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The Brooklyn Bridge, a symbol of architectural excellence, spans the East River, connecting the vibrant boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Beyond its iconic presence, the construction of this masterpiece has a surprising connection to our firm. The roots of the Princeton Hydro headquarters building stretch back to the late 1800s; the first occupants of the building played a pivotal role in manufacturing and supplying the sturdy steel cables that formed the bridge's suspension system, an integral part of its enduring strength. Exploring the building's rich past, we discover a remarkable link to a legendary figure, bridging our current aspirations with the legacy of a woman who left an enduring mark on history.

[caption id="attachment_13546" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Panorama of Brooklyn Bridge, with the Manhattan Bridge behind it, and the Williamsburg Bridge father back.[/caption]

The Roebling Complex

The John A. Roebling's Sons Company was a wire rope manufacturing facility in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania founded in 1841. In 1848, the company relocated to Trenton, NJ along the Delaware & Raritan Canal and built a 25-acre complex of industrial buildings and facilities for wire rope manufacturing. This included the Carpenter's Shop (Building 110), the building that is now home to the Princeton Hydro's headquarters office, which manufactured specialty wooden products for the operation. The company quickly established itself as a notable employer in the city.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="7920,14703"]

The company gained international recognition for its expertise in wire, wire rope manufacturing, and bridge building. Additionally, their products were extensively utilized in various industries, commercial sectors, and consumer goods. Over 112 years, four generations of the Roebling family successfully managed the business, a remarkable and uncommon accomplishment in the corporate world.

John A. Roebling, the company's founder, was renowned for inventing the wire rope, which revolutionized the way we build bridges. The wire rope (or steel cable) was innovative as it replaced the bulkier and weaker hemp fiber rope that was used to haul canal boats. He also developed a technique for spinning cables in place rather than constructing pre-fabricated cables that required maintenance before actually being used. This enabled him to become the world's foremost builder of suspension bridges in the 19th century, and his bridges spanned major rivers despite skeptics who believed such feats were impossible.


Building the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge construction started with an accident when the chief designer, John A. Roebling, had his foot injured by a ferry. He died of tetanus, and his son, Washington A. Roebling, who worked with his father on the Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River at Cincinnati and on the design of the Brooklyn Bridge, took over the project. Three years into construction of the longest suspension bridge in the world (at that time), Washington was incapacitated by "caisson disease." His wife, Emily Warren Roebling, took over and guided the completion of the bridge, which was one of the 19th century's most impressive architectural achievements. In honor of Women's History Month, we are spotlighting Emily Warren Roebling, whose groundbreaking contributions serve as an inspiring testament to the capabilities and achievements of women in history.

While Washington is widely credited for completing the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, it's essential to equally acknowledge Emily's significant contributions. Her remarkable leadership, engineering acumen, and tireless dedication were pivotal in navigating the complexities of the Brooklyn Bridge's construction, ensuring its successful completion and solidifying her legacy as an engineering pioneer.

In his book "The Great Bridge," historian David McCullough describes Emily's multifaceted role as both a nurse and private secretary to her husband, taking over his correspondence and record-keeping. Additionally, she actively engaged in the bridge's construction, reviewing plans, visiting the site, and interacting with contractors and bridge officials. McCullough aptly summarized her contributions, stating that she served as "his eyes, his legs, his good right arm."

However, Emily's dedicated support also led to false rumors that her husband, Washington, had lost his mental faculties. Despite these challenges, Emily successfully fought to prevent Washington's removal as chief engineer nearing the bridge's completion. Washington, in turn, acknowledged his wife's invaluable contributions to the project. He later expressed his gratitude, acknowledging her as a "strong tower" and a wise counselor who supported him during difficult times.


Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge

Emily Warren Roebling's advocacy extended beyond her work on the Brooklyn Bridge with her husband.  A pioneering figure of the early 20th century, Emily championed women's equality in education, ownership rights, legal matters, and philanthropic endeavors. She actively participated in women's clubs, contributed to the World's Columbian Exposition, and was nominated for the presidency of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her written papers addressed crucial topics such as philanthropy, settlement houses, and the importance of legal education for women. Her legacy continues to inspire, as a new generation of professional women, including lawyers and engineers, joined the suffrage movement after her demise in 1903. It is speculated that had she lived longer, she would have been a prominent leader in the women's suffrage movement. While her direct contributions remain unknown, the sight of female engineers proudly asserting their rights during rallies in academic attire would likely have brought a smile to her face. Emily's advocacy serves as a testament to the enduring power of equality, as subsequent generations of professional women carried her vision forward.


In our dynamic business landscape, we find inspiration in the tale of an extraordinary woman whose vision and tenacity shaped history. Her legacy reminds us that genuine success goes beyond material gains. It lies in the positive influence we leave on the world. Let us all strive to leave a lasting mark that echoes the timeless principles of integrity, resilience, and inclusivity.

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The Watershed Institute hosted a webinar on Enhanced Stormwater Management Ordinances, which featured two expert speakers: Princeton Hydro Senior Technical Director of Engineering Dr. Clay Emerson, PE, CFM, and The Watershed Institute Policy Director Michael Pisauro, Esq. They provided guidance on NJDEP's new stormwater ordinances, a summary of requirements, and recommendations for developing and implementing stronger ordinances.

Co-sponsored by the American Littoral Society, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, and Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the webinar was attended by officials, planning board members, municipal professionals (engineers and planners), attorneys and Environmental Commission members from all across the state.

In March 2020, NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) published revisions to the New Jersey Stormwater Management Rule (N.J.A.C. 7:8), which states that, in order to meet stormwater management performance criteria set forth by NJDEP, New Jersey municipalities are required to update their stormwater control ordinances to incorporate green infrastructure. Check out our blog detailing the updated requirements.

NJDEP periodically updates the stormwater rules and provides municipalities with a deadline to incorporate the rule changes in order to stay in compliance. In July 2023, NJDEP published the Inland Flood Protection Rule, which requires municipalities to update their stormwater control ordinances to improve water quality. The Watershed Institute’s webinar, which was part of its “Technical Friday" webinar series, not only provided participants with a clear understanding of the recent rule updates and guidance on how to implement best practices, but also provided the opportunity for everyone to get their questions answered.

To view the full webinar, click below:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROn4wtzyp4k&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

The Watershed Institute's next "Technical Friday" webinar, which is free to attend, will focus on "Stormwater Design: Myths and Misconceptions." One of the most complicated aspects of a new development application is designing the stormwater management infrastructure.  It is also one of the most complex parts of reviewing applications before New Jersey’s land use boards.  While stormwater management is a difficult and complex issue, it is vital to the health and wellbeing of New Jersey communities and residents. The state's 2023 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit puts front and center New Jersey's obligation to review the stormwater issues caused by land development.  Better design submissions will assist in reaching this goal and may speed up the process of review and approval.

