UPCOMING EVENTS: SPRING UPDATE FROM PRINCETON HYDRO

Throughout April and May, Princeton Hydro is participating in a variety of events focused on conserving, restoring, and protecting our precious water resources.

April 11: New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team 10th Annual Conference

Presented by the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, the 10th Annual New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team Conference is considered the most comprehensive state-wide forum on invasive species. The conference brings participants together to collaborate and address new and emerging invasive species issues from a state-wide perspective, and includes an exhibitor hall, networking opportunities and a variety of presentations and panel discussions on topics ranging from “Rare Bird Conservation” to “Foraging for Invasive Species” to “Herbicide Application Techniques.”

Princeton Hydro, a proud sponsor of the conference, will be exhibiting. We hope to see you there!

View the full conference schedule.

 

April 14: Musconetcong River Watershed Cleanup

As part of the 26th Annual Musconetcong River Cleanup on April 14th from 9 AM – 12 PM, Princeton Hydro will be leading a volunteer team at the Warren Glen Dam site. Friends and family welcome to join us!

For details, visit the Musconetcong Watershed Association’s event page.

 

April 18: The New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association Spring Conference

The New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association (NEAPWA) serves professionals in all aspects of public works and supports the people, agencies, and organizations that plan, build, maintain, and improve communities.

This year’s NEAPWA Spring Conference is being held at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, CT. The conference includes a tour of the stadium, an exhibitor hall, educational session, and technical workshops on topics, like “Water System Infrastructure Planning in Response to Drought Conditions,” “Leveraging GIS Technology with Municipal LED Street Lights,” and “Using Infiltration and Inflow to Work Smarter not Harder.”

View the full conference agenda.

 

April 26: Arbor Day Planting and Bird Walk at Exton Park

We’re celebrating Arbor Day on April 26th (one day early) with Friends of Exton Park. First, we’ll be on the lookout for spring migrants during a morning bird walk (8:30 AM – 10:30 AM). Then, we’ll show our Arbor Day spirit by planting a variety of native plants at Exton Park (11:00 AM). We hope you’ll join us!

Click here to RSVP.

 

 

May 4: New York State Federation of Lake Associations Annual Conference

The New York State Federation of Lake Associations will host its 35th Annual Conference at the Fort William Henry Conference Center in Lake George, NY.  This year’s conference, which is titled, “Protecting Our Lakes for 35 Years – Our Past, Present and Future,” will feature a diverse exhibitor hall, networking opportunities, a silent auction and a variety of educational sessions. Princeton Hydro is exhibiting and giving five presentations:

  • Nutrient Inactivation: A Pennsylvania Case Study
  • You Have Your Lake Data, Now What? Creating a Watershed Plan
  • One Watershed, Many Lakes: A Strategic Plan for the Kettle Lakes of Southern Onondaga and Northern Cortland Counties
  • Proactive Management of Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Hydrilla Control in Harveys Lake, PA

Read more.

Princeton Hydro Celebrates 20 Years of Science, Engineering, and Design

Princeton Hydro, LLC celebrates two decades of business and
unveils its new look!

Today, Princeton Hydro, LLC is proud to celebrate 20 years since its inception. Princeton Hydro has grown from a small four-person idea operating out of a living room to a 53-person qualified small business with five office locations in the Northeast region. Last year, the firm generated $7.5 million in revenue, as it continues to grow its market share and breadth of ecological and engineering services.

“We are committed to changing the world we live in for the better.  In everything we do, we strive to improve our ecosystem and our quality of life. This firm was originally built upon the ideal of creating a workplace of innovation and passion in the areas of science and engineering,” said Geoffrey Goll, Princeton Hydro’s current President and co-founder. “And, we did not do it alone; the people that were brought aboard helped grow us to what we are today, and will continue to increase our reputation of honesty, integrity, and creativity.”

