Solitude

I recently read an interesting story about Lake Solitude dam in High Bridge (Hunterdon County, South Branch Raritan River). Dams are anathema to environmentalists and many efforts are underway to breach them to restore natural river flows. So I was surprised to learn that a leading environmentalist I respect supported preservation of the dam on historic grounds. I then read that restoring small scale hydro-power was contemplated at the site, so now the issues got even more interesting, as global warming will require these kinds of zero carbon local micro-power renewable energy sources. I’ve been told that there may be up to 100 old dam sites in NJ where small scale hydro power may be feasible. So I took a ride up to High Bridge to poke around and here’s some of the Solitude I found (links to information source at the end of the photo’s):

The End!

Save our Dam
http://www.saveourdam.com/
Preservation New Jersey – top 10 endangered historic sites
http://preservationnj.org/ten_most/ten_most_property_detail.asp?COUNTY=Hunterdon%20County&PropID=151
DEP Bureau of Dam Safety
http://www.nj.gov/dep/damsafety/staff.htm
[Note – the below comment was posted by “Agust” but was screened by NJ Voices spam filer due to “Dick Cheney” – so, don’t want folks to think I am supressing it:
“Leading environmentalist supports keeping the largest source of thermal pollution on the Raritan, is this environmentalist Dick Cheney?
Come back in July when the water entering the lake is 70 degrees and the water flowing over the top of the dam is 85. This is a prime example of an old, useless dam killing one of the finest trout streams in the state. People come from all over to fish the Gorge but beyond the lake the only trout are the ones stocked and even they are usually dead by 4th of July.
The dam raises temperature, prevents movement of silt and is classified as dangerous. Please reconsider your praise, while the intricate industrial dam may look pretty but it is in fact poison.
Restore the river, breach the dam.”]

  1. landuse101
    May 10th, 2008 at 18:31 | #1

    Wow. what a great place.
    High Bridge Mayor and Council save Lake Solitude Dam.

  2. waytoomuch
    May 10th, 2008 at 22:15 | #2

    Great pictures. Thanks for showing everyone what we are trying to save.

  3. GoHighBridge
    May 10th, 2008 at 22:24 | #3

    Beautiful.

  4. Agust
    May 11th, 2008 at 01:43 | #4

    Leading environmentalist supports keeping the largest source of thermal pollution on the Raritan, is this environmentalist Dick Cheney?
    Come back in July when the water entering the lake is 70 degrees and the water flowing over the top of the dam is 85. This is a prime example of an old, useless dam killing one of the finest trout streams in the state. People come from all over to fish the Gorge but beyond the lake the only trout are the ones stocked and even they are usually dead by 4th of July.
    The dam raises temperature, prevents movement of silt and is classified as dangerous. Please reconsider your praise, while the intricate industrial dam may look pretty but it is in fact poison.
    Restore the river, breach the dam.

  5. CrabApple
    May 11th, 2008 at 09:13 | #5

    Thanks for coming by Bill. Wonderful photos.

  6. Huntcty
    May 11th, 2008 at 18:11 | #6

    Have to laugh at Agust, probably a wonderful “TU Environmentalist”. This beautiful 150 year old lake and dam obviously should be saved. The problem is you remove wonderful areas such as this, and down the road people want them back. Throw in hydropower and you may have the cost to fix it paid for.

  7. TLJohnston
    July 21st, 2008 at 14:35 | #7

    It always amazes me that “man” can take a natural resource, screw it up to the point that it kills animals….and call it beautiful!!!!!!!
    .
    The eleventh picture of the man fishing at the lake was staged. That water is only a few inches deep, too warm to support enough fish to rid the lake of mosquitoes larvae.
    .
    Pictures 12 through 17 are taken either upstream or downstream of the dam lake. If you really think they are beautiful, well, removal of the dam will create more of those beautiful scenes.
    .
    Breaching the dam is a one time cost and funding is available so cost to Highbridge is zero, keeping the dam will cost Highbridge taxpayers to bring it up to code and yearly cost to maintain it.
    .
    Breaching it will restore the stream to its “true” historic nature!

  8. nohesitation
    July 21st, 2008 at 14:50 | #8

    TLJohnson – you are wrong – no pictures were staged.
    I randomly came across that gentleman fishing exactly as you see him (using a bobber and live worms). He drove an old beat up Toyota pickup. He spoke knowledgeably about development and its impacts on the watershed. He criticized the state for approving a nearby development, on a parcel upstream of Spruce Run reservoir.
    Shortly after and upstream of this photo, I spoke with another gentlemen, a fly fisherman and member of the private trout fishing club that owns all the land along the stream. I asked him about the dam, its impact ion fishing and water quality, and whether he supported breaching it. He immediately stated “I’m no environmentalist”. He then – rather arrogantly – went on to complain that the Club’s trout stocking benefitted the folks who fish in the lake. This gentleman drove a Lexus SUV.
    All the pictures (with exception of those showign the dam) – are taken upstream of the lake.
    My photo essay neither supported or opposed breaching or preservation of the dam – and I am clueless about your arguments about beauty and killing animals.