On December 8 from 10 am - 12 pm, join Gabriel Mahon, PE, Bureau Chief of the Bureau of NJPDES Stormwater permitting and Water Quality Management and Dr. Clay Emerson, PhD, PE, CFM from Princeton Hydro as they examine some of the common issues they uncover in stormwater management proposals and provide guidance on incorporating best practices and submitting designs that successfully address New Jersey's stormwater management goals.

Click here to register.

The Watershed Institute, established in 1949, is a nonprofit organization located in Central New Jersey that promotes and advocates conservation and restoration of natural habitats, collects data on environmental conditions in its watersheds, and provides environmental education through numerous programs. To learn more about The Watershed Institute, click here.

At Princeton Hydro, we recognize the benefit of green infrastructure and we’ve been incorporating it into our engineering designs since before the term was regularly used in the stormwater lexicon. We are a leader in innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally sound stormwater management systems. The preparation of stormwater management plans and design of stormwater management systems for pollutant reduction is an integral part of our projects. Click here to read about an award-winning Green Infrastructure stormwater management & Floodplain Restoration project we completed on Blue Acres Property in Linden’s Tremley Point.

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The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), project partners, and elected officials broke ground on the interior cleanup of Liberty State Park in Jersey City (Phase 1A), marking a significant milestone in the history of New Jersey’s most visited state park.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, participants heard presentations from Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette, USACE New York District Commander Colonel Alex Young, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, and Assemblyman William B. Sampson IV.

[gallery link="none" ids="13801,13803,13812"]

As quoted in the press release distributed by the Murphy Administration, Commissioner LaTourette said, “Today’s groundbreaking is a critical step toward building a future at Liberty State Park that brings people and communities together to enjoy the environment we all share. Through the cleanup and restoration of nearly 235 acres, we will reckon with the industrial pollution of our past and from it, create a world-class outdoor urban environment that will be enjoyed by many future generations.” Click here to read the full press release.

A long history of industrial contamination (also called legacy pollution) has left 235 acres of Liberty State Park fenced-off and inaccessible to the public for decades. The groundbreaking ceremony marks the official start of Phase 1A of the clean up and restoration project.

Engineering conceptual design plans for Liberty State Park restoration

Princeton Hydro was contracted by USACE New York District in partnership with the NJDEP Office of Natural Resource Restoration to design a resilient coastal ecosystem within 235 acres of this highly urbanized setting that provides both ecological and social benefits. This includes the restoration of over 80 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and creation of several thousands of feet of intertidal shoreline and shallow water habitat hydrologically connected to the Upper New York Bay. When constructed, this will be one of the largest ecosystem habitat restoration projects in New Jersey.

[embed]https://youtu.be/XbzQ08o7b5Y[/embed] Following the groundbreaking, the public was invited to see and comment on renderings of Phase 1B, which includes active recreation components such as athletic fields, an amphitheater, a skate park, and a community center. [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13805,13806,13798,13804,13813,13802,13810,13809"] To learn more about this project, click here to read our recent blog post, titled "Restoring 235 Acres in NJ's Iconic Liberty State Park." [post_title] => Reclaiming Liberty State Park: A Historic Groundbreaking Event [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => reclaiming-liberty-state-park-a-historic-groundbreaking-event [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-10-24 01:39:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-10-24 01:39:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=13796 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13748 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-10-12 19:17:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-10-12 19:17:36 [post_content] =>

An extraordinary effort is underway in the Hudson River Valley—the removal of the Maiden Lane Dam. The towering 25-foot concrete structure, originally built for aesthetic purposes on a tributary to the Hudson River, has been impairing aquatic life and causing an array of negative environmental impacts since its construction in the early 1900s. Now, it is the focus of a project that promises to restore vital aquatic habitats.

Join us as we take a deeper look at the Maiden Lane Dam Removal project, an initiative that has been in the planning phase for nearly five years.


Maiden Lane Dam

Located in the Town of Cortlandt on Furnace Brook, a tributary of the Hudson River, the Maiden Lane Dam was originally built by the former owners of McAndrews Estate. Unlike many dams throughout the country constructed with the primary goals of flood control, hydroelectric power, agricultural irrigation, or navigation of boats, the Maiden Lane Dam was built for aesthetic purposes. Yet the dam's impact extended well beyond its appearance.

The Maiden Lane Dam is the very first dam that fish and aquatic species encounter on Furnance Brook while attempting to travel up the Hudson River to reach foraging habitats and ancestral spawning grounds. The antiquated, unused dam poses a variety of risks to the wildlife restricted by the dam, people who live and recreate near the dam, and the environment surrounding the dam.


The Dam Removal Project Takes Shape

McAndrews Estate, along with the dam, was abandoned in the 1960s, and subsequently, Westchester County Parks assumed control of it. Shortly afterwards, the property was condemned.

In 2021, Princeton Hydro secured a contract with Westchester County to develop and finalize the dam removal engineering plans, secure permitting, and facilitate construction bid procurement. The project work also entailed collecting and analyzing sediment samples, conducting geomorphic assessments, and completing an in-depth hydraulic and hydrologic analysis focusing on potential flooding impacts. The collaboration with key stakeholders, including NYSDEC, Westchester County, and the Town of Cortlandt, ensured the feasibility of this ambitious dam removal endeavor.

The collaboration and careful planning set the stage for the much-anticipated removal of the Maiden Lane Dam.


A Hopeful Future for Hudson River Valley

The significance of this project cannot be overstated. Beyond its historical and ecological significance, the Maiden Lane Dam removal will reconnect approximately 1.5 miles of habitat for fish and other aquatic species. It represents a promising chapter in the ongoing efforts to revitalize Hudson River Valley streams and conserve the region's diverse fish and wildlife.

As we eagerly await the completion of the Maiden Lane Dam removal, the vision of restored aquatic habitats and thriving ecosystems shines brightly on the horizon. The journey of the Maiden Lane Dam Removal project is a testament to dedication, collaboration, and the unwavering commitment to the preservation of our natural environment.


Keep the Dam Removal Conversations Flowing

Princeton Hydro team members Jake Dittes, PE and Duncan Simpson, PWS presented on Hudson Valley Dam removal during the 2023 National Stream Restoration Conference, hosted by the Resource Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration of America's precious waterways. The event, themed "Stream Restoration 2023: Finding Common Ground,” served as an inspiring backdrop for the broader narrative of stream restoration, showcasing the importance of projects like the Maiden Lane Dam removal in preserving our natural treasures.

The Maiden Lane Dam Removal is part of a larger effort, led by Riverkeeper, to restore migratory fish pathways and fisheries in the Hudson River Watershed.

Princeton Hydro has designed, permitted, and/or overseen the removal of 80+ small and large dams in the Northeast. To learn more about fish passage and dam removal efforts in the Hudson River Valley, click here. To learn more about our engineering services, click here.

