Thursday, September 29, 2011

09.29.11 Up to Ausable Forks for more post Irene work...lots of river work going on too

A most interesting trip up to Auable Forks this time. I watched as the true changes made by tropical storm Irene continue to show themselves, and found new changes made by machine and man.

Well, let me state the facts. One, I am a fly fisherman, guide, and Trout Unlimited member, a chairman of a stream restoration project in New Jersey, and a supporter for causes about the environment and life itself. Two, I own a home near the Jersey Shore and two homes in Ausable Forks right on the West Branch of the Ausable. I'll stick to my Ausable Forks facts. Every year the town sweats as ice dams form and flood the town. They also sweat if we get a heavy runoff coupled with heavy rains- like happened this past spring. They also worry if a tropical storm comes through and pours water down the mountains where it collects into the bigger rivers and then floods towns, houses, ect. Those are things I've learned since buying in the Forks in 2004. I've also learned how nice it is to be so close to the river.
     I  know that many people say, "Why would you buy a house on the beach or on a river, one day, the floods will come?" They are correct too. I had 5 feet of water in the basement in the spring, and 7 feet after Irene, but this time part of the foundation was washed downriver.

     In the past few weeks I've seen all types of repairs to the riverbanks, roads, homes and businesses around town. Everyone is trying to do the right thing. I know a lot of people are doing the best they can with what they can. With regards to the town and the river, balance is always best. The idea would be to balance the needs of the townspeople while protecting the habitat for the insect and trout life in the river. After Irene the APA (Adirondack Protection Agency) lifted the need for permits to do post storm work. Some would say that is fine for what happened and what could happen in the future, others would say it gives a green light for owners, towns, government to go and do whatever they want in the rivers.
     Well, there's a lot of work going on along the banks of streams and rivers in the Nroth Country and the Ausable and it's branches are included. After shooting some pictures and video I stopped by to see Town of Black Brook Supervisor Rick Nolan. He has been fielding phone calls from people on both sides and I could see how concerned he was for everyone involved. The town had a excavator and dump trucks working this side of the river and Jay had a crew working there's. What was told to me was that so many rocks had been carried and put down on either side of an island below Junction Pool. The rocks are round river rocks and they don't hold onto each other nor smaller stones and sediment. The idea is to remove the smooth rocks, replace the banks with shot rock, or rock that is irregularly shaped, and fill in one side of the island, the Jay side.
     I am working with the USFWS and a stream restoration expert from Montana on a 1/2 mile stretch of a 4 feet wide nothing of a stream in New Jersey for my Trout Unlimited chapter. There are surveys, studies, calculations, forecasts, and discussions and re-evaluations that need to happen at each step. It's a check-double check-triple check system that has to be in place or all the work will be for naught.

I hope someone is checking that list in the Forks. Late winter and spring is just around the corner up there.