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At Princeton Hydro, we are committed to improving our communities, quality of life, and ecosystems for the better. Our passion and commitment to the integration of innovative science and engineering drive us to exceed on behalf of every client.

Today, we are proud to announce the addition of a new Senior Project Manager for Engineering Services:

Sean Walsh, P.E.

Prior to joining Princeton Hydro, Sean worked on a wide variety of civil and wastewater engineering projects including site improvement projects for multiple public schools to improve pedestrian and traffic safety and ADA compliance, development and maintenance of an asset management of a drinking water utility, several site development projects of existing schools for building additions and site improvements, construction observation and administration of the emergency restoration of a 80M GPD wastewater pump station devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and design and construction installation of recreation facilities such as basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, synthetic turf fields and running tracks.

Sean has a B.S. in Bioresource Engineering and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University.  His Masters' thesis focused on modeling the impact of sediment accumulation has on the hydraulic conductivity of porous concrete. Sean has been a licesned Professional Engineer since 2011.

In his free time, Sean enjoys spending time with his family and friends and playing pick-up basketball.

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According to American Rivers, “more than 90,000 dams in the country are no longer serving the purpose that they were built to provide decades or centuries ago.” As these dams age and decay, they can become public safety hazards, presenting a failure risk and flooding danger. Dams can also be environmental hazards, blocking the movement of fish and other aquatic species, inundating river habitat, impairing water quality, and altering the flow necessary to sustain river life.

Removing nonfunctional, outdated dams has myriad ecological benefits. Dam removal can improve water quality, restore a river back to its natural flowing state, reconnect river habitats that benefit fish and wildlife, and significantly increase biodiversity for the surrounding watershed.

Removing Dams in Lehigh Valley

For over a decade, Princeton Hydro has partnered with Wildlands Conservancy to remove dams in the Lehigh River Valley. Wildlands Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust in eastern Pennsylvania, works to restore degraded stream and wildlife habitat with a primary focus on Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh River watershed, which is a 1,345 square mile drainage area that eventually flows into the Delaware River.

Wildlands Conservancy contracted Princeton Hydro to design and permit the removal of two dams on the Little Lehigh Creek. Although it is referred to as the “Little Lehigh,” the 24-mile creek is the largest tributary of the Lehigh River. The dam removals restored the natural stream system, which hadn’t flowed freely in over a century.

Princeton Hydro also worked with Wildlands Conservancy to remove several barriers and three consecutive low-head dams on Jordan Creek, a tributary of the Little Lehigh Creek. Jordan Creek arises from a natural spring on Blue Mountain, and eventually joins the Little Lehigh in Allentown before flowing into the Lehigh River. It drains an area of 75.8 square miles.

[gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="12050,12053"] As part of the dam and barrier removal projects, Princeton Hydro: - Conducted dam and site investigations; - Oversaw structural, topographic, and bathymetric field surveys and base mapping; - Performed geomorphic assessments and sediment characterization to predict river response to dam removals and develop appropriate sediment management plans; - Performed hydrologic and hydraulic analysis to predict changes in river hydraulics; - Evaluated and addressed technical issues unique to each barrier; - Coordinated with regulatory agencies and entities; - Participated in community informational meetings; - Developed engineering design plans, documents, and permit application submissions; - Developed construction cost estimates for implementing the removal of the dams and streambank stabilization; and - Performed construction oversight during implementation.

Collectively, these dam and barrier removal projects on the Little Lehigh and Jordan Creek reconnected 15+ miles of river; restored fish passage; improved aquatic connectivity, fisheries, and benthic macroinvertebrate and wildlife habitats; reduced nonpoint source stormwater pollution; improved water quality; addressed vulnerable infrastructure; enhanced climate resiliency; and stabilized and restored the creeks’ channels and banks.

[gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="12043,12054"]

Upcoming Conservation Efforts

Building upon the successes of the Little Lehigh and Jordan Creek barrier removals, Princeton Hydro is again partnering with Wildlands Conservancy to remove three consecutive dams on Bushkill Creek in Easton, PA. The dam removal projects, which are slated for 2023, are part of a large-scale effort, involving a significant number of community and municipal partners, focused on restoring Bushkill Creek and the surrounding watershed.

The Bushkill Creek is a 22-mile long limestone stream that is designated as a “high quality, cold-water fishery.” It supports healthy populations of trout, and is treasured by anglers and the surrounding community as an important resource in an urban environment, spanning several boroughs and townships, eventually flowing into the Delaware River at Easton.

Environmental protection and restoration is a key goal of removing the dams. Removing these barriers will allow important migratory fish species to reach their spawning grounds once again, which has numerous and far-reaching ecological benefits. The project work also includes stabilizing the streambank, planting, and expanding riparian buffers, planting native trees and shrubs to filter runoff, and installing in-stream structures to restore fish habitat.

Stay tuned for more updates in 2023!

Princeton Hydro has designed, permitted, and overseen the reconstruction, repair, and removal of over 60 of small and large dams in the Northeast. To learn more about our fish passage and dam removal engineering services, click here. To learn more about Wildlands Conservancy, click here.

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This month, we’re celebrating the sixth anniversary of the Hughesville Dam Removal. The removal of the 18-foot-high, 150-foot-long dam not only marked a major milestone in restoring the Musconetcong River, it also led to the speedy return of the American shad (Alosa sapidissima), a species that had been absent from the area for 200+ years.