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At Princeton Hydro, our Geosciences Team consists of Geotechnical Engineers and Geologists who are proficient in the behavior of earth materials and the application of soil and rock mechanics. Together, they assess the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of soil and rock to design solutions, assess risks, and solve problems for a diverse array of projects, including infrastructure, stormwater management, and coastal restoration.

Supporting Princeton Hydro’s Geosciences team is our full service, in-house materials testing laboratory that provides soils, rock, and construction materials testing. Soils intended to support structures, roadways, or other infrastructure must be evaluated by geotechnical engineers to predict their behavior under applied forces and variable moisture conditions.

Our Soils Testing Laboratory, located in Sicklerville New Jersey, is certified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and validated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Materials Testing Center (MTC) to complete a full complement of tests. The AASHTO Accreditation Program is the largest accrediting body in the construction materials industry and most widely-accepted. The USACE MTC is the only agency authorized to validate commercial laboratories to work for the USACE. All of our laboratory testing is performed in accordance with applicable American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

For this edition of our "A Day in the Life" blog series, we opened the door to our geotechnical laboratory to walk you through “a day in the life” of our Staff Engineer and Soils Testing Lab expert Marissa Ciocco, PE.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig in the dirt!


Each day looks a little different for Marissa depending on what types of samples require testing and what tests need to be performed. Our testing capabilities include grain size analysis, soil classification, moisture content, liquid and plastic limits, permeability, organic content, moisture-density relationships (Proctor), soil strength tests (UC, UU, CU, CD), and many others.

For Marissa, first on the to-do list is the task of determining the liquid limit and plastic limit of a soil sample. Collectively, alongside the shrinkage limit, these tests are referred to as the Atterberg limits. This classification test determines the water content at which fine-grained soils transition between four states: solid, semi-solid, plastic, and liquid.

Soil exhibits significant differences in strength, consistency, and behavior depending on which state the soil is in. The Atterberg limits test determines when the physical changes occur, and provides valuable insights into soil strength, permeability, settlement values, and expansion potential, all of which are incredibly important in all aspects of planning, engineering design, and implementation.

First, Marissa prepares the soil sample. The Atterberg limits test is only performed on soil material that can pass through a 0.425mm sieve (an ASTM requirement).

Watch Marissa perform elements of the D4318 test is titled "Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils."

[embed]https://youtu.be/4zFEzc2FQfE[/embed]

In the video, Marissa demonstrates the Liquid Limit test. She adds moisture to the test specimen by adding water and mixing with a spatula. She then spreads the sample into the brass bowl of the liquid limit device, uses a grooving tool and manual-crank, and (off camera) she proceeds to measure when the groove closes, which defines the soil’s liquid limit.

She also demonstrates the Plastic Limit test, which she does by rolling a small portion of the wet soil sample onto a glass plate, creating a thread of soil. In doing so, she determines the water content at which the soil thread crumbles before being completely rolled out. The plastic limit is defined at the water content where the soil thread breaks apart and cannot be re-rolled to a diameter of 3.2 mm. A soil is considered non-plastic if a thread cannot be rolled down to 3.2 mm at any level of moisture.


Next on Marissa’s to-do list is a soil compaction test referred to as a Modified Proctor test, which determines the relationship between a soil’s dry unit weight and water content. This test yields the optimal water content at which the soil sample will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density.

Marissa first prepares the soil for testing by passing it through the appropriate sieve and mixing it with the appropriate amount of water as required by the testing parameters. The soil will be compacted into a specialized cylindrical mold, but first she weighs the empty mold to create a baseline.

The next step is to compact the moist soil into the mold. Soil is added in equal layers, and each layer is compacted by dropping a rammer of specific weight and length. The compacted soil specimen is then leveled, and the mass of the mold with compacted moist soil is measured. The compacted soil specimen is then extruded from the mold and the water content is measured. This process is repeated for multiple water contents and the results are charted to determine the optimum water content and maximum dry density.

Essentially, the test determines how much of the soil material can be compacted into the same volume at the various amounts of moisture. If soil is too dry, it cannot compress tightly due to particle friction. If the soil is too wet, it cannot compress tightly due to water absorbing the compactive effort. The compaction and Modified Proctor test help to indicate the stability of the soil and the load-bearing capacity of the soil, which is incredibly important for various types of engineering and construction projects.


A big thanks to Marissa for walking us through a portion of her day!

Marissa Ciocco, PE, is a graduate of Rowan University holding a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a Bantivoglio Honors Concentration. She worked in the Construction Materials Laboratory as part of the CREATE's Fellowship program at Rowan University, and participated in clinic projects such as a green roof feasibility study, testing the effects of water quality on masonry mortar, and the sustainability of converting organic waste feedstock into liquid biocrude. Marissa is passionate about working towards creating a more sustainable environment.

Our team has provided sampling, testing, and qualification for a diverse array of projects and clients throughout the Northeast, including commercial, residential, and industrial applications. Our laboratory training, calibration, and quality control procedures ensure that testing is performed by competent, experienced personnel, like Marissa, utilizing properly calibrated equipment. And, our process ensures that the results are subjected to an exceptional quality control program.

Our Geosciences team, along with our in-house Soils Testing Laboratory, allows us to complete 100% of geotechnical site investigation, laboratory testing, analysis, engineering design, and reporting in-house. We can perform analyses for a multitude of geotechnical sub/specialized disciplines.

To read about a geotechnical investigation and soil borings analysis project we completed for the USACE New York District, click here. If you enjoyed this blog, check out another one from our “A Day in the Life” series, and stay tuned for more!

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In July 2021, a significant transformation began on Bushkill Creek in Pennsylvania. The removal of Crayola Dam, which was was officially completed on September 29, 2022, marked the start of a journey to restore this beloved waterway to its natural state.

Now, in September 2023, as we commemorate the one-year anniversary of this remarkable undertaking, we reflect on the importance of preserving high-quality, cold-water fisheries in urban environments and eagerly anticipate the continued restoration work on Bushkill Creek in the years ahead.

[caption id="attachment_13659" align="aligncenter" width="566"] September 2023: Bushkill Creek One Year After the Removal of Crayola Dam (aka Dam #4)[/caption]

The Beauty of Bushkill Creek

Bushkill Creek originates at the base of Blue Mountain in Bushkill Township and meanders for 22 miles until it joins the Delaware River. This limestone stream flows through a diverse landscape, encompassing agricultural and suburban areas, as well as the city of Easton. It is not only a vital water resource but also a sanctuary for a thriving population of wild brown trout. Designated as a "high quality, cold-water fishery," Bushkill Creek holds a special place in the hearts of anglers and the surrounding community.

