Harrisville Lake tree removal and grading

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
I haven't seen Harrisville Lake recently, but they just completed something like that at Bass River State Forest. A contractor came in and clear-cut the long dam at the end of Lake Absegami.

It looks ugly... but I was told it was necessary because whatever part of the State it is that inspects and regulates dams said there can be no trees growing on the dam. And there were a lot of trees on this dam, big and small, upright and some fallen. Yes I believe it has to do with safety of the dam, either the tree roots damage it, or a falling tree can cause the dam to fail. Or something else... I'm not really sure.

There is an aerial photo from 1948 of this area on a display panel in front of the forest office, and it shows the dam pretty much like it does now - no trees. So perhaps there were about 70 years of trees there.
 
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lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
Dam or spillway? I have been corrected by people and told that this is a dam (at Bass River SF, after tree removal):
brsf-dam.jpg


And this is the spillway. (Yeah, I know what the sign says, it's wrong.)
brsf-spillway.jpg
 
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Toothy Critter

Explorer
Sep 16, 2016
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Winfield
And this is the spillway. (Yeah, I know what the sign says, it's wrong.)


Ohhhh.... so beavers build spillways...? And