Project Background

The Hughesville Dam was constructed by John L. Riegel and the Warren Manufacturing Company in the late-1800s to provide water to power the former paper mill located in Hughesville. The dam, a 12-foot-high timber crib and rock fill dam, spanned the Musconetcong River from Holland Township, Hunterdon County to Pohatcong Township, Warren County. The structure was not in compliance with NJDEP Dam Safety Standards and was creating a blockage to catadromous and local fish passage.

Musconetcong Watershed Association hired Princeton Hydro to investigate, design, permit, and oversee the decommissioning of the Hughesville Dam, and conduct related river restoration work within the Musconetcong River. The Hughesville Dam was the fifth dam on the Musconetcong River designed for removal by Princeton Hydro.

As part of the dam removal project, Princeton Hydro completed a feasibility study in 2012 and initiated designs in 2014 to decommission the spillway and restore the impoundment. To assess potential sediment impacts, vibracoring was conducted and sediment analysis and quantification of the volume of impounded material was completed. Princeton Hydro worked with the NJDEP to assess the quality of sediment and determine its ultimate disposal.

[gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="1046,11896"]

As part of the design, the 21,000 cubic yards was proposed to be hydraulically dredged to adjacent existing on-site lagoons at this now defunct paper mill plant. The pre-existing and proposed hydraulics were assessed to understand impacts to an upstream bridge and downstream flood water surfaces following removal. Geomorphic assessments and utilization of nature-based restoration techniques were utilized to design a new river channel within the former impoundment.

Following the completion of design, applications were prepared for submission to NJDEP’s Land Use Regulation Program and Dam Safety Section, as well as the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District (Warren County ceded jurisdiction to Hunterdon County). Princeton Hydro also applied for right-of-way permits to reinforce the foundation of an upstream county bridge as well as construct project access from a county road. Following the receipt of permits, Princeton Hydro assisted in the procurement of a contractor and provided construction administration services.


Bringing Down the Dam

On Thursday, Sept 8 2016, the project team made the first notches in the Dam. Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior during that time, toured the project site and held a press conference to commemorate the initial dam breach and celebrate the exciting news. Jewell called the project a “model for collaborative conservation.”

[caption id="attachment_5512" align="aligncenter" width="536"]Dam removal project partners and community members pose with Sally Jewell at the Hughesville Dam removal event on Sept. 8, 2016. Photo Credit: USFWS. Dam removal project partners and community members pose with Sally Jewell at the Hughesville Dam removal event on Sept. 8, 2016. Photo Credit: USFWS.[/caption]  

In addition to the Honorable Sally Jewell, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin, and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Colonel Michael Bliss, also participated in the press conference to discuss the importance of the Hughesville Dam removal and dam removal in general.

The entire dam removal took nearly three months, but you can watch the sped-up version here:

The project was supported by many partners and funded largely by the USFWS through the Department of the Interior (DOI) under the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.


Conservation Success

The removal of the obsolete Hughesville Dam marked another major milestone of restoring the Musconetcong River. The removal is part of a larger partner-based effort led by the Musconetcong Watershed Association to restore the 42-mile Musconetcong - a designated “Wild and Scenic River” – to a free-flowing state.

[caption id="attachment_11894" align="aligncenter" width="672"] Photos by Musconetcong Watershed Association[/caption]  

Removing the dam opened nearly six miles of the Musconetcong to migratory fish, such as American shad, that spend much of their lives in the ocean but return to rivers and their tributaries to spawn. The removal was completed in November 2016 and in the Spring of 2017, schools of American shad were observed above the dam, after 200+ years of absence. Shad are a benchmark species indicative of the overall ecological health and diversity of the waterway.

Other benefits of the dam removal include eliminating a public hazard due to the deteriorating nature of the dam; restoring the natural of floodplain functions and values of the area; restoring native stream substrate and habitat; and increasing river fishing and recreation opportunities.

To read more about the Musconetcong Watershed Association, click here. To read about another dam removal project along the Musconetcong River, click here. [post_title] => Celebrating the 6th Anniversary of Hughesville Dam Removal [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => celebrating-the-6th-anniversary-of-hughesville-dam-removal [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-30 23:45:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-30 23:45:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10853 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-07-12 07:31:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-07-12 07:31:48 [post_content] =>

Princeton Hydro Engineering Services Project Manager Brendon Achey earned a Professional Geologist License from the Delaware Board of Geologists. 

The primary objective of the Delaware Board of Geologists is to maintain the highest standards within the practice of geology. To meet these objectives, the Board develops standards for professional competency; promulgates rules and regulations; adjudicates complaints against professionals and, when necessary, imposes disciplinary sanctions; and issues licenses to geologists.

"Becoming a Professional Geologist has been a long-term goal of mine since I started working in the field with Princeton Hydro," said Brendon. "Obtaining the license has given me a huge sense of accomplishment. I'm no longer just the guy who says he knows a ton about soils and geology - now I've got the credentials to prove it!"

Brendon has a wealth of experience in geotechnical investigations, in-field soil sampling and testing, laboratory testing, soil classifications, site characterization, and infiltration testing. He has a Bachelor's degree in Geology and a Bachelor's in Marine Science both from Stockton University.

In order to be considered for the Delaware Board of Geologists' Professional Geologist License designation, Brendon had to meet a variety of requirements, including:
  • Receiving a degree from an accredited college or university with a major in geology; and/or completing 30 credit hours of geology or its subdisciplines, of which 24 credits are third- or fourth-year courses or graduate courses;

  • Acquiring 5 years of experience in geologic work satisfactory to the Board and as defined in its rules and regulations; and

  • Achieving the passing score on all parts of the written, standardized examination administered by the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG), or its successor.

