Last summer the Raritan Inn section of the South Branch of the Raritan River, approximately 7/10 of a mile of trout stream, was restored by Joe Urbani of Urbani Fisheries, LLC. The project was quite an undertaking, five years in the making, but now a year later it appears to have been a great success. The restoration work was filmed by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, and he just released this great video of the project complete with a detailed narrative of entire process.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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In New Jersey you can own a steam, have it fished by bloggers and have fishing appear outstanding. Bit of a problem for most trout fisherman as access is limited to ablility to pay.
Oh well. Guess it makes for good fishing reviews.
Do you have a solution to the problem? Are you suggesting that when landowners have property that borders a river, they must allow access to the river via their property to all?
I'm not sure there is a problem. The vast majority of the over 600 miles of trout streams in NJ are not private and offer outstanding trout fishing for those willing to explore. We fish them all the time, far more than private stretches. This video is about stream restoration, of which the same thing has been done at two very public stretches of the Musconetcong River in the last year, and both of those areas are thriving. Go to www.NJTU.org and see for yourself.
I agree...many great places to fish in NJ..and there are public places to fish restoration projects..I was at one on Monday...caught some really nice rainbows, and it was FREE!!!!! Great video Tim, and excellent explanations of the restoration process....
Great Video! I wish state and local municipalities could see the long term advantages of this type of restoration and healthy rivers. I've never fished the raritan inn stretch and I don't even shop at shannons (great shop though!). I have been fishing north jersey streams since age 14 though. There are many dead zones on the musky and south branch that could really use a resoration like this. Keep up the great work! -Greg
It's Great Video , but if you knew how many times I've tried and failed to defend that TU was involved in this it would shock you . And not the normal **** stirrers . Lots of guys and good fly fisherman are very Very turned off with with this and why they no longer support TU . Local landowners making the river better is a great thing , and charging club members I have zero problem . Explaining how Average TU member benefits its a bit tougher to sell trickle down conservation while somebody's getting paid , and that same guy gets an email every 2 weeks asking for money . Leaves a bad taste in people's mouth.
Jaybird should know that exactly $0 Trout Unlimited funds were used on this project. I served as an outside, free consultant for this project. My work on the Musky includes both public and private lands. Degraded river channels don't get to choose who owns them. We restore all those we can regardless of whether they are private or public owned. Our goal is to restore trout habitat, not provide public fishing locations although that often happens through these projects. A great example is the Finesville dam on the lower Musconetcong River. It was privately owned as was the land above that dam for about 1/2 mile. Our Partnership removed that dam in November 2011. Two weeks ago, we completed the project by restoring nearly 1/2 miles of the river upstream of the old dam. The owner, working with TU, agreed to sell that land into preservation and it will be part of the Musconetcong WMA and fully open for fishing to the public.
Zero, count 'em zero TU dollars went into this project. TU was involved strictly in an advisory capacity and they did an excellent job. TU's mission statement reads "Conserving, protecting and restoring North America's cold water fisheries and their watersheds." I believe the advice they brought to the table with the Raritan Inn project helped to do just that. They've had my support for 35 years and will continue to get it.
Again that's fine , but you guys are quick to defend what was done and what it costs and that's fine , but you know how it LOOKS . Especially with how many high level local TU members fish club water . I highly doubt I'm the only person that has heard this , cause I would say trying to recruite new TU members in the Gorge itself , I've heard it from quite a few or maybe I'm just lucky. But I totally doubt that you guys haven't heard this before cause you both sang me the same line .
How it looks? It looks like a river restoration specialist on his own time helped a landowner access public funds that have been available for good conservation projects for many decades and an excellent contractor to do a restoration project that benefits more than just the members of a private fishing club. It is hard to make it look like anything else unless you really want to. Many folks find every excuse they can not to support the largest organization working for clean, cold water and the trout and salmon that live there. You have found yours and I see that all of the time. But our numbers continue to grow both in NJ and nationally.
I can understand a certain perception in the idealistic sense, when a TU representative pastes his name all over a restoration at a private club. I am all for helping the rivers and do not judge, but I can understand.
How do you feel now knowing I did this in my own time and without TU funds?
I did not have intimate relations with that river!!!
There seem two purposes for this video. First is to document the extensive planning, permitting, and detailed execution of a restoration project on a section of a river, in this case the Raritan Inn section of the South Branch in New Jersey. That this section is private land is immaterial. The same kind of things need to be done whatever the ownership. The second is, or at least I believe should be, to encourage people to identify and support restorations on other sections of South Branch and other rivers in New Jersey and other states through the main organization that supports such restorations, namely Trout Unlimited.