  9. TLJohnston
    July 22nd, 2008 at 08:14 | #9

    OK nohesitation, I accept that it wasn’t staged and that your agenda was neither pro or con.
    The pictures you took upstream are beautiful and that is why you probably took them. you have a good eye for photography. I am saying that there is beauty under that lake if the stream was restored to it’s true historic condition.
    As for killing animals, I refer to the trout downstream. The warm water coming off of that lake is lethal to the trout downstream. With the exception of a few trout that can find a spring fed thermal refuge, all the other trout die in the summer. Keep in mind that lake has an average of 2 foot depth. That water reaches 85 degrees according to the one post above and I believe it.
    As for the Solitude Fishing Club’s trout entering the lake, if they do they would soon die. The higher temperature of the water mean less dissolved oxygen (cold water holds more disolved oxygen than warm water – fact). No or little oxygen mean dead fish.
    Even warm water species cannot live without proper oxygen. Nothing could survive except mosquito larvae that breath through a breathing tube. That’s whythey are found at the top film of the water. The best organic method of controlling mosquitoes is with biologicals (fish). But we’re talking warm water, low DO (Dissolved Oxygen), high silt level (no breeding grounds for any fish that could survive). in other words, a nearly dead lake, killing fish downstream and a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Can anyone say “West Nile”?
    Again, I apologize for calling the photograph staged and the implication that you had a motive, I attribute that to the emotion I have for the lost of habitat and the beauty that was lost 150 years ago.

  10. SecretHB
    August 5th, 2008 at 10:29 | #10

    Bill:
    Thank you for posting this. As a community, we wholeheartedly support preserving and reusing our lake and dam. Since the article hundreds, probably thousands of visitors have toured the lake and dam to view its natural beauty. What great economic stimuli for our town. I can’t wait for the dam to be fixed.

  11. TLJohnston
    August 8th, 2008 at 08:50 | #11

    To fix the dam it’s going to cost taxpayers money. To breach the dam, there is other money availble.
    Fixing it means yearly expenses on upkeep, again taxpayers money. Breaching it mean no more yearly expenses.
    You do the math.

  12. SecretHB
    August 10th, 2008 at 13:35 | #12

    Sorry TL. The people of High Bridge are not buying it . Show me the money. We’ve heard it all , ad nauseum. Fixing the dam is 3 million cheaper. It. is 2.5 million to remediate and 5.6 million to breach. Additional costs are minimal. Throw hydroelectric power into the mix, and it wont cost taxpayers a dime. . The people of High Bridge love our lake and dam. and we’re gonna fix it.

  13. TLJohnston
    August 11th, 2008 at 13:15 | #13

    Sorry SHB, We’ll see. Your cost estimates are off, so far there are no interested companies in hydroelectric production (flows are too inconsistant for ROI) and the hydrocoil is a joke. Have you seen how ugly they are?
    How about this, since it won’t cost a dime, how about taking your “Save the Damn Dam” group and foot the bill for any money it would cost tax payers? How confident are you now?

  14. TLJohnston
    August 11th, 2008 at 14:00 | #14

    Just another thought, since my argument is about restoring wildlife amoung other things….
    So, you are OK with killing wildlife downstream and keeping the lake mosquito infested? Or, do you plan on spraying chemicals on the pond to control West Nile mosquitoes?
    No wonder you keep to a “secret” username.
    BTW – when you say “The People Of Highbridge…” shouldn’t you check to see if you represent ALL of High Bridge? (I know you do not).

  15. SecretHB
    August 11th, 2008 at 17:12 | #15

    Believe as you wish. Everything stated will come to pass.

  16. TLJohnston
    August 12th, 2008 at 10:21 | #16

    Just as I thought, no arguments against killing wildlife and mosquitoes.
    Go hide your head in the sand.

  17. SecretHB
    August 16th, 2008 at 19:15 | #17

    Good for you. Feel Better?
    Our dam will be preserved.
    Good luck with your future endeavors.

  18. SecretHB
    August 16th, 2008 at 19:44 | #18

    Remember next time, TL.
    Please choose your battles wisely.
    .
    Good Luck.

  19. TLJohnston
    August 19th, 2008 at 08:55 | #19

    Go ahead and claim victory up to the day it is breached!

  20. SecretHB
    August 20th, 2008 at 12:23 | #20

    Good luck with your future endeavors.

  21. TLJohnston
    August 21st, 2008 at 08:09 | #21

    Kills you for me to have the last word doesn’t it?
    By the way, what’s the big secret? Ashamed to show you’re real name?

  22. HuntCty
    May 10th, 2009 at 21:01 | #22

    Too bad, TL

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