A Decade of Partnership

The journey to restore Bushkill Creek evolved over a decade of collaboration between Princeton Hydro and the Wildlands Conservancy. This partnership has focused on multiple dam removal projects in the Lehigh River Valley, each aimed at reestablishing aquatic habitats, enhancing recreational opportunities, and revitalizing economically stressed urban communities.

In particular, Princeton Hydro took the lead in designing and permitting the removal of eight consecutive barriers on Jordan Creek and two low-head dams on Little Lehigh Creek. These projects resulted in the reconnection of miles of river, an improvement in aquatic habitats, and enhanced recreational fishing opportunities in Allentown, PA.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13666,14261"]

A Model for Progress

The success of these barrier removals set the stage for a more ambitious project in 2018, as Princeton Hydro joined forces with the Wildlands Conservancy to tackle four privately and publicly owned dams, including three consecutive dams on Bushkill Creek in Easton, PA. These projects became a blueprint for future dam removals throughout the Delaware and Lehigh Valley Watersheds, serving as a model for landowners and municipalities.

The combined barrier removals were part of a larger watershed-wide effort to enhance aquatic connectivity, fisheries, and wildlife habitats. These initiatives restored fish passage, reduced nonpoint source pollution, improved water quality, and reinstated groundwater recharge capacity. They also played a crucial role in stabilizing and restoring the stream's channels and banks.

A Comprehensive Approach

The successful execution of these dam removal projects was no small feat. Princeton Hydro's comprehensive approach included site investigations, field surveys, sediment analysis, hydraulic assessments, regulatory coordination, community engagement, design planning, permit applications, cost estimates, and construction oversight. RiverLogic Solutions LLC, the construction contractor selected for the Dam #4 removal, completed the project in line with design plans and permit waiver requirements.

The result was the official removal of the Crayola Dam, also known as Dam #4, marking a significant milestone in the restoration of Bushkill Creek.

Click below to watch the construction crew taking down Dam #4: [embed]https://youtu.be/2FNCNX0-qu0[/embed]   [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13663,13660"]

Looking Ahead

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Dam #4 removal, we also look ahead to the next phases of this restoration journey. The demolition and removal of Dam #1 commenced on July 7, 2023 and was completed in August. Dam #3 is scheduled for demolition and removal later this year. And, the fourth barrier, Dam #2, is scheduled for removal in the summer of 2024. Additionally, there is a fifth dam on Bushkill Creek that Wildlands Conservancy is pursuing for removal. Stay tuned for more info!

As we move forward, we are excited about the future of Bushkill Creek and the positive impact its restoration will continue to have on both the surrounding community and beyond.

[caption id="attachment_13657" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Bushkill Creek - One Year After the Removal of Dam #4 (September 2023)[/caption]  

Princeton Hydro has designed, permitted, and/or overseen the removal of 80+ small and large dams in the Northeast. For over a decade, Princeton Hydro has partnered with Wildlands Conservancy to remove dams in the Lehigh River Valley. To learn more about our fish passage and dam removal engineering services, click here. To learn more about Wildlands Conservancy, click here.

[post_title] => Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of the Crayola Dam Removal on Bushkill Creek [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => crayola-dam-one-year-later [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-17 17:44:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-17 17:44:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=13656 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13315 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-07-27 16:44:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-07-27 16:44:27 [post_content] =>

Exciting changes have unfolded at Kol Emet, a Reconstructionist Congregation in Yardley, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The campus’ exterior lands have undergone a remarkable transformation, blossoming into an enchanting and peaceful place for community member gatherings, and a wildflower meadow.

Princeton Hydro partnered with Congregation Kol Emet to design and implement the synagogue's 10-acre campus transformation. The Princeton Hydro team provided green infrastructure engineering, landscape architecture, and construction services aimed at enhancing the usability and welcoming atmosphere of the synagogue, and creating a sustainable outdoor solution in the event of future pandemics, and a place to connect with the natural environment that surrounds the property. The design provides a net positive impact by reducing flooding in the community and improves water quality by augmenting stormwater management and biodiversity throughout the property.

"Our vision surpassed mere construction of a gathering space," said Geoffrey M. Goll P.E., President of Princeton Hydro, a congregant of Kol Emet, Executive Board Member, and point person for the project. "We wanted to create a harmonious union between the synagogue campus and the surrounding preserved woodlands, cultivating a serene haven where congregants can unite, celebrate, and worship, while also enhancing the ecological functionality and biodiversity of the landscape. This was a realization of the vision of the Founders of Kol Emet and the labor and financial support of many members of the Board, past and present, and a generous donation by a longtime supporter of the community. The outdoor sanctuary was named in honor and memory of a founding member and former President, Geri Shatz, who was a staunch supporter of the Jewish community and advocate for the mission of Kol Emet. She lived the ideals of community and contribution. I am proud of the extraordinary transformation that’s been achieved."


About the Congregation of Kol Emet

The Kol Emet Reconstructionist Congregation, is a 501(c)3 religious organization, founded in 1984. While a center of worship for its members, it is much more than that. Kol Emet is a community of people who care about improving the world around them through social action and environmental protection.

The sentiment of "Tikkun Olam" is embodied by Kol Emet and the committee that spearheaded the project, working directly with the Princeton Hydro team to bring the project goals to fruition. The modern interpretation of the Hebrew phrase “Tikkun Olam,” is “action intended to repair and improve the world.” The campus restoration project brings the concept of “Tikkun Olam” to life.


About the Restoration Project

Princeton Hydro Landscape Architect Cory Speroff, PLA, ASLA, CBLP is the project’s lead designer. The project included landscape design and planting that incorporates native and sustainable trees and shrubs; significant upgrades to the existing stormwater management basin, including the conversion of low-flow channels, impervious surfaces, and turf-covered areas to native grassland and wildflower habitat; and the development of the “Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space."

Cory’s design inspiration for the Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space is modeled after the Hebrew term “etz chaim” or “Tree of Life.” In Judaism, the Tree of Life has a number of meanings, both literal and figurative. In the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life represents the connection between heaven and earth, wisdom and knowledge, and the interconnectedness of all living things. It is visually represented as a diagram that looks much like a tree with 10 nodes and 22 lines. Cory’s design for the community space uses strategically placed trees to mimic the Tree of Life and aims to promote community connection and a connection to the surrounding natural landscape.

 

The contemplative space consists of a bimah, seating to accommodate at least 80 people, and a beautiful array of native trees and flowering shrubs, including black gum, silver birch, and Virginia sweetspire.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13117,13071"]

Cory’s design for the land surrounding the contemplative space improves flood resilience; controls stormwater runoff volume and promotes groundwater recharge; boosts safety features of the campus; and enhances habitat for pollinators, native plants, and other important species. The wildflower meadow was seeded with a variety of native plants, including purple love grass, common milkweed, wild bergamot, and blue wild indigo.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13055,13081"] [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="13042,13044"]

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt like the only way to see our loved ones was to be outside, and during these backyard and front porch gatherings many people re-discovered their love for the outdoors,” said Cory. “In talking with the Committee, there was a desire to create an outdoor sanctuary where the congregation could gather and continue that re-discovery. I believe that through the careful consideration of symbolic elements and thoughtful design choices, we’ve created a space that can inspire introspection, connection, and a sense of harmony with both nature and faith.”