On the first purpose, the video succeeds magnificently. That tremendous long term effort was put into shooting and editing is quite evident. On the second purpose, the video “shoots itself in the foot”. Though well intentioned, the inclusion of the short clip of Brian Cowden early in the video with all his TU functions as subtitles does both Brian and TU a disservice. It implies that TU as an organization was involved possibly with funding on a piece of private property. Earlier commenters certainly got this impression, as did I, and got irritated. Only through clarifying comments by Brian on this blog posting did I and others learn that Brian did this as a personal concern for the South Branch as a whole and that no TU money was contributed. Those viewing the Vimeo source won’t see these comments and will be as confused/misinformed as others and I were. I’d like to see the initial section with Brian Cowden removed from this video and a section with him added at the end where he extolls the video as documenting the complicated process of restoration, reaffirms that this was privately funded on private land, and then pitches that more restorations are needed on both private and public land, and that he’ll help in both cases. Further, if on public land, where the general public will benefit, he’ll look for help from TU, just as he’s done for projects on public lands on the Musky. So members of the general public should definitely support TU for their own benefit. If this is done, the second purpose of the video will have been as wonderfully achieved as the first.
Al Gore, while I prefer to allow folks to express themselves freely, yours is only the 4th in 7 years I removed. Feel free to repost, but leave out the last line...or use your real name. MG
Fair enough, this isn't personal. Mr. Cowden - That's not the point, nobody cares whether you did it on your own time and at no cost. You have a high profile affiliation with TU and your very public involvement here gives the perception of impropriety, even if there is none. I think a more humble approach on your part would go a long way in balancing your involvement out.
To my knowledge, Brian Cowden has had a very public involvement with a number of restorations on both public and private lands over the last several years. He continues to have such very public involvements. I think he's a very helpful and committed guy. Never heard of any accusations or innuendoes of impropriety before. Why someone can claim such in the Raritan Inn restoration situation is beyond my understanding.
Let me say this I'm not diminishing what work TU does in New Jersey , that's silly and I do support TU , never said I didn't . I've been a TU member since Our host here was writing for the Ledger . If you don't think I recognize all the work that's been done on the Musky and by Brian Cowden , I totally do and how it's a massive amount , that i don't remember anything like it before say 1998 . That's said any body who gives the time and puts there heart into . Cause the fact is , it's easy to talk about it , it's different to do it , that's a much harder thing , I've got nothing but respect for those how do .its true its easy to be negative , and I can be guilty of that sometimes , no but about it
WOW Matt 19 comments......you are a celebrity....;)
I just want to add one final thing. When folks say things like "TU funds" it tells me they actually have no idea how TU works. Any project I perform during my duties as a TU employee are raised solely by me via grant writing or asking for donations from individual donors, and those funds are earmarked just for that specific project. TU does not give me funds for me to decide what to do with. I raise 100% of the funds I use for my salary, my overhead, and my projects. Zero membership dollars pay my way or for my projects.
As far as anything I've ever done "appearing improper" to paraphrase Al Gore's comment, what could I have done that could have even been construed as improper? Knowing that zero TU funds pay for a single one of my projects (with exception of when a TU chapter or state council helps fund a specific project), how could my involvement in any way be construed as improper?
Improper would be for me to use funds I raised for a Musky project on a project in another watershed. That certainly did not happen here or with any other project. TU is VERY buttoned down when it comes to our accounting principles. We have to be as we use such a large percentage of federal funds in our annual budget and have an annual audit of ourselves to ensure compliance. I have volunteered my time outside of the Musconetcong watershed and I have been volunteered by my bosses at times to work on projects outside the Musky including on the SBR, NBR, Pequest, Paulins Kill, West Brook, Cresskill Brook, the Ramapo and others . For that I offer no apologies and will continue to further TU's mission here in NJ.
Just wanted to thank you for letting us have an important discussion regarding how TU and river restoration works. I take it for granted that everyone knows what I know, and I should have learned by now that is not the case. But these types of posts are healthy in that they create dialogue and that is a good thing. I don't sweat the personal attacks. Nobody here can say anything that will make me stop restoring trout habitat!
The perception can sometimes be worse than the reality, and it should always be addressed. Glad to see the (mostly) healthy dialogue. Thx. to Matt and Brian for all you do.
There is not much I can add to this except to repeat what Jaybird said above - Brian's passion and hard work to improve stream habitat in NJ benefits all of us in the long run, even non-anglers. Thank you, Brian. We'll be sure to post the dates of future stream projects/plantings, etc., so anyone that has the time to volunteer can help out and be part of the solution.
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