Two decades ago, Mark Gallagher; Geoffrey Goll, P.E.;  Dr. Stephen Souza; and Dr. Fred Lubnow, along with several staff decided it was time to leave the corporate culture to start a new company focused on the management and restoration of water resources. All four had been employed by a small business named Coastal Environmental Services when it was bought out by the large engineering firm Post Buckley Schuh and Jernigan (PBSJ) in 1996.  None of the “fab four” really fit the “big company” mold, and so the highly regarded wetland scientist, top-notch professional engineer, and well-respected aquatic ecologists formed Princeton Hydro; a company with a mission true to their environmental roots and consistent with their moral compass.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since our humble beginning in a small office, a former dance studio lined with mirrors, above a gym in Lambertville. I am proud, yet, still somewhat amazed at how the firm evolved into a well-respected firm of over 50 employees with offices in four states,” stated Mark Gallagher, Vice President and co-founder. “All this from a few important decisions made over breakfast at a Denny’s on Route 1 in 1998 that established a vision for this company. Since that breakfast, we have had the opportunity to implement this vision and to steward the development of Princeton Hydro.”  

After moving from their home office to Lambertville, New Jersey in the same building as the original River Horse Brewing Company location, the company began to grow. At times they struggled to make ends meet, but by supporting each other and celebrating their accomplishments, the team pushed forward. Eventually, they grew so much that they moved down the road to their own office space in Ringoes, and then branched off with offices in southern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland.

The firm and its people have won dozens of awards since its founding; the most recent honor includes the 2018 “Land Ethics Award of Merit” presented by Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve to Princeton Hydro and GreenVest, LLC for their restoration work at the Mullica River Wetland Mitigation Site.

“Over the years we remained true to our goal of doing right by the environment. Princeton Hydro has grown from a humble start-up to a well-recognized and respected leader in the management and restoration of our water, wetlands and natural resources,” said former President and co-founder Dr. Stephen Souza. “Thank you to all that have supported us and have helped us grow. Here’s to another successful 20 years!”

Importantly, it is at this point in the company’s history, the firm’s future is no longer solely dependent on its four founders as its future now relies heavily on the firm’s leadership team and staff to continue the firm’s growth into its next 20 years.  The Princeton Hydro team has the skill sets necessary to conduct highly comprehensive assessments; develop and design appropriate, sustainable solutions; and successfully bring those solutions to fruition. All of our ecological investigations are backed by detailed engineering analyses, and all of our engineering solutions fully account for the ecological and environmental attributes and features of the project site.

“I can’t believe 20 years have passed since the establishment of our firm. This is an absolute testament to Princeton Hydro‘s core principle of bringing together the best, most innovative people to preserve and restore a variety of ecosystems throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatic Programs and co-founder. “It has been a pleasure to work with Steve, Mark, Geoff and all of the staff at Princeton Hydro over the last 20 years. I’m looking forward to many more!”

As part of Princeton Hydro’s 20th anniversary celebration, the firm unveiled a refreshed brand which includes a new logo, 20th anniversary logo, colors, and style. As we transition into this new look, we’ll be updating our online presence and external communications over the next few months.  This new style matches the evolution of our company since our original “pH” concept was designed in 1998.

New Video Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Wild & Scenic Rivers Act

Credit: NPS.gov

Communities across the nation are preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This landmark legislation passed by Congress in October 1968 safeguards the free-flowing character of rivers by precluding them from being dammed, while allowing the public to enjoy them. It encourages river management and promotes public participation in protecting streams.

As part of the celebration, the National Park Service released a new video highlighting a handful of ‘Wild and Scenic’ designated rivers in the Northeast – the Farmington, Sudbury, Assabet, Concord, and Musconetcong Rivers – along with the organizations and community volunteers who work together to protect and care for these rivers.

Princeton Hydro is proud to work with two of the river stewards featured in the video: Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) and Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA).

The Musconetcong River:

Designated ‘Wild and Scenic’ in 2006, the Musconetcong River is a 45.7-mile-long tributary of the Delaware River in northwestern New Jersey.

Princeton Hydro has been working with MWA in the areas of river restoration, dam removal, and engineering consulting since 2003 when the efforts to remove the Gruendyke Mill Dam in Hackettstown, NJ began. To date, Princeton Hydro has worked with MWA to remove five dams on the Musconetcong River, the most recent being the Hughesville Dam.