Having joined the Princeton Hydro team in 2011, Brendon's responsibilities include: project management, preparation and quality control of technical deliverables, geotechnical investigations and analysis, groundwater hydrology, soil sampling plan design, and site characterization. He also manages the Princeton Hydro Geosciences & Soils Lab, which is a full-service AASHTO-accredited and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-validated laboratory in the Sicklerville, NJ office.

The geotechnical soils and rock testing lab allows our team to complete 100% of geotechnical investigation planning and oversight, laboratory testing, analysis, design, and reporting in-house. In addition to managing the daily lab operations, Brendon is responsible for maintaining the lab's accreditation according to the most recent AASHTO quality standards, scheduling and performing/overseeing lab testing with the AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory, technician training and evaluation, internal audits, records retention, calibrating and maintaining all laboratory equipment, and providing detailed results and reports to clients.

In addition to his new Professional Geologist License, Brendon holds a number of certifications, including: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Soil Density and Moisture Content Gauge Operator and OSHA 40-Hour Health and Safety Training for Hazardous Waste Operations (HAZWOPER).

To read about one of the projects Brendon worked on in his role as Geotechnical Soil Laboratory Project Manager, click below:

Big congratulations to Brendon for his latest accomplishment! 

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Princeton Hydro is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Roy Messaros, PE, PWS, CFM as its Director of Engineering.

Roy brings to Princeton Hydro 18 years of project experience and a great passion for water resources, H&H, wetlands for water quality improvement, limnology, and all things relating to ecosystem resilience.

"I am thrilled to welcome Roy to the Princeton Hydro team,” said Princeton Hydro President Geoffrey Goll, P.E. “I am confident his expertise, his innovative mindset, his passion for environmental education, and his alignment with our firm’s core values together make him very well-suited to guide our engineering team and help us achieve our full potential.”

Roy's professional experience includes H&H modeling, design, and construction for flood risk management, FEMA inundation mapping and certification, coastal storm surge protection, and wetland restoration/mitigation projects. Beneficial reuse of dredge material for tidal marsh restoration efforts has also been part of his wetland restoration experience. Other project experience includes design of erosion control measures, stream bank restoration, levee inspections, and modeling hydraulic structure failure mods.

He is most passionate about helping to educate and build a stronger, more resilient world for tomorrow. For over 15 years, Roy has also served as adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology and seven years at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, instructing graduate-level courses in water resources and civil engineering. He is passionate about sharing knowledge with and educating the next generation of water resource/civil engineers and wetland scientists.

As a Professional Wetland Scientist, Roy volunteers his time to the Society of Wetland Scientists’ education and outreach efforts (Webinar Committee and Wetlands of Distinction initiatives). He has great pleasure using the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, NJ, as a laboratory for studying/teaching hydrology, hydraulics, and wetland science. Other volunteer efforts include FIRST LEGO League, which helps educate youth through STEM.

Roy earned his PhD in Civil and Coastal Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. He also has a master's degree in biology and aquatic ecology, and a bachelor's degree in biology with a chemistry minor.

Outside of work, Roy's hobbies include physical fitness and following the stock market.

To learn more about the Princeton Hydro team, click here.

[post_title] => Announcing Dr. Roy Messaros as Director of Engineering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-new-director-of-engineering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-07-06 18:01:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-07-06 18:01:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11039 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-06-28 09:51:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-06-28 09:51:34 [post_content] => Earlier this month, we announced the hiring of our new Director of Engineering Dr. Roy Messaros, PE, PWS, CFM. Today, we are proud to welcome three more engineers to our team.

James Holyoke, EIT, Staff Engineer

James holds an M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware, from which he graduated with honors and distinction.

As both an undergraduate and a graduate student, he participated in a number of research projects, where he developed a ardor for improving the environment. He was most passionate about two projects: one focused on tracking oil after marine spills, and another about the fate of environmental contaminants, specifically those found in buoyant plumes.

Outside of work, James enjoys exercising, hiking and running. He is also an avid fisherman and sports enthusiast.

Cole Pragides, EIT, Staff Engineer

Cole received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering with a specialization in Applied Ecology from the University of Colorado Boulder. He was part of the Livneh Post-Wildfire Hydrology research group that measured chemical constituents in runoff following simulated burnings and storm events in Colorado’s Front Range.

Cole has also had professional experience in Regenerative Agriculture, Permaculture, and Horticulture. He firmly believes that increasing the crossover between engineering, environmental science, and ecology will promote a more sustainable world.

Michael Torino, PE, Geotechnical Engineer

Michael is a New York State licensed Professional Engineer with over eight years of experience in geotechnical engineering. He has a M.S. and B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University. Prior to joining Princeton Hydro, Michael worked in New York City inspecting and designing building foundations.

Michael is excited to be a part of the Princeton Hydro team and use his knowledge and experience to have a positive impact.

To learn more about the Princeton Hydro staff or if you're interested in joining the team, click here.

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Rutgers University held a symposium focused on Improving Urban Environments. The one-day event, presented by Rutgers University’s School of Engineering and its School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, brought together government, industry, community and academic thought leaders for a high-level exchange of ideas.