The Generosity that Made the Project Possible

Funding for the project came from the Congregation Kol Emet’s “Our Heart. Our Home” capital campaign, a $750,000 campaign focused on upgrading four key aspects of the synagogue: social hall, HVAC upgrades, indoor sanctuary, outside school, and the new outdoor sanctuary. The outdoor sanctuary and ecological uplift to the 10-acre campus is a primary piece of the campaign and was made possible by the generous donations of several Kol Emet members.

Stan Shatz bestowed a bounteous donation in memory of Geri Shatz, which made possible the creation of the “Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space.”

The following families also contributed to the funding of the Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space: Laurel & Kevin Bloch, Barbara & Debra Fogel and Family, Jill & David Gordon, Annie & Ryan Kubanoff and Family, and Teddi & Josh Matisoff and Family.

The Princeton Hydro team is honored to have worked with Kol Emet on this important and inspirational project.


Enjoying and Celebrating the New Space

Congregation Kol Emet came together on Sunday, June 4, 2023 for a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the outdoor sanctuary project. Here are a few photos from the joyous event:

[gallery link="none" ids="13125,13116,13130"]

Princeton Hydro is an expert in engineering, ecological restoration, and landscape architecture, and we’ve been incorporating green stormwater infrastructure and nature-based solutions into our designs for decades. Click here to read about the landscape restoration and stormwater management project we designed and implemented in Thompson Park, a 675-acre recreation area in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

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In a momentous occasion for environmental conservation, a dam removal on Bushkill Creek is underway, building upon a new era for this cherished limestone stream.

This dam removal marks another important milestone in restoring Bushkill Creek back to its natural, free-flowing state; connecting migratory fish species like alewife and American shad with upstream spawning grounds; and helping to revitalize ecologically-beneficial freshwater mussels colonies and populations of trout and other residential fish species.


Freeing Bushkill Creek One Dam at a Time

Bushkill Creek begins at the foot of Blue Mountain in Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania and flows 22 miles before its confluence with the Delaware River. The limestone stream flows through agricultural and suburban areas, as well as Easton, and supports a large wild brown trout population. It is designated as a “high quality, cold-water fishery” and treasured by anglers and the surrounding community as an important resource in an urban environment.

In 2022, Wildlands Conservancy contracted Princeton Hydro to design, permit, and oversee construction for the removal of four dams along Bushkill Creek. The Crayola Dam, also called Dam #4, was the first of the four dam removal projects to be completed.

The map below shows the location of the next three Bushkill Creek dams being removed:

[caption id="attachment_13253" align="aligncenter" width="571"] Created by Wildlands Conservancy, Contributed by Kurt Bresswein of The Star Ledger[/caption]  

The demolition and removal of Dam #1 commenced on July 7, 2023 and is scheduled for completion in August. The site labeled as Dam #3 is scheduled for demolition and removal later this year. And, the site labeled as Dam #2, is scheduled for removal in the summer of 2024.

Removing nonfunctional, outdated dams from the Bushkill and allowing the creek to return to a natural, free-flowing state will have myriad ecological benefits.


Removing the Bushkill’s First Barrier

Dam #1, the first barrier on the Bushkill, is located directly upstream from the Creek’s confluence with the Delaware River. Previous to this removal process, Dam #1 was the upstream limit for migratory fish like alewife, striped bass, and shad.

Dam #1 is owned by Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. It spans an impressive length of 90 feet, width of 14 feet, and stands 4-feet high. Having been constructed in 1793, the dam had fallen into a state of disrepair, with crumbling concrete impacting the integrity of the streambank retaining wall. Consequently, the dam and associated impoundment have had detrimental effects on the creek's ecosystem, obstructing fish passage, exacerbating local flooding, and degrading water quality. Professors and students of the College have tried for years to effectuate Bushkill Creek dam removals to improve the aquatic environment.

[caption id="attachment_13174" align="aligncenter" width="694"] View of the Bushkill Dam #1, located in the City of Easton, before the construction crew takes the first notch.[/caption]   [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13188,13187"]

By removing the dam, the project team aims to improve water quality, restore the creek back to its natural flowing state, reconnect river habitats that benefit fish and wildlife, and significantly increase biodiversity for the surrounding watershed. The project work also includes stabilizing the streambank, expanding riparian buffers, planting native trees and shrubs to filter runoff, and installing in-stream structures to restore fish habitat, which has numerous and far-reaching ecological benefits. It is important to note that the project's scope involves minimal disturbance, impacting less than one acre of land surrounding the dam.

Watch as the construction team makes the first notch in Dam #1: [embed]https://youtu.be/73Jrssb75pE[/embed] The removal of this specific dam holds profound promise, heralding a transformative era for the ecological well-being of Bushkill Creek. Signs of improvement were immediately visible as the construction team worked to notch out Dam #1: [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="13177,13171"] [caption id="attachment_13180" align="aligncenter" width="837"] This photo taken on July 12, 2023 (just 5 days after the first notch) shows great progress being made on the Bushkill Dam removal effort.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13265" align="aligncenter" width="1245"] This photo was taken on July 19, 2023, just 12 days after the first notch.[/caption]

Collaborative Efforts Yield Success

The continued effort to restore Bushkill Creek with the removal of Barrier #1, which has been 10-years in the making, serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication displayed by a diverse array of 20+ stakeholders, including Delaware River Basin Commission, Lafayette College, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Princeton Hydro.

According to the Wildlands Conservancy, the initial natural resource damage assessment funding came following a fly ash spill from the Martins Creek Power Plant in 2005. The settlement, which was reached in 2016, totaled $1.3 million, with $902,150 going to the Delaware River Basin Commission for dam removal projects and $50,000 going to the Commission to manage mussel restoration. Additional funding for the overall project came from NFWF's Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund ($2,049,200), and Northampton County's Livable Landscapes program ($100,000).


Princeton Hydro has designed, permitted, and overseen the reconstruction, repair, and removal of 80+ small and large dams in the Northeast. For over a decade, Princeton Hydro has partnered with Wildlands Conservancy to remove dams in the Lehigh River Valley. 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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Liberty State Park is located on the west bank of Upper New York Bay and is one of the most visited state parks in the nation with over 5.1 million visitors. Princeton Hydro was contracted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Office of Natural Resource Restoration (ONRR) to design a resilient coastal ecosystem within 235 acres of this highly urbanized setting that provides both ecological and social benefits. This includes the restoration of over 80 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and creation of several thousands of feet of intertidal shoreline and shallow water habitat hydrologically connected to the Upper New York Bay. When constructed, this will be one of the largest ecosystem habitat restoration projects in New Jersey.

