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Fish Study For Middlesex-Mercer County Drinking Water Sources

Submitted by Jennifer Bradshaw, city of New Brunswick:

The Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership, the New Brunswick Water Department, the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program and Princeton Hydro are currently working together to conduct a study on the feasibility of developing fish passage over two dams on the Lawrence Brook, a tributary in the Raritan River.

These dams provide an important drinking water source for the City of New Brunswick and therefore require a method of fish passage, or a way for fish to move over upstream obstructions. 

The two dams that would be affected are the Westons Mill Pond Dam and Westons Arch Dam.

Developing fish passage can bring a cascade of improvements and natural benefits to a river, such as growth in fish populations, greater biodiversity and improved food options for game fish species like striped bass. 

Fish ways over dams have been successful in other areas in the region and nationally, bringing key migratory species upstream that have lost important habitat and depend on migrating up- or down-stream to spawn.

If determined to be feasible, the installation of fish passage over these dams would provide an additional three miles of open, unobstructed habitat for migratory fish. 

If passage were provided on other blockages upstream, an additional nine miles could be added in the future, to make 12 miles in total.

This summer, the New Brunswick Water Department will be working together with its partners to complete the project, initiated by the Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership and funded by the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

 

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