The Express-Times

Aiming to take down dam

Hackettstown officials considering Seber Dam's demise.

Saturday, July 14, 2007 By LYNN OLANOFF

The town-owned dam in the Musconetcong River has been crumbling for decades. It may be helped along in its demise if town officials approve its removal.

The Musconetcong Watershed Association is working to knock down the more than 20 dams along the river and asked town officials Monday to consider removing their Seber Dam. With all the river's mills closed, the dams no longer serve a purpose and inhibit free water flow and fish passage, according to association members

. "There's tremendous environmental benefits that happen when a dam is removed," said Tim Dunne, a biologist with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. Dunne told town officials federal funding could pay up to 75 percent of the costs for the dam's removal. Other funding is likely available, association members said.

About $180,000 has been obtained to remove the Gruendyke Dam, a downstream dam owned by the Pump House restaurant, said Geoffrey Goll, the association's engineer. The association is aiming to have the Gruendyke Dam removed in August or September, which would make it the first of the Musconetcong River dams to be demolished. The group is still awaiting state approval. Hackettstown officials have said obtaining outside funding is necessary for their approval to remove the Seber Dam. They agreed Monday the dam should be taken down. The dam is in horrible shape and state officials may require the town to replace it, likely with a large and out-of-place dam, Mayor Michael Lavery said.

"The type of monstrosities you have to replace them with are cost prohibitive and you wouldn't want them there," he said. Council members reminisced Monday about their youth when the Seber Dam had diving boards on it for the town's swimming hole.

Town officials told the Musconetcong Watershed Association they want more time to think over the removal of the dam. "We need some time to discuss this among council," Lavery said. Reporter Lynn Olanoff can be reached at 908-475-8044 or by e-mail at lolanoff@express-times.com.

Musconetcong Watershed Association; P.O. Box 113; Asbury, NJ 08802
Last updated August 21, 2008