NJDEP held an open house on May 24, 2023 at Liberty State Park announcing the next steps for the Revitalization Program. During the open house, Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette and USACE Colonel Matthew W. Luzzatto shared details of the multi-phase revitalization program for the park.

Group of people at an open house event for liberty state park ecological restoration project

The public was presented with a video that showcases detailed engineering design renderings and simulates the expected visitor experience. The video was created using renderings by Princeton Hydro's Landscape Architect Cory Speroff PLA, ASLA, CBLP and produced in-house by our Marketing & Communications Department in collaboration with NJDEP ONRR. Watch it now:

[embed]https://youtu.be/XbzQ08o7b5Y[/embed]

Once constructed, this project will expand public access, improve water quality, restore native plant communities, and improve coastal resilience for urban communities who are vulnerable to storm events. The site design includes a trail network for the park interior that will provide access to the newly established habitat zones and views of the Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline. This trail network will enhance pedestrian connectivity between the existing portion of Liberty State Park, Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, and local public transit hubs.

Engineering Design Rendering of Liberty State Park with view of the Statue of Liberty

Project partners for the interior restoration design include USACE, NJDEP ONRR, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, HDR, and Princeton Hydro.

Over the next year, NJDEP will provide the community with updates on revitalization program activities, which will include multiple points of continued public engagement and opportunities for community input to inform further design work. The initial groundbreaking is anticipated to take place in Fall 2023.


Please stay tuned to our blog for more project updates. To read more about Princeton Hydro’s robust natural resource management and restoration services, click here.

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The Horseshoe Mill Dam, built in 1827, served as the first barrier to fish passage on the Weweantic River in Wareham, Massachusetts. For over 150 years, migratory fish were unable to reach their breeding grounds upstream due to this structure. However, thanks to the efforts of the Buzzards Bay Coalition and its project partners, the dam was successfully removed between December 2019 and February 2021. As early as April 2021, migratory fish were seen swimming unimpeded from Buzzards Bay to lay their eggs in freshwater upstream. A true success story!

This blog explores the Horseshoe Mill Dam removal project and celebrates the significant milestone in the recovery of fish populations and the restoration of ecological processes in the Weweantic River.


A Brief History

The Weweantic River winds its way through the picturesque landscapes of southeastern Massachusetts, spanning a length of 17.0 miles. This land is the traditional territory of the Wampanoag/Wôpanâak tribes. Derived from the Wampanoag language, Weweantic means "crooked" or "wandering stream."

Originating from the wetlands in Carver, the river flows in a southerly direction meandering through swampy birch and maple forests in Middleborough and Rochester. Eventually, it empties into a Buzzards Bay estuary near the mouth of the Sippican River in Wareham. The river's watershed covers approximately 18,000 acres, with numerous cranberry bogs situated in its upper sections.

Although the Weweantic River historically teemed with fish, the presence of the Horseshoe Mill Dam posed an obstacle to fish passage. The dam, spanning the Weweantic River at the head-of-tide, was built in 1827 to support a metal forge mill. Although it was once part of the infrastructure that supported Wareham’s economy, it had been decommissioned and left crumbling for decades. The defunct dam restricted to tidal inundation, hindered the migration of important fish species, and impacted riverine ecological processes.


Ecological Importance of the Weweantic River

The Weweantic River is the largest tributary to Buzzards Bay and provides 20 percent of all freshwater flow into Buzzards Bay. The meeting of salinity and nutrients through the tidal flow creates a vibrant ecosystem. It supports diverse communities of wetland species and a variety of non-migratory and migratory fish species, including river herring, white perch, and American eel. It is also home to the southernmost population of rainbow smelt in the United States, marking a significant change from a century ago when rainbow smelt were found as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. In the 1960s, smelt populations were even present in the Hudson River in New York.

Further highlighting the ecological significance of the Weweantic River and its surrounding watershed are the unique tidal freshwater wetland plant communities. The wetland areas surrounding the Horseshoe Mill Dam site contained two rare wetland plants, Parker's Pipewort (Eriocaulon parkeri) and Pygmyweed (Crassula aquatica), both of which are designated as priority habitats for rare species.

[gallery columns="2" size="medium" link="none" ids="14279,14281"]

Additionally, situated along the shore of Buzzards Bay and the Weweantic River is the Cromeset Neck & Mark's Cove Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. The 47-acre wildlife sanctuary consists of three separate parcels within one mile of each other. Salt marsh comprises most of the wildlife sanctuary, and the property also contains approximately six contiguous acres of coastal woodland.


Restoration Efforts and Project Phases

The Horseshoe Mill Dam removal project involved several phases to achieve its restoration goals.

An inspection of the dam, conducted in 2009, rated its condition as unsatisfactory and noted significant concrete deterioration and erosion. The dam also included a former concrete-walled mill race that was in a state of disrepair, with collapsed walls and obstructed channels. The Buzzards Bay Coalition acquired the 10-acre Horseshoe Mill Dam property in 2012 to preserve it, provide public access, and pursue river restoration.

In 2016, the Buzzards Bay Coalition contracted Princeton Hydro to provide an Alternatives Analysis for the Weweantic River restoration project and a Fish Passage Feasibility Study for the dam. The analysis included a thorough site investigation, historical data review, sediment evaluation, hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, and ecological assessment. The five options considered in the analysis were:

  1. No action;
  2. Structural dam repair with a fish ladder;
  3. Dam lowering with a nature-like fishway;
  4. Partial dam removal with an extended riffle; or
  5. Complete dam removal.

The analysis ultimately helped the Buzzards Bay Coalition determine that a complete dam removal offered the most favorable ecological and economic outcomes.

[caption id="attachment_12821" align="aligncenter" width="789"] The removal of Horseshoe Mill Dam commences on a snowy day in December 2019.[/caption]  

Princeton Hydro, contracted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, provided site investigation, engineering design, permitting, and construction oversight services for the dam removal. With funding from the Bouchard 120 Natural Resource Damage Trustee Council and collaboration with various agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA, the dam removal commenced in December 2019 and was successfully completed in early 2021. Just months later in April 2021, for the first time in 150+ years, migratory fish were once again spotted swimming unimpeded from Buzzards Bay to lay their eggs in freshwater upstream.

Since the completion of the dam removal, Buzzards Bay Coalition Restoration Ecologist Sara da Silva Quintal has been consistently visiting the site and monitoring the positive changes taking place. Her observations include vegetation changes, signs of migratory fish spawning, and the geomorphic evolution of the landscape. She shared a series of Nearmap images that demonstrate how the landscape is positively adjusting to the barrier removal:


Celebrating Conservation Success

The completion of the Horseshoe Mill Dam removal project marks a significant achievement in the restoration of fish passage and the preservation of ecological function in the Weweantic River. Through the collaborative efforts of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, government agencies, and project partners, migratory fish can now freely swim upstream to their breeding grounds.