The symposium included keynote addresses given by Jane Cohen, Executive Director of the NJ Governor’s Office of Climate Change & the Green Economy, and Kandyce Perry, Director of the NJDEP Office of Environmental Justice, as well as a variety of presentations and panel discussions centered around ensuring healthier and more resilient communities through technological innovation and inclusive partnerships. Presentation topics included, “Furthering Environmental Justice in New Jersey;” “Brownfields in Urban Settings;” and “Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities.”

Princeton Hydro President Geoffrey Goll, PE was recently appointed to the Rutgers University School of Engineering Industry Advisory Board. As a result of his new role, he was invited to participate as a panelist in the discussion titled, “The Role of Engineering Innovations and Government-Industry-Academe-Community Collaboration in Meeting Urban Environments Challenges.”
Photo by Denisa Moss-Heitlager.

The panel discussion also included:

  • Katrina Angarone, Associate Commissioner for Science and Policy, NJDEP
  • Christopher Obropta, Extension Specialist, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers
  • Nicole Miller, Co-Chair, Newark DIG
  • Carolina Ramos, Senior Energy Analyst, The Cadmus Group
  • Marc Tuozzolo, Acting Senior Director of Capital Planning, NJ Transit
  • Hao Wang, Associate Professor,Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rutgers

Geoff has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University (Class of 1990) and a Master of Engineering Management degree from UW–Madison.  With his primary expertise being in water resources engineering and his background in geotechnical engineering, he works in many areas of water resources, including sediment management, stream and river restoration, stormwater management and green infrastructure, freshwater wetland/coastal marsh design, dam design, and dam removal.

If you're interested in reading more about urban environment restoration, we invite you to read our blog about the South River Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Resiliency Enhancement Project. In 2018, Princeton Hydro and Rutgers University, along with the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Middlesex County, Borough of Sayreville, Borough of South River, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Raritan Riverkeeper, and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, secured funding from NFWF’s National Coastal Resilience Fund for the project, which aims to:
  • Reduce socioeconomic damages to the Boroughs of South River and Sayreville caused by storm damage, flooding, and sea level rise;
  • Transform degraded wetlands to high-quality marsh that can reduce flooding and enhance fish & wildlife habitat; and
  • Engage stakeholders in activities about coastal resilience and ecological health to maximize public outreach in the Raritan River Watershed.
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River herring are diadromous fish, which means they migrate between fresh and salt water. On Long Island in Nassau, New York, they migrate between Mill Pond Creek and the ocean, using Bellmore Creek as a highway. The river herring live much of their adult life in the ocean and travel to the freshwaters of Mill Pond Creek in order to spawn.

There is a dam located at the point where Bellmore Creek meets Mill Pond. When the water level isn’t high enough, the river herring can be blocked from swimming upstream to reach their spawning habitat. This not only has negative implications for river herring species, it also negatively impacts the entire ecosystem. The herring are a vital food source for countless other fish, birds and animals, and play a critical role in transferring marine derived nutrients into surrounding estuarine, freshwater and upland habitats.

River Herring have been documented at the base of the dam at Mill Pond for the past several migration seasons. Bellmore Creek is one of only two-dozen streams on Long Island where remnant runs of this ecologically valuable, diadromous fish still exist.

In 2018, Seatuck Environmental Association, a nonprofit dedicated to wildlife conservation on Long Island, was awarded the NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources Grant for Tributary Restoration and Resiliency to design a fish passage at the dam intersecting Mill Pond and Bellmore Creek. Seatuck contracted Princeton Hydro to design the fish passage options.

The project goals not only include increasing river herring spawning habitat, but also are focused on improving the ecological condition of Bellmore Creek, maintaining and enhancing recreational values, and improving site resiliency to climate change and sea level rise.

To provide guidance on the project, Seatuck assembled an advisory committee with representation from Nassau County (dam owner), New York State Office of Parks, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Nassau County Soil and Water District, Town of Hempstead, the South Shore Estuary Reserve, Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, South Shore Audubon, and the Bellmore Civic Association.

Princeton Hydro conducted a study to understand the feasibility of enhancing fish passage to Mill Pond. The initial site investigation, in November 2020, included sediment probing and sampling, and a thorough assessment of the existing dam, spillway, water pipes, bridges and upper reaches.  [gallery ids="10580,10579,10581"]   Based on its findings, the Princeton Hydro team developed three design options to restore fish passage:
  1. A nature-like fishway, where a channel made of boulders and concrete is constructed through the dam to mimic a natural, steep stream;
  2. A technical fishway, where a pre-fabricated metal fish ladder is placed within the spillway to allow fish to swim up and into the pond; and
  3. A full or partial dam removal, where the spillway is fully or partially removed and the pond is restored to a free-flowing stream and wetland complex.

On June 8 2021, Seatuck, Nassau County and Princeton Hydro held a virtual meeting to get the public’s input on each of the fish passage designs. Emily Hall, Conservation Policy Advocate for Seatuck, also put together an informative presentation in which she provides a synopsis of Bellmore Creek's history, describes the project goals, and discusses the community engagement process and the results of the public opinion survey. Watch it now:


Additionally, Princeton Hydro completed a site investigation including topographic survey, sediment probing and sampling, and assessment of structures to identify project opportunities and site constraints. Sediment sampling and analysis indicated no major concerns with contamination. By performing analysis of the longitudinal profile, Princeton Hydro determined that the full dam removal (option 3 listed above) was not recommended due to the potential for initiating uncontrolled channel incision below the original river grade into Mill Pond and upstream reaches.