As noted in the video, the removal of these dams, especially the Hughesville dam, was a major milestone in restoring migratory fish passage along the Musconetcong. Only a year after the completion of the dam removal, American shad returned to the “Musky” for the first time in 250 years.

“The direction the river is moving bodes well for its recovery,” said Princeton Hydro President Geoff Goll, P.E., who was interviewed in the 50th anniversary video. “This multidisciplinary approach using ecology and engineering, paired with a dynamic stakeholder partnership, lead to a successful river restoration, where native fish populations returned within a year. ”

The Farmington River:

The Upper Farmington River, designated as ‘Wild and Scenic’ in 1994, stretches 14-miles through Connecticut starting above Riverton through the New Hardford/Canton town line. The river is important for outdoor recreation and provides critical habitat for countless wildlife.

Credit: FWRA.orgBack in 2012, Princeton Hydro worked with the FRWA and its project partners to remove the Spoonville Dam. Built in 1899 on the site of a natural 25-foot drop in the riverbed, the dam was originally a hydropower facility. The hurricanes and flood of 1955 breached the dam, opening a 45-foot gap and scattering massive dam fragments in the riverbed downstream. The remnant of the main dam persisted for decades as a 128-foot long, 25-foot high obstacle in the channel. The river poured through the breach in a steep chute that stopped American shad from proceeding further upstream to spawn.

The project was completed, from initial site investigation through engineering assessment and final design, in just six months. The dam removal helped to restore historic fish migrations in the Farmington River (including the American shad) and increase recreation opportunities.

Wild & Scenic Rivers Act:

Credit: NPS.govAs of December 2014 (the last designation), the National ‘Wild and Scenic’ System protects 12,734 miles of 208 rivers in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; this is a little more than one-quarter of 1% of the nation’s rivers. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Act and in an effort to designate many more miles of river as ‘Wild and Scenic,’ four federal agencies and four nonprofit groups are coordinating nationwide events and outreach. Managing agencies are the Bureau of Land ManagementFish and Wildlife ServiceForest Service, and National Park Service, along with American RiversAmerican WhitewaterRiver Network and River Management Society. Go here for more info: www.wildandscenicrivers50.us.

AQUATIC ORGANISM PASSAGE: A PRINCETON HYDRO BLOG SERIES

Welcome to the second installment of Princeton Hydro’s multi-part blog series about aquatic organism passage.

What you’ll learn:

  • How does promoting aquatic organism passage benefit ecosystems as a whole?
  • How can others, including people, benefit from aquatic organism passage?
  • How has Princeton Hydro supported it?

Photo by Princeton Hydro Founder Steve Souza

Fostering Ecological Balance in Food Webs

A major consequence of poorly designed culverts published in the NRCS' "Federal Stream Corridor Restoration Handbook"is the destabilization of food webs. Sufficient predators and prey must exist to maintain a balanced food web. For example, freshwater mussels (Unionidae) are a common snack among fish. A mussel’s life cycle involves using certain fish as a host for their larvae until these microscopic juveniles mature into their adult forms and drop off. During this period, the host fish will travel, effectively transporting a future food source with it.

In the presence of habitat fragmentation, the isolation of these symbiotic relationships can be devastating. Some mussel species rely on a small circle of fish species as their hosts, and conversely, some fish species rely on specific mussel species as their food. If a fish species is separated from its mussel partner, food shortages owing to a declining adult mussel population can occur.

Widespread Benefits to Flora, Fauna, and People

A shift in the 1980s recognized the importance of redesigning road-stream crossings for several reasons, including restoring aquatic organism passage and maintaining flood resiliency. Replacing culverts with larger structures that better facilitate the movement of both water and aquatic organisms benefit all species. Roads constructed over streams allow people to travel across natural landscapes while culverts that are fish-friendly convey water at a rate similar to the surrounding landscape, reducing scour in stream beds.

A man fly fishes as his dog sits by his side at Ken Lockwood Gorge, Hunterdon County. Photo from State of New Jersey website.