The restoration effort rejuvenated more than three miles of the Weweantic River and restored migratory fish passage. The dam removal enhanced riverine, wetland, and tidal habitat critical to a diverse group of aquatic, wildlife and plant species. It allowed for the natural extension of upriver habitat for two rare tidal plant species, ensuring their long-term survival. The restoration work also enhanced public access to the area by increasing walking trails and constructing canoe/kayak launches, promoting recreational opportunities, and fostering a deeper connection between people and the river.

[caption id="attachment_12824" align="aligncenter" width="710"] Photo taken on November 2022[/caption]  

In an article written by Kasey Silvia in November 2021, the Vice President for Watershed Protection at Buzzards Bay Coalition, Brendan Annett, was quoted as saying, “Removing this dam has immediately improved the natural functions of the Weweantic, undoing many years of environmental damage and it has already begun to bring the river back to life.”

The success of this project serves as a testament to the importance of collaborative conservation efforts in safeguarding and restoring our natural resources.


Princeton Hydro is a leader in dam removal in the Northeast, having designed and removed 80 dams. To view additional dam removal projects that we have completed, click here. For more information on our dam removal services, contact us here. [post_title] => Restoring Fish Passage and Ecological Function: The Horseshoe Mill Dam Removal Project [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => horseshoe-mill-dam-removal-project [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-18 03:08:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-18 03:08:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=12814 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12550 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-05-16 14:22:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-05-16 14:22:25 [post_content] =>

In the late 1920s, the U.S. government began allocating funds for road construction in U.S. national forests. This led to hundreds of thousands of culverts being built and installed across the country for the purpose of moving water quickly and efficiently underneath the roadways to prevent flooding, minimize erosion, and provide pathways for stormwater.

However, culverts have had an unintended and significant consequence: they block the migration routes of some fish and aquatic organisms.

Culverts that are undersized, improperly placed, or designed with smooth featureless surfaces can impede or totally block fish and aquatic species from passing. Culverts with extremely high velocity flows make it incredibly difficult for aquatic organisms to navigate upstream, and extremely low velocity flows make it hard for fish to pass in either direction. The high-velocity flows can erode the stream channel immediately downstream of the culvert, which can leave the culvert pipe perched. This elevation above the water channel makes it impossible for organisms to pass through. Debris can also collect in the culvert, not only blocking fish passage, but water as well.

In addition to blocking the upstream passage of fish and other aquatic species, some culverts disrupt the normal stream movements of some macroinvertebrates, which are key components of these stream ecosystems, an important food source to countless species, and play a critical role in the cycling of energy and nutrients throughout stream ecosystems. Disruptions to the movement and dispersal of stream macroinvertebrates can reduce available habitat, lead to genetic isolation of some populations, and cause extirpation of critical species. When populations splinter, it causes a reduction in genetic diversity, which can lead to the spread of more invasive species and many other ecological issues.

[caption id="attachment_12565" align="aligncenter" width="411"] Diagram created by NOAA Fisheries[/caption]  

While culverts serve an important function in road construction and flood prevention, their impact on aquatic organisms must be taken into consideration. Finding solutions that both allow for efficient water flow and enable safe aquatic migration is crucial in preserving the health of our waterways and their ecosystems.


Addressing outdated, unsafe, and obsolete culverts

A shift in the 1980s recognized the importance of redesigning road-stream crossings for several reasons, including restoring aquatic organism passage and maintaining flood resilience. Between 2008 and 2015, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) partnered with more than 200 organizations in the Legacy Roads and Trails Program to replace 1,000+ culverts across the country. The aim of the program was to upgrade culverts to emulate natural streams and to allow fish and wildlife to pass more naturally both upstream and downstream.

Replacing culverts with structures that better facilitate the movement of both water and aquatic organisms has benefits beyond restoring critical ecosystems and improving biodiversity. Ecological restoration creates jobs, stimulates outdoor recreation and local economic activity, and generates long-term economic value.

Princeton Hydro has a strong history in designing connectivity-friendly road-stream crossings and restoring/replacing outdated culverts. Our team of engineers and scientists has been directly involved with hundreds of stream and ecosystem restoration projects throughout the Northeast.

For several years, Princeton Hydro has partnered with NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP) to plan and design for aquatic connectivity through climate-ready infrastructure. Created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) at the request of the governors of New York and New Jersey, HEP develops and implements plans that protect, conserve and restore the estuary, and aquatic connectivity is a key focus area for HEP and its partners.

Most recently, HEP partnered with Princeton Hydro to address hydraulic capacity issues at priority road-stream crossings in New Jersey’s South River and Lower Raritan River watersheds. The Princeton Hydro team developed a 30% engineering plan for a priority road-stream crossing – the Birch Street crossing over the Iresick Brook in Old Bridge, NJ.


Iresick Brook Culvert Restoration

Iresick Brook is upstream from Duhernal Lake, located at the end of the free-flowing South River, which feeds into the Raritan River, and ultimately flows into Raritan Bay. Duhernal Lake is dammed at the outlet so there is little to no connectivity downstream from the Iresick Brook sub-watershed. The watershed is highly dendritic (meaning the drainage pattern follows a tree-like shape) with many small streams running through it, some of them ephemeral.

The Iresick Brook 5 (IB5) culvert, located in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey, is an undersized double culvert in poor condition with an eroding streambank. This culvert was chosen as a restoration priority primarily due its inadequate sizing (both pipes are only 3-feet in diameter). The outdated infrastructure blocks the passage of fish and other aquatic organisms, and it can only accommodate a 50-year storm event.

Once the IB5 culvert was identified as the priority site, Princeton Hydro completed a site investigation, which included a geomorphic assessment, site observations, and simplified site survey of the channel alignment, profile, and cross sections both upstream and downstream of the culvert.

At the time of the survey, flow was only a couple inches deep in the channel and incredibly slow-moving, especially in the upstream reach. Despite the low flow at the time of the survey, during storm events, the stream experiences extremely high velocities. The undersized culvert creates hydraulic constriction and subsequently a velocity barrier that prevents passage. Additionally, when the high-flow stream water is forced through the small pipes, it creates a firehose effect, which has led to the formation of a 60-foot-long scour hole at the culvert outlet. Substrate from the scour hole has been washed downstream, forming an island of large sand and small gravel.

Approximately 155 feet upstream of the culvert is a channel-spanning v-notch weir comprised of a combination of sheet pile and timber. The weir appears to be a historical stream gauge that is highly degraded and creates an artificially perched channel. The upstream channel also contains woody debris, which gets caught at the culvert, blocking water flow and organism passage.