Ultimately, the technical fish ladder (option 2 listed above) was chosen as the most appropriate solution for restoring fish passage to Mill Pond and maintaining existing recreational values. Princeton Hydro is currently developing preliminary engineering design plans for this selected alternative as part of this phase of the project.

The focus on Bellmore Creek is just one of many projects included in Seatuck’s River Revival program, which has sought to clear similarly blocked waterways across Long Island. If you’re interested in learning more about Seatuck’s conservation work and getting involved, click here.

Princeton Hydro has designed, permitted, and overseen solutions for fish passage including the installation of technical and nature-like fishways and the removal of dozens of small and large dams throughout the Northeast. To learn more about our fish passage and dam removal engineering services, click here and check out our blog:

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Princeton Hydro is dedicated to protecting our natural resources and changing our ecosystems, quality of life and communities for the better. Our team members are passionate about continuing to learn new technologies, staying ahead of regulatory changes, and expanding their knowledge.

Today, we are proud to put the spotlight on seven team members who recently achieved new professional certifications.


We are thrilled to announce that six team members earned their Professional Engineer (PE) license in four states:

  • Andrew Simko in Maryland;
  • Jake Dittes in Connecticut;
  • Ryan Wasik in Delaware, and;
  • Jake Schwartz, Robert Costello, and Stephen Duda in New Jersey.

The PE license is the engineering profession’s highest standard of competence, a significant symbol of achievement and assurance of quality. To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams, and earn a license from their state's licensure board. Then, to retain their licenses, PEs must continually maintain and improve their skills throughout their careers.

Andrew Simko, who works in our Bowie, Maryland office, has extensive experience in floodplain and stormwater management, and is proficient in hydrologic and hydraulics computer modeling and GIS. Before arriving to Princeton Hydro, Andrew worked as a water resources engineer developing FEMA flood insurance rate maps and helping to design stormwater management projects.

Jake Dittes is passionate about restoring the habitat and natural functions of aquatic systems. As a Water Resources Engineer, Jake works on hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, project design, drafting and construction management on ecological restoration projects. He is based in our New England field office. 

Jake Schwartz is a Staff Engineer with a B.S. in Civil Engineering with experience in stormwater design, site layout, construction inspection, environmental regulation, as well as water chemistry and hydraulic principles. Jake uses his knowledge and experience to design sustainable site plans for a variety of projects.

Water Resource Engineer Robert Costello uses his knowledge and experience to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients in every one of his projects. Robert received his degree from the University of Delaware, with a major in Environmental Engineering and a Minor in Civil Engineering. Robert has experience in subsurface geotechnical investigations, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of water conveyance systems, stormwater BMP design, as well as the complete design, modeling, and supervision of Green Infrastructure Systems.

Ryan Wasik is a Water Resource Engineer with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a minor in Environmental Engineering from Widener University in in Chester, PA. He has professional experience in roadway design, ADA ramp design, site grading and layout, utility design, erosion and sediment control measures, and stormwater design/inspections.

Staff Engineer Stephen Duda is a civil engineer with expertise in grading and stormwater design, drafting, permitting, soil testing and construction inspection. Prior to Princeton Hydro, he worked for a small land development firm in South Jersey, where he worked on multiple aspects of land development projects, construction management and municipal engineering. He holds an Associate degree in General Engineering and Engineering Technologies/CAD, as well as a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rowan University.


Jake Dittes also earned the New Jersey Watershed Institute Green Infrastructure (WIGI) certification. WIGI is an adapted version of the Level 1 training to landscape professionals in New Jersey who design, install, and maintain stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and conservation landscapes.

The achievement of the WIGI certification demonstrates an advanced level of professionalism and knowledge of sustainable landscaping practices for healthier watersheds. Certification is voluntary and candidates must pass a comprehensive exam that assesses an individual’s command of sustainable practices in the design, installation, and maintenance of landscapes. WIGI-certified professionals have in-depth knowledge of sustainable landscape best practices and a focus on maintenance of stormwater best management practices.

Jake recently led a webinar for The Watershed Institute about stream bank stabilization and restoration. Check it out here:


Christiana Pollack, GISP, CFM, Senior Project Manager, Ecologist and Certified Floodplain Manager, is now a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) through the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).

SER’s CERP program encourages a high professional standard for those who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring restoration projects. Only senior level practitioners who have achieved the knowledge requirements and have greater than five years of full-time experience with restoration can be certified.

Christiana has 15+ years of expertise in hydrologic modeling and ecological restoration, with a focus on freshwater and tidal habitats, living shorelines using natural and nature-based features, spatial analysis, and environmental mapping. She performs flood mitigation and wetland hydrology modeling in riverine systems, and, as a project manager, she oversees numerous ecological restoration design and geospatial projects, including vulnerability assessments and hazard mitigation planning mapping. Additionally, Christiana manages several wetland restoration projects that provide ecosystem services to mitigate flood risks, improve water quality, and strengthen storm resiliency.

CERP is designed to ensure that certified practitioners are up to date on the new and important developments in the field of ecological restoration – both from the scientific and the practical perspectives. The certification is valid for 5 years after approval, and recertification requires that CERPs earn a minimum of 50 continuing education credits within the five-year period since they were last certified.