Fish, as well as semi-terrestrial organisms like crabs and salamanders, can take advantage of more natural stream environments and complete their migrations. Anglers appreciate healthy, plentiful fish populations nearly as much as the fish themselves. Recreation and economic growth also improve when streams regain the aquatic biological communities once lost through habitat fragmentation. According to USFWS, for every dollar spent on restoration through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Coastal Program Restoration Project, states gain $1.90 of economic activity. Stream restoration improves fish and wildlife habitat, which directly supports and enhances recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts thus resulting in increased tourism-related spending and job growth.

Aquatic Organism Passage in Action at Princeton Hydro

Princeton Hydro recently completed a project to facilitate aquatic organism passage for river herring in Red Brook in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Read all about it here!

For an introduction to aquatic organism passage, be sure to check out the first post in this multipart-series.

Sources:

“Aquatic Organism Passage through Bridges and Culverts.” Flow. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Watershed Management Division, 31 Jan. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Hoffman, R.L., Dunham, J.B., and Hansen, B.P., eds., 2012, Aquatic organism passage at road-stream crossings— Synthesis and guidelines for effectiveness monitoring: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1090, 64 p.

Jackson, S., 2003. “Design and Construction of Aquatic Organism Passage at Road-Stream Crossings: Ecological Considerations in the Design of River and Stream Crossings.” 20-29 International Conference of Ecology and Transportation, Lake Placid, New York.

Kilgore, Roger T., Bergendahl, Bart S., and Hotchkiss, Rollin H. Publication No. FHWAHIF-11-008 HEC-26. Culvert Design for Aquatic Organism Passage Hydraulic Engineering Circular Number 26. October 2010.

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Freshwater Mussels of Michigan. Michigan State University, 2005.

 

Employee Spotlight: Meet Our New Team Members

Princeton Hydro is thrilled to announce the expansion of our growing business with the addition of 10 team members who possess a wealth of experience and qualifications in a variety of fields related to water resource management.

“The addition of these professionals is attributable to the successful teaming relationships we have developed and grown with our clients, and is our commitment to investing in meeting their respective missions,” said Princeton Hydro President Geoff Goll.  “We’re proud have such talented experts in their fields join our team, who also share our ideals of creativity, ingenuity, quality, and teamwork.”

 

Meet Our New Team Members:

 

Emily Bjorhus, Environmental Scientist

Emily is an Environmental Scientist with expertise in environmental permitting and compliance, wetland and stream ecology, and stormwater management. She coordinates, leads and assists with state environmental permitting programs and NEPA compliance and documentation, including preparation of Federal and state permit applications, Endangered Species Act 7 consultations, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission environmental review processes. She also conducts a variety of environmental field investigations such as wetland and waterbody delineations.  Read more.

 

Stephen Duda, EIT, Project Engineer

Stephen is a civil engineer with expertise in grading and stormwater design, drafting, permitting, soil testing and construction inspection.  He has experience working on multiple aspects of land development projects, construction management and  municipal engineering.  He holds an an Associate degree in General Engineering and a second in Engineering Technologies/CAD, as well as a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rowan University. Read more. 

 

 

Shaun Flite, EIT, Civil Engineer

Shaun is a Civil Engineer who has provided over 5 years of consulting services to assist with planning, design, and permitting of projects involving land development, stormwater management, water & wastewater utility systems, and pollution control. He is a graduate of Penn State where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, with an emphasis in hydrology, hydraulics, and water quality/treatment. Read more.

 

 

George Fowler, PE,  Water Resource Engineer

George is a Water Resource Engineer with an expertise in natural system’s features and functions, river engineering designs and geomorphic investigations.  Well versed in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NRCS engineering manuals, he seeks to work with people who desire river engineering solutions that follow sound engineering practices, improve the aquatic environment and have low to no maintenance costs.  His designs have ranged from traditional flood protection features (earthen berms and dams) to fish habitat enhancement (engineered log jams and roughened log stream bank toes).  Read more.

 

Casey Hurt, PE, Geotechnical Project Manager

Casey is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 6 years of experience working in Geotechnical Engineering. He maintains a wide range of professional responsibilities for the firm including subsurface explorations, development of geotechnical laboratory testing programs, shallow and deep foundation analysis and design, settlement evaluation, earth retaining system design, slope stability analyses, and management of geotechnical field operations. He has extensive experience with stormwater infiltration and dam safety compliance. Read more.