For the design process, Princeton Hydro used the USFS Stream Simulation Design, an gold-standard ecosystem-based approach for designing and constructing road-stream crossings that provide unimpeded fish and other aquatic organism passage through the structure. The Stream Simulation, a required standard on USFS road projects, integrates fluvial geomorphology concepts and methods with engineering principles to design a road-stream crossing that contains a natural and dynamic channel through the structure so that fish and other aquatic organisms will experience no greater difficulty moving through the structure than if the crossing did not exist.

The design also incorporated utility constraints (gas line, sewer line, drinking water main, and stormwater outlet), a longitudinal profile assessment, channel capacity and slope analysis, and a simplified hydrologic & hydraulic assessment.

Ultimately, Princeton Hydro recommended that HEP replace the existing culvert with a Contech Precast O-321 culvert, or similar alternative. The proposed design increases the culvert opening area and allows for significant increases in flow capacity. This culvert replacement project has the potential to reduce local flood risk and restore aquatic organism passage to the reach of Iresick Brook.

To get a more detailed look at the IB5 culvert project and learn more about HEP and its partnership with Princeton Hydro, click below for a full presentation from Isabelle Stinnette of HEP and Jake Dittes, PE of Princeton Hydro: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-qbV9EG9Ss[/embed]

Prioritizing Culvert Restoration

Aquatic connectivity is crucial for improving healthy aquatic ecosystems and managing severe storms and flooding. Increases in rainfall due to climate change makes investing in these improvements even more of a growing priority. With so many culverts in place, it can be difficult to know which culvert restoration projects to prioritize.

We worked with HEP to create a toolkit for addressing problematic road-stream crossings. The easy-to-use matrix helps to prioritize potential projects and identify solutions for problem culverts and relative cost solutions.

The toolkit was just recently released to the public with the hope that it will be used as a template to promote the development of more resilient and environmentally-friendly infrastructure.

Click here to get more info and download.

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The Brooklyn Bridge, a symbol of architectural excellence, spans the East River, connecting the vibrant boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Beyond its iconic presence, the construction of this masterpiece has a surprising connection to our firm. The roots of the Princeton Hydro headquarters building stretch back to the late 1800s; the first occupants of the building played a pivotal role in manufacturing and supplying the sturdy steel cables that formed the bridge's suspension system, an integral part of its enduring strength. Exploring the building's rich past, we discover a remarkable link to a legendary figure, bridging our current aspirations with the legacy of a woman who left an enduring mark on history.

[caption id="attachment_13546" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Panorama of Brooklyn Bridge, with the Manhattan Bridge behind it, and the Williamsburg Bridge father back.[/caption]

The Roebling Complex

The John A. Roebling's Sons Company was a wire rope manufacturing facility in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania founded in 1841. In 1848, the company relocated to Trenton, NJ along the Delaware & Raritan Canal and built a 25-acre complex of industrial buildings and facilities for wire rope manufacturing. This included the Carpenter's Shop (Building 110), the building that is now home to the Princeton Hydro's headquarters office, which manufactured specialty wooden products for the operation. The company quickly established itself as a notable employer in the city.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="7920,14703"]

The company gained international recognition for its expertise in wire, wire rope manufacturing, and bridge building. Additionally, their products were extensively utilized in various industries, commercial sectors, and consumer goods. Over 112 years, four generations of the Roebling family successfully managed the business, a remarkable and uncommon accomplishment in the corporate world.

John A. Roebling, the company's founder, was renowned for inventing the wire rope, which revolutionized the way we build bridges. The wire rope (or steel cable) was innovative as it replaced the bulkier and weaker hemp fiber rope that was used to haul canal boats. He also developed a technique for spinning cables in place rather than constructing pre-fabricated cables that required maintenance before actually being used. This enabled him to become the world's foremost builder of suspension bridges in the 19th century, and his bridges spanned major rivers despite skeptics who believed such feats were impossible.


Building the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge construction started with an accident when the chief designer, John A. Roebling, had his foot injured by a ferry. He died of tetanus, and his son, Washington A. Roebling, who worked with his father on the Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River at Cincinnati and on the design of the Brooklyn Bridge, took over the project. Three years into construction of the longest suspension bridge in the world (at that time), Washington was incapacitated by "caisson disease." His wife, Emily Warren Roebling, took over and guided the completion of the bridge, which was one of the 19th century's most impressive architectural achievements. In honor of Women's History Month, we are spotlighting Emily Warren Roebling, whose groundbreaking contributions serve as an inspiring testament to the capabilities and achievements of women in history.

While Washington is widely credited for completing the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, it's essential to equally acknowledge Emily's significant contributions. Her remarkable leadership, engineering acumen, and tireless dedication were pivotal in navigating the complexities of the Brooklyn Bridge's construction, ensuring its successful completion and solidifying her legacy as an engineering pioneer.

In his book "The Great Bridge," historian David McCullough describes Emily's multifaceted role as both a nurse and private secretary to her husband, taking over his correspondence and record-keeping. Additionally, she actively engaged in the bridge's construction, reviewing plans, visiting the site, and interacting with contractors and bridge officials. McCullough aptly summarized her contributions, stating that she served as "his eyes, his legs, his good right arm."

However, Emily's dedicated support also led to false rumors that her husband, Washington, had lost his mental faculties. Despite these challenges, Emily successfully fought to prevent Washington's removal as chief engineer nearing the bridge's completion. Washington, in turn, acknowledged his wife's invaluable contributions to the project. He later expressed his gratitude, acknowledging her as a "strong tower" and a wise counselor who supported him during difficult times.


Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge

Emily Warren Roebling's advocacy extended beyond her work on the Brooklyn Bridge with her husband.  A pioneering figure of the early 20th century, Emily championed women's equality in education, ownership rights, legal matters, and philanthropic endeavors. She actively participated in women's clubs, contributed to the World's Columbian Exposition, and was nominated for the presidency of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her written papers addressed crucial topics such as philanthropy, settlement houses, and the importance of legal education for women. Her legacy continues to inspire, as a new generation of professional women, including lawyers and engineers, joined the suffrage movement after her demise in 1903. It is speculated that had she lived longer, she would have been a prominent leader in the women's suffrage movement. While her direct contributions remain unknown, the sight of female engineers proudly asserting their rights during rallies in academic attire would likely have brought a smile to her face. Emily's advocacy serves as a testament to the enduring power of equality, as subsequent generations of professional women carried her vision forward.


In our dynamic business landscape, we find inspiration in the tale of an extraordinary woman whose vision and tenacity shaped history. Her legacy reminds us that genuine success goes beyond material gains. It lies in the positive influence we leave on the world. Let us all strive to leave a lasting mark that echoes the timeless principles of integrity, resilience, and inclusivity.

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