at the confluence are required to preserve history is silly. The canal, the mostly drained mosquito haven that it is, could stand alone like much of the Delaware canal, with a pumping station. 90 percent of the time it is not even full of water. Patrons utilize the towpath to look at the scenic river, not the puddles in the trench to their left or right.

Historically the Lehigh was unencumbered. The PFBC has conducted numerous and exhaustive biological studies on the dams and have concluded the same, they should be removed.

You're correct that the dam in question on the Jordan should be a low priority for them, and that the dam photographed should be a non issue, however as far as dams in general, and the dams on the lower Lehigh, we couldn't disagree more.

Anonymous said...


(Hopefully this link works)

Please see the link below, which directs you to an Act 167 watershed plan for the Jordan Creek, drafted sometime in 1992. Specifically see page 17, paragraph 4 I believe, which discusses the Jordan Creeks coldwater protection status.


michael molovinsky said...

anonymous apologist for the wild lands, i believe that the PFBC may be part of pennsylvania's problems, not it's solutions. any state commissions which are willing to give the Wildlands almost a quarter million dollars for a "study", and publicly states that "no dams" have a place in pennsylvania, needs investigating.

Anonymous said...

Hardly a wildlands apologist. You'd be surprised.

PFBC does lots of great work and has vastly improved the coldwater fishing opportunities in PA, though they still have a long way to go.

Your "belief" is noted.