Sad News Regarding West Portal Brook 5-6-16

On the morning of May 5, 2016, a tractor trailer carrying a large amount of soap and detergent caught fire on I-78.  This occured on Jugtown Mountain in Bethlehem Township.



Unfortunately much of the soap and detergent on this truck entered West Portal Brook through a storm drain, killing at least 1000 fish and other forms of aquatic life.  West Portal Brook is a tributary of the Musconetcong River, and was home to reproducing populations of brook and brown trout prior to the accident.



According to RVTU conservation chair Brian Cowden, over $150,000 of grant based funds and thousands of Trout Unlimited volunteer hours have been invested into this stream to restore coldwater species habitat.  This includes channel restoration, planting bank vegetation, installing trout spawning habitat (gravel beds),  and installing structures to keep cattle out of the stream.  



Brian has informed us that a task force including Trout Unlimited, Musconetcong Watershed Association, North Jersey Resource Conservation Council, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the USDA has been formed to restore West Portal Brook.  This includes bringing aquatic life back including native brook trout.   Stay tuned here if you would like to volunteer to be a part of the restoration effort!