American Rivers and NOAA Award $159,000 to Restore Rivers and Fisheries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

New interactive dam removal map available at

May 19th, 2010

<p>Serena McClain, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 ext. 3004</p>

Washington, DC – Rivers and fisheries in Pennsylvania will benefit from $159,000 in grants from American Rivers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center. Grants available through the partnership between American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program totaling $748,000 were awarded to projects in seven states to improve river health, restore fisheries, improve public safety and reduce flood risks. Projects in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will benefit the Susquehanna, Lehigh  and Musconetcong River watersheds.

American Rivers also announced the launch of a new interactive map where visitors can find information about dam removal and river restoration in their area.

“We are helping communities turn their rivers from liabilities into assets,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “By getting rid of an outdated dam and restoring a river to health, we not only improve the environment, we can improve public safety and the local economy as well.” 

“Strong community-based stewardship is the key ingredient to successful coastal habitat restoration,” said Eric Schwaab, Assistant Secretary for NOAA Fisheries. “Our partnership with American Rivers promotes local action on behalf of the habitat that sustains our nation’s fishery resources and provides long-term health and economic benefits to communities.”

Since 2001, American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program have provided financial and technical assistance for more than 125 river restoration projects benefiting fish populations and habitats in the Northeast (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI), Mid-Atlantic (NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA), Northwest (WA, OR, ID), and California. Funding is provided through the NOAA Open Rivers Initiative which seeks to enable environmental and economic renewal in local communities through the removal of stream barriers and restoration of fish that live in both marine and freshwater habitats. 

American Rivers has selected the following Mid-Atlantic restoration projects to receive grants: 

Project: Easton and Chain Dams Fish Passage Feasibility Study, Lehigh River, Delaware River Basin, both in the city of Easton, Pennsylvania
Phase: Feasibility Study
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

This project addresses the first phase of a three-phase approach to improve fish passage and enhance river habitat through the full or partial removal of the two lower dams on the Lehigh River. For over 30 years, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and partners have been attempting to restore American shad to the Lehigh River. Funding will go toward evaluating the feasibility of full dam removal or partial dam removal with a rock ramp fishway to successfully to improve fish passage to levels that will support return of a healthy American shad population to the Lehigh watershed.

Project: Heistand Sawmill Dam Removal Design, Chiques Creek (Susquehanna River tributary), Marietta, PA
Phase: Design
Amount: $54,724
Grantee: Marietta Gravity Water Company

The removal of the Heistand Sawmill Dam will restore fish passage and access to over 3.1-miles of Chiques Creek, 4.5-miles of Donegal Creek, and 4.8-miles of Little Chiques Creek. The dam removal will benefit fish including American Shad, Hickory Shad and American Eel, as well as wild trout.

Project: Finesville Dam Removal Design, Musconetcong River, Holland and Pohatcong Townships, NJ
Phase: Design
Amount: $29,000
Grantee: Musconetcong Watershed Association

Removal of the Finesville Dam will restore a section of the Wild and Scenic corridor on the Musconetcong and open almost three miles of habitat for American eel, alewife and blueback herring. The importance of river restoration and the elimination of a public safety hazard are heightened by the likelihood of increased public access to the site in the coming years. The dam is a noted drowning hazard with at least one documented fatality at the site.

American Rivers is the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores America’s rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters, with offices in Washington, DC and nationwide. Visit

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Established in 1991, the Restoration Center is the only office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) solely devoted to restoring the nation’s coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitats. The Restoration Center works with a wide array of partners to restore mangrove, salt marsh, seagrass, oyster, coral reef, kelp forest, and river habitats. Through habitat restoration, the Restoration Center contributes to the sustainability of commercial and recreational fisheries.


About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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