 

Elizabeth Kowalsky, Assistant Coordinator

Liz earned her B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Stockton University. She has a background in working with public relations firms in the areas of technology, pharmaceuticals, outdoor products/safety and family wellness. Read more.

 

 

 

Dana Patterson, Communications Strategist

Dana is a passionate environmental communicator who brings a strong mix of diverse stakeholder engagement experience, coupled with values-based communication strategy. She specializes branding, marketing, and digital media strategy, and strives to enhance the mission and values of Princeton Hydro. She earned her Master of Environmental Management from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she focused on strategies for climate change and wildlife conservation communication.  Read more.

 

 

Natalie Rodrigues, EIT, CPESC-IT, Staff Engineer

Natalie is a staff engineer with a focus in water resources engineering. She assists with various projects that span several topics, including stormwater management, ecosystem restoration, and dam safety. Natalie is a recent graduate from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering with a focus in water resources.  Read more.

 

 

Jack Szczepanski, PhD, Senior Aquatics Scientist

Jack has a range of experience from establishing baseline assessment for fish populations to managing coastal wetland resilience projects to developing ecosystem-wide monitoring plans. Jack earned his PhD from URI by studying fish feeding ecology and trophic dynamics across marine ecosystems. He also has academic background in biomechanics, wetland and estuarine ecology, and natural resource applications of conservation biology.  Read more.

 

 

Thomas Wilkes, PE, Senior Project Manager

Tom is a Professional Civil Engineer specializing in municipal, civil, and environmental engineering consulting services primarily in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He is an accomplished and multi-talented Municipal Engineer with more than 10 years of significant experience in planning, scheduling, managing and administration of public works projects, and providing maintenance support for municipal utility systems (stormwater, sanitary, sewer, and water). Read more.

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more!

Musconetcong Watershed Association Presents Princeton Hydro President with Prestigious “Friend of the River” Award

 

Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) held a dinner to celebrate its 25th anniversary as well as the 150th anniversary of the Asbury Grist Mill, which the MWA is working to restore. The evening included a cocktail hour, a buffet dinner, silent auction, remarks by the MWA President Tish Lascelle and Executive Director Alan Hunt, and a presentation of awards.

The MWA presented Princeton Hydro PresiPhoto by Tish Lascelle, President, Musconetcong Watershed Associationdent Geoff Goll, PE with the “Friend of the River” Award. This award, which has only been given seven times in MWA’s 25 years of service, recognizes individuals who have made a significant and sustainable difference in the Watershed and helped to advance its mission. Recipients of the Award have also demonstrated outstanding leadership through their volunteer efforts or partnerships with MWA.

Geoff was honored to receive the award alongside Paul Kenney of the National Park Service and Richard C. Cotton, a Managing Partner of the Hawk Pointe Golf Club and Asbury Farms Real Estate. Paul was assigned the Musconetcong River in late 2003 and was instrumental in obtaining the Musconetcong River’s Wild and Scenic Designation in 2006. He has continued to be an excellent resource of the National Park Service.  Richard is a founding member of the MWA’s Board of Trustee’s and continues to serve on the Board. He has dedicated his professional life to striking a balance between economic growth with environmental protection.

Geoff has been working with MWA in the areas of river restoration, dam removal, and engineering consulting since 2003, when the efforts to remove the Gruendyke Mill Dam in Hackettstown, NJ began. He has since worked with the Princeton Hydro team to remove five dams on the Musconetcong River, the most recent being the Hughesville Dam

MWA is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of the Musconetcong River and its Watershed, including its natural and cultural resources. Members of the organization are part of a network of individuals, families and companies that care about the Musconetcong River and its watershed, and are dedicated to improving the watershed resources through public education and awareness programs, river water quality monitoring, promotion of sustainable land management practices and community involvement.

