It is June 2018 and American Shad have been on the move! Great efforts are being made to restore migratory routes of anadromous fish species (those which live in the ocean but spawn in fresh water), including river herring and American Shad. A flurry of dam removals have taken place along the Raritan, Musconetcong, and Millstone Rivers in recent years, with more on the way, including those along the Paulins Kill (i.e. Columbia Lake).
Shad fishing on the Delaware River has been hot the last few springs – in fact, even novice shad fishermen are currently catching more than a dozen per trip while wading its banks. This is not the case throughout the state, as fishing for American Shad is prohibited on all other New Jersey waters, as populations recover.
In continued efforts to restore American Shad (and other migratory fishes) by reconnecting historic migratory pathways, the Millstone River’s Weston Causeway Dam was removed during the summer of 2017 (see the DEP news release). The Weston Causeway Dam, located just downstream of the Wilhousky Street bridge in Manville, was the first impediment to fish passage on the Millstone River.
The 133-foot long and five-foot high dam was originally built to provide power at the Weston Mill. The site included a gristmill, sawmill, the dam, and associated waterpower features. The dam had no current purpose; the mill buildings were claimed by arson in July, 1983. In recent years, the dam had partially failed and was removed in August of 2017 as part of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment settlement agreement.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife (with assistance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Watershed Institute(formerly Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed Association)) committed to monitor changes to the fish assemblages above