If you’re interested in learning more the Princeton Hydro team, click here. [post_title] => Employee Spotlight: Seven Team Members Earn New Professional Certifications [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => employee-spotlight-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-03-09 14:19:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-03-09 14:19:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10290 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-02-17 19:39:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-02-17 19:39:19 [post_content] =>

The Aquetong Creek Restoration Project is situated within the former basin of Aquetong Lake, which was a 15- acre impoundment formed in 1870 by the construction of an earthen dam on Aquetong Creek. The cold-water limestone spring, which flows at a rate of about 2,000 gallons per minute at approximately 53ºf, is known to be the largest of its kind in the 5-county Philadelphia region, and one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania.

In 2015, the Township of Solebury commenced the restoration of Aquetong Spring Park, first with a dam breach followed by a large stream restoration, reforestation, and invasive species removal. In September, the park was officially reopened to the public following a ribbon cutting ceremony. The event featured a blessing from the Lenni-Lenape Turtle Clan, the original inhabitants of the land.



Prior to European settlement, the Lenni-Lenape Tribe inhabited a village close to the spring and designated the spring “Aquetong”, meaning “at the spring among the bushes." After an outbreak of smallpox, however, the tribe abandoned the village. William Penn acquired Aquetong Spring in the early 1680’s as part of his peaceful treaty with Lenni-Lenape. The park land transferred hands many times before it was owned by Aquetong Township.

The dependability of the water flow made the Aquetong Creek an ideal location for mills. As of the early 1800’s, Aquetong Spring is known to have supplied enough water to turn two grist mills regularly throughout the year, and to have concurrently powered numerous mills including a paper mill, a fulling mill, two merchant mills, four sawmills, and an oil mill.

Around 1870, the 15-acre Aquetong Lake was created by constructing a dam at the east end of the property. This provided additional power for the local mills and a recreation area for the public. A fish hatchery was constructed at the base of the spring outfall, portions of which can still be viewed today. Shad, brook trout, and terrapin turtles were raised in the hatchery, which was available for public viewing at a cost of 25 cents per person.

Then, in 1993, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission acquired the property. A few years later, with the support of Bucks County Trout Unlimited, Solebury Township began negotiating to obtain ownership of the site. Around 1996, the State performed emergency repairs on the dam; a six-foot section of the outlet structure was removed in order to take pressure off the aging barrier. This lowered the level of the lake and added about 80 feet of wetlands to the western shoreline. However, it was recognized that a complete repair of the dam could cost over $1 million and might not be the best choice for the environment.

In 2009, after almost 15 years of negotiations, Solebury Township gained control of the property, with the goal of preserving this important natural resource. It purchased the lake and surrounding properties from the state and obtained a 25-year lease. The Township’s total costs were substantially reduced because it received a large credit in exchange for its commitment to repair the dam in the future, as well as funding from the Bucks County Natural Areas Program toward the purchase.

Following the purchase, the Township engaged in a five-year process of community outreach and consultation with environmental experts in which it considered alternatives for the Aquetong Lake dam. Choices included rebuilding the dam in its then-current form, creating a smaller lake with a cold-water bypass into Aquetong Creek, or breaching the dam and restoring a free-flowing stream. Ultimately, recognizing that the lake was a thermal reservoir which introduced warm water into Aquetong Creek and eventually into the streams and river, the Township decided to breach rather than restore the dam, and return the site to its natural state.

[caption id="attachment_10303" align="aligncenter" width="832"] The Aquetong Creek restoration site is located in Solebury Township, Bucks County, PA, and encompasses the boundaries of the former Aquetong Lake. The Lake was a 15-acre impoundment formed in 1870 by the construction of an earthen dam on Aquetong Creek. The Creek flows approximately 2.5 miles from Ingham Spring to join with the Delaware River in New Hope, PA.[/caption]  


The Aquetong Restoration Project got underway in 2015, and Solebury Township breached the historic mill dam in Aquetong Spring Park to convert the former lake into a natural area with a free-flowing, cold water stream capable of supporting native brook trout.

After the dam breach, areas of active erosion were observed along the mainstem and a major tributary of Aquetong Creek. The steep, eroding banks, increased the sediment load to the Creek's sensitive aquatic habitat.

As with most dam removal projects, a degree of stewardship is necessary to enhance the establishment of desirable, beneficial vegetation. Additionally, Solebury Township wanted to control invasive species in Aquetong Spring Park and replant the project area with native species.

The Township secured funding to construct riparian buffers, implement streambank stabilization measures, establish trout habitat structures within the mainstem and its tributary, control invasive species, and implement a woodland restoration plan. The project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with an equal match from the Township. Additional grants for the project were provided by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Solebury Township contracted Princeton Hydro to design the stabilization of the stream channel and floodplains within the former impoundment, monitor the stream and wetlands before and after implementation, and obtain the permits for the restoration of the former impoundment. Princeton Hydro team members designed the restoration of the main channel and tributary to reduce channel and bank erosion while supporting the brook trout habitat.

After gathering and reviewing the existing data for the site, Princeton Hydro conducted field investigations to inform and guide the final design including surveying cross sections and performing fluvial geomorphological assessments of the existing channel. Pebble counts were performed, cross sections were analyzed, and existing hydrological data was reviewed to inform the design. Simultaneously, an invasive species control and woodland restoration plan was developed for the park.

Data collected from the site was used to develop a geomorphically-appropriate, dynamically-stable design. The proposed channel design included excavation of impounded sediment to create stable channel dimensions, the addition of gravel, cobble, and boulder substrate where original/existing channel substrates were absent or insufficient, and the installation of large wood features to create aquatic habitat and enhance stability of channel bed and banks.