During the anniversary dinner, participants also got a sneak peek of a new video from the National Park Service that is set for public release in 2018. The video celebrates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, under which the Musconetcong River is protected, and explores the importance of free-flowing rivers and why Americans treasure them. Representing Princeton Hydro at the awards dinner were Vice President Mark Gallagher, his wife Jennifer, Geoff and his wife Amy, and Director of Engineering Services Mary Paist-Goldman, PE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princeton Hydro Dam Removal Work Featured at Brazilian Workshop

As Brazil is in the midst of a dam-building boom, scientists and engineers gathered at a workshop in Brazil to discuss, “Dam Removal & Optimizing Hydro Locations to Benefit Species Diversity in Brazil.”

Laura Wildman, P.E., Water Resources and Fisheries Engineer and Director of Princeton Hydro’s New England Regional Office, was invited to speak at the workshop. Her presentation focused on why we remove dams in the U.S. (the key drivers), how we analyze them for removal, and what we are learning through a wide diversity of completed case studies.

“It was fascinating to discuss a topic, such as the removal of dams, right as Brazil is focusing on building more hydro capacity,” said Laura. “Hopefully it is a sign that the hydro industry in Brazil, along with all the great Brazilian fisheries researchers, are quite forward thinking and are determined to maintain their country’s rich species diversity while also enhancing their energy options.”

The workshop, hosted by CEMIG and held at UFMG, involved many universities, including our workshop host Paulo Pompeu from UFLA, Dr. Paul Kemp from University of Southhampton, Dr. Jesse O’Hanley of Kent Business School, and many others.

The gathering inspired a lot of interesting dialogue around dam removal, optimizing locations for new hydro facilities, and how to best sustain connectivity and species diversity. Laura’s presentation entitled “Dam removal in the United States” along with the other conference presentations will be available on the CEMIG website soon or check back here on the Princeton Hydro blog for presentation links.

Princeton Hydro Participates in Rutgers Engineering Honors Council Competition

Princeton Hydro President Geoff Goll, P.E. participated as an alumni judge in the Rutgers Engineering Honors Council (REHC) Annual Case Competition.

The REHC Case Competition is an annual event in which students are given a case detailing a Rutgers-related issue and have a limited amount of time to analyze the case problem, develop a solution, and present their plans to a panel of alumni judges.

The judges critique the group and individuals on presentation, creativity, participation, feasibility of solution, and additional criteria. The competition is divided into two tiers, where the winners of each grouping of presentations then present to determine a final winner.

Over the past three years, more than one hundred students have participated and have included deans, alumni, administrators, and faculty in the development of the competition. This year, the judging panel incorporated four alumni, including Goll, who judged separate groups of three teams, and then joined together with the other judges to critique the final round of presentations.   

“It was a truly wonderful experience,” said Goll. “It’s so encouraging to see such eager and bright young minds that are on their way to becoming future engineering leaders.”

REHC, founded in 2011, is composed of Honors Academy and Honors College representatives and honor society presidents to provide a uniform voice to all sectors of the honors community in the School of Engineering. Students find unique opportunities to be mentored by industry professionals, engage with successful alumni, and exchange talents with their peers. 

Goeff Goll, Civil Engineering Class of 1990, brings extensive experience in water resources and geotechnical engineering to the table. He is highly experienced in stream restoration, dam removal, the design of large retaining structures, and building foundations and stormwater management systems.

 

Aquatic Organism Passage: A Princeton Hydro Blog Series

Introducing part one of a multi-part blog series about aquatic organism passage
What you’ll learn:
  • What is aquatic organism passage?
  • Why is it important?
  • How does Princeton Hydro support it?

This photo from NYS DEC demonstrates a well-designed stream crossing.

Since the US government began allotting funds for building roads in U.S. national forests in the late 1920s, hundreds of thousands of culverts were built across the country. Culverts, or drainage structures that convey water underneath a barrier such as a road or railroad, were originally built with the intention of moving water quickly and efficiently. While this goal was met, many migratory fish and other aquatic organisms could not overcome the culverts’ high-velocity flows, sending them away from their migratory destinations. If the culvert was perched, or elevated above the water surface, it would require the migratory aquatic animals to both leap upwards and fight the unnaturally fast stream current to continue their journeys. Additionally, turbulence, low flows, and debris challenged the movement of aquatic organisms.

Thus, the goal of aquatic organism passage (AOP) is to maintain connectivity by allowing aquatic organisms to migrate upstream or downstream under roads. AOP “has a profound influence on the movement, distribution and abundance of populations of aquatic species in rivers and streams”. These aforementioned species include “fish, aquatic reptiles and amphibians, and the insects that live in the stream bed and are the food source for fish”.

This photo from NYS DEC demonstrates a poorly-designed stream crossing.

A poorly designed culvert can harm fish populations in multiple ways. If sturgeon aren’t able to surpass it, habitat fragmentation prevails. And so, a once-connected habitat for thousands of sturgeon breaks into isolated areas where a few hundred now live. When the population was in the thousands, a disease that wiped out 80% of the population would still leave a viable number of individuals left to survive and mate; a population of a few hundred will be severely hurt by such an event. In sum, habitat fragmentation raises the risk of local extinction (extirpation) as well as extinction in general.

The splintering of a large population into several smaller ones can also leave species more vulnerable to invasive species. Generally, the greater the biodiversity harbored in a population, the stronger its response will be against a disturbance. A dwindling community of a few hundred herring will likely succumb to an invasive who preys on it while a larger, more robust community of a few thousand herring has a greater chance of containing some individuals who can outcompete the invasive.

Aquatic Organism Passage in Action at Princeton Hydro

Princeton Hydro recently teamed up with Trout Unlimited to reconnect streams within a prized central-Pennsylvanian trout fishery.  Our team enabled aquatic organism passage by replacing two culverts in Pennsylvania’s Cross Fork Creek. Read about it here!

Sources:

“Aquatic Organism Passage through Bridges and Culverts.” Flow. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Watershed Management Division, 31 Jan. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Hoffman, R.L., Dunham, J.B., and Hansen, B.P., eds., 2012, Aquatic organism passage at road-stream crossings— Synthesis and guidelines for effectiveness monitoring: US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1090, 64p.

Jackson, S., 2003. “Design and Construction of Aquatic Organism Passage at Road-Stream Crossings: Ecological Considerations in the Design of River and Stream Crossings.” 20-29 International Conference of Ecology and Transportation, Lake Placid, New York.

Kilgore, Roger T., Bergendahl, Bart S., and Hotchkiss, Rollin H. Publication No. FHWAHIF-11-008 HEC-26. Culvert Design for Aquatic Organism Passage Hydraulic Engineering Circular Number 26. October 2010.

American Littoral Society and Princeton Hydro Receive “Project of the Year” Award

The American Littoral Society and Princeton Hydro accepted the “Project of the Year” Award at last night's The American Society of Civil Engineers Central New Jersey Branch Annual Dinner. The team received the award for their work on the Barnegat Bay Green Infrastructure Project. Photo from left to right: Tim Dillingham, American Littoral Society Executive Director; Helen Henderson American Littoral Society Ocean Planning Manager for the Mid-Atlantic region; Dr. Stephen J. Souza, Princeton Hydro Founder.

The American Littoral Society and Princeton Hydro accepted the “Project of the Year” Award at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Annual Dinner. The team received the award for their work on the Barnegat Bay Green Infrastructure Project.

”This was a terrific project conducted for a terrific client – the American Littoral Society,” said Princeton Hydro Founder Dr. Stephen Souza. “It also would not have been possible without a very supportive and engaged stakeholder group.”

The Barnegat Bay Project focused on reducing the amount of pollution entering the Bay’s waterways by retrofitting outdated stormwater management systems and implementing green infrastructure on previously developed sites.

“The project showcases the combined skill-sets of Princeton Hydro,” said Dr. Souza. “This was a truly collaborative effort involving the company’s aquatic ecologists, wetland ecologists, water resource engineers and landscape architect. We all worked closely to develop and implement green infrastructure solutions that measurably decrease pollutant loading to Barnegat Bay and correct localized flooding problems.”

Learn more about the award-winning project here: https://goo.gl/uQ3DfV. Big congratulations to the entire Littoral Society team for winning this prestigious award! And, many thanks to ASCE Central Jersey Branch for the recognition.