The Columbia Dam used to produce hydropower. The dam is 18 feet high and 330 feet wide. MEG McGUIRE PHOTO
The lake above the dam. Notice how the marsh grasses are growing into what environmentalists call an impoundment, stressing the non-natural creation of the lake.
MEG McGUIRE PHOTO
The busy intersections that cross at the entrance to the Columbia Wildlife Management Area — hard to imagine how peaceful it is just 50 yards down the dirt road.
MEG McGUIRE PHOTO
Looking up the Paulins Kill, from the RT. 46 bridge, you can see an angler taking advantage of the good fishing below the dam and in the background, the remains of a previous dam, long disused. MEG McGUIRE PHOTO
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Man-made lakes, loved by humans,
can harm the environment
Beavers and humans are fond of damming rivers.
Some dams are welcomed by their various owners, some less so. Some dams provide hydroelectric power. Some man-made lakes supplied ice before we had refrigeration. Some were created for housing (by beavers) and others were created (by humans) as an attraction for housing development. We do love our lakes, man-made or not, as you can see by the houses clustered near any lake's edge in communities all over the Delaware watershed.
Sometimes, though, different people can think different things about the same dam.
Take the Columbia Dam on the Paulins Kill, one of the significant tributaries of the Delaware River, flowing east to west in northern New Jersey. The dam is about a quarter mile from the Delaware and just south of the Delaware Water Gap.
Many environmentalists worry about dams' effect on the local environment, since dams will change that environment.
Political bickering could harm the fishing industry of the Upper Delaware
We might notice when the river is really low, or really high, but aside from being careful when we choose to go tubing or canoing, it doesn't make much difference, right? Wrong!
(But you already knew that!)
One of the industries that's based on the river is fishing, and the cold-water fishing in the Upper Delaware is key not just to the trout anglers that praise the area, but to the many businesses that rely on tourism to keep afloat. Though that part of the world is lovely, it doesn't have a ton of ways to make a solid living. Something to keep in mind as we enjoy the area up close, or when we enjoy the clean waters of the Delaware further away.
Anyway, that fishing relies on the cold water that comes from New York City's reservoirs. The cold water becomes vital for the fish (and the insects they feed on) as the weather warms up.
The water level is also important for the canoe and watercraft businesses.
When the argument about the Delaware's waters reached the Supreme Court back in the '50s, it divvied up the waters – allocating some big piece of the pie (can water be a pie?) to quench the thirst of New York City. But it stipulated that a certain flow had to be maintained at a point in Montague, N.J. That was because there's a little city called Philadelphia whose water needs had to be suppled from the Delaware.
"If only people realized that they were not the most important creatures living on the Earth, I think the world would be a much better place." – Rebecca Pisall
Her death started a movement. Click here to learn more.
When you click on this button, you will be leaving the Delaware Currents not-for-profit site and going to a different for-profit site, written by Meg McGuire.
Another busy day at the Balzano Terminal in Camden N.J., part of the South Jersey Port Corporation.
MEG McGUIRE Photo
Top 10 facts about the
South Jersey Port Corporation
The first in a series of Getting to Know the Ports on the Delaware.
1. SJPC, established in 1968 by NJ Statute Chapter 11A Title 12:11A, owns, operates or/and manages the Balzano Terminal, the Broadway Terminal, the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, and the Salem Marine Terminal.
2. SJPC’s Port District encompasses seven New Jersey Counties – Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland and Cape May; and all the land and waters in the Delaware River contiguous to those counties.
3. SJPC is the grantee for Foreign Trade Zone #142. Companies utilizing the FTZ 142 are significantly able to reduce costs from customs duties, taxes and tariffs; and improve global market competitiveness.
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listen to the SOUNDS of the river
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Spring in the Poconos, and the waterfalls are spectacular. This is the collection you'll see in Childs Park, Dingmans Ferry, Pa., in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. From the parking lot, it's an easy 1 1/2 mile loop, down one side of the stream and up the other. Get it while it's wet out!
VIDEO by Lee Wickiewicz
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