The banks and riparian corridor were vegetated with native seed, shrubs and trees to ultimately create a wooded, shaded riparian buffer. The design ultimately stabilized the streambanks with features that double as trout habitat and replanted the surrounding park with native vegetation.

The project was replanted with an incredibly diverse set of native species that included:

  • herbaceous species: swamp milkweed, blue mistflower, and butterfly weed;
  • shrub species: silky dogwood, winterberry holly, and buttonbush; and
  • tree species: red maple, american hornbeam, and pin oak.
[caption id="attachment_10301" align="aligncenter" width="763"] The forested restoration area was planted with a wide variety of native tree, herbaceous and shrub species. Shown here from top left: Canada Goldenrod, New England Aster and River Birch[/caption]  


In addition to restoring the stream in the former impoundment, as a part of its Strategic Master Plan for Aquetong Spring Park, Solebury Township expanded its focus of the restoration project to include another 20 acres of forested land.

For this, Solebury developed a Woodland Restoration Plan which identified over 1,000 diseased forest trees, composed mostly of ash (Fraxinus sp.) and black walnut (Juglans nigra). It was the Township’s objective to remove the hazardous trees, re-establish a native woodland community, and establish an invasive species management program.

The trees removed as a part of this effort were repurposed for the stream restoration project and used for habitat features, stream stabilization measures, and park features (i.e. benches).

[caption id="attachment_10295" align="aligncenter" width="749"] Hazardous trees were removed and repurposed in the stream restoration construction, including the log grade control structures pictured here.[/caption]  

Princeton Hydro also provided stormwater design support for adjacent areas in Aquetong Spring Park, including multiple stormwater connections to the main tributary. After completion, Princeton Hydro provided bid assistance, developed a probable cost, drafted technical specifications, and produced a bid package to assist Aquetong Township in bringing the project to construction.

This restoration success could not have been possible without the hard work of so many dedicated project partners: Aquetong Spring Advisory Council, Bucks County Trout Unlimited, Solebury Township, Aquetong Township, Simone Collins Landscape Architects, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Lenni-Lenape Turtle Clan, and Princeton Hydro.

Princeton Hydro specializes in the planning, design, permitting, implementing, and maintenance of ecological rehabilitation projects. To learn more about our watershed restoration services, click here.  To learn about some of our award-winning restoration projects check out our blogs about the Pin Oak Forest Conservation Area freshwater wetland restoration project:

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What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is all of the rainfall or snowmelt water that is not absorbed into the ground and instead flows over land. When not managed properly, stormwater runoff causes issues like pollution in our waterways, flooding, and erosion. Stormwater runoff has been cited in multiple studies as a leading cause of water quality impairment to our local lakes and rivers. And, with increasing levels of rainfall from climate change impacts, stormwater management is an especially critical issue for communities all across the U.S.  

What is Stormwater Management?

Stormwater management focuses on reducing runoff and improving water quality through a variety of techniques. 

Traditional stormwater management methods include things like storm drains, retention ponds, and culverts. Green stormwater infrastructure uses vegetation, soil, and other natural components to manage stormwater. Green stormwater infrastructure systems mimic natural hydrology to take advantage of interception, evapotranspiration, and infiltration of stormwater runoff at its source. Examples include rain gardens, constructed wetlands, vegetated bioswales, and living shorelines.  Many stormwater systems include a combination of grey and green infrastructure management practices. 

Stormwater management treatment "trains" combine multiple stormwater management processes in order to prevent pollution and decrease stormwater flow volumes that negatively affect the receiving waterbody.

Let’s Take a Look at a Stormwater Treatment Train in Action

The Thompson Park Zoo in New Jersey

Thompson Park is a 675-acre recreation area - the largest developed park in the Middlesex County park system - with numerous attractions including playgrounds, ballfields, hiking trails, and a zoo. The zoo is an animal haven that houses over 50 geese and fowl, goats, and approximately 90 deer in a fenced enclosure. The park also features Lake Manalapan. 

Within the zoo is a 0.25-acre pond that impounds stormwater runoff from adjacent uplands and two stormwater-fed tributaries to Lake Manalapan and Manalapan Brook. There are three tributaries to the pond  with varying levels of erosion. The western tributary contains a headcut that is approximately four feet high. A headcut is created by a sudden down-cutting of the stream bottom. Similar to a miniature waterfall, a headcut slowly migrates upstream and becomes deeper as it progresses. The headcut in the Zoo tributary had destabilized the stream by eroding and incising its channel and banks. Additionally, foraging by Zoo inhabitants had removed most ground cover around the pond and associated tributaries, which also caused erosion. 

The bare soil conditions, headcut, and manure from the Zoo animals were contributing sediment, nutrient, and pathogen loading to the Zoo pond and subsequently Lake Manalapan. The Zoo pond drains to an outlet structure, a 24-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP), and subsequently to a vegetated swale via a stormwater outlet. A second outlet pipe drains stormwater runoff from an asphalt parking lot which discharges to the vegetated swale. 

The shoreline of Lake Manalapan where the vegetated swale drains into the lake was the subject of a previous restoration project during which a diverse suite of native plants was installed; however, the swale was not included in this project and a maintained lawn, which does not adequately filter stormwater runoff or provide any ecosystem services. The swale also had little access to its floodplain where vegetation can help filter non-point source (NPS) pollutants from the Zoo pond and adjacent uplands.

Implementing a Stormwater Management Treatment Train

In order to increase channel stability, decrease erosion, improve water quality and ecological function, and reduce the NPS pollutants originating from the Zoo, a stormwater management treatment train was designed and constructed. 

Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation and Office of Planning, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council (SJRC&D), Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission, Freehold Soil Conservation District, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Enviroscapes and Princeton Hydro worked together to fund,  design, permit,  and construct the following stormwater management measures: 

  • stabilizing the western tributary to Lake Manalapan and its existing headcut by constructing a rock step-pool sequence; 
  • installing BioChar filter bags within the Zoo pond to remove excess nutrients from the water column and bed sediments; 
  • daylighting a portion of the existing 24-inch RCP in order to widen the stream channel and allow for more stormwater absorption 
  • grading the vegetated swale to provide positive drainage and reduce mosquito breeding habitat; 
  • grading a floodplain bench adjacent to the swale to allow for increased water storage and absorption times and thus greater nutrient removal; 
  • installing outlet protection measures to reduce stormwater velocity and prevent scour within the swale; and 
  • replacing the manicured grass with native vegetation within transition areas to reduce erosion potential and increase biodiversity.

To see the project elements taking shape and being completed, watch our video:

The project is funded by a Water Quality Restoration 319(h) grant awarded to SJRC&D by the NJDEP for continued implementation of watershed-based measures to reduce NPS pollutant loading and compliance with a total phosphorus (TP) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established by the NJDEP for Lake Manalapan. The TMDL is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, that identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant (in this case phosphorus) that a waterbody can receive while still meeting water quality standards. 

“The South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council was pleased to participate in this project. Partnering with these various governmental agencies and private entities to implement on the ground conservation and water quality improvements aligns perfectly with our mission.  We are thrilled with the great work done at Thompson Park and look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Craig McGee, South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council District Manager

Construction of the stormwater treatment train components began in early August 2021 and was completed by the end of September 2021. 

The first step of the stormwater treatment train was to stabilize the tributary to Lake Manalapan and its associated headcut. Streambank stabilization measures included grade modifications to create a gradual stream slope and dynamically stable form with improved habitat features, including riffles and pools, with gravel and cobble substrate. On August 17, grading of the floodplain bench began, the RCP was exposed, and the team started  excavation for the lower three steps in the step-pool sequence.

On August 20, the rock grade and step-pool sequence were completed. And, fabric was installed along both sides of the rock-lined channel to increase stream-bank stability. Rock was placed within the pools to cover the edge of the fabric. We are very pleased to report that the newly restored channel held up to two large storm events during the construction process.

Bags of BioChar, a pure carbon charcoal-like substance made from organic material, were installed across the Zoo pond using an anchor and line system. The BioChar bags help to remove TP and other nutrients from the water column and bed sediments of the Zoo pond and subsequently Manalapan Brook Watershed. The team also built, planted and installed a floating wetland island, an effective green infrastructure solution that improves water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients that could fuel algae growth.

After conclusion of pipe lighting, excavation of the floodplain bench and installation of scour protection, native perennial vegetation was planted within the floodplain and swale in order to provide sediment deposition and nutrient uptake functions, as well as aquatic food web services and water temperature moderation before flows are discharged to Lake Manalapan. The plantings also enhance and create suitable avian and pollinator species habitat, and greater flora and fauna diversity.

This stormwater treatment train project improves the habitat and water quality of the Manalapan Brook Watershed by addressing NPS pollutants that originate from Thompson Park Zoo. The completed work also supports the Watershed Protection and Restoration Plan for the Manalapan Brook Watershed by reducing TSS and TP loads in compliance with the TMDL. Additionally, the project improves the overall ecosystem by stabilizing eroded streambanks, installing native and biodiverse vegetation, and reducing the quantity of pollutants entering Lake Manalapan. 

“Thompson Park Zoo is an excellent model for showcasing a successful and comprehensive approach to stormwater management and watershed restoration through a dynamic multi-stakeholder partnership. We are so proud to be a part of this project and continue to support the Manalapan Brook Watershed Protection Plan through a variety of restoration activities.”

Amy McNamara, E.I.T, Princeton Hydro Project Manager and Water Resource Engineer

At Princeton Hydro, we are experts in stormwater management; we recognize the numerous benefits of green infrastructure; and we’ve been incorporating green infrastructure into our engineering designs since before the term was regularly used in the stormwater lexicon. Click here to learn more about our stormwater management services.

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At Princeton Hydro, we are committed to improving our communities, quality of life, and ecosystems for the better. Our passion and commitment to the integration of innovative science and engineering drive us to exceed on behalf of every client.

Today, we are proud to announce the addition of a new Senior Project Manager for Engineering Services:

Sean Walsh, P.E.

Prior to joining Princeton Hydro, Sean worked on a wide variety of civil and wastewater engineering projects including site improvement projects for multiple public schools to improve pedestrian and traffic safety and ADA compliance, development and maintenance of an asset management of a drinking water utility, several site development projects of existing schools for building additions and site improvements, construction observation and administration of the emergency restoration of a 80M GPD wastewater pump station devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and design and construction installation of recreation facilities such as basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, synthetic turf fields and running tracks.

Sean has a B.S. in Bioresource Engineering and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University.  His Masters' thesis focused on modeling the impact of sediment accumulation has on the hydraulic conductivity of porous concrete. Sean has been a licesned Professional Engineer since 2011.

In his free time, Sean enjoys spending time with his family and friends and playing pick-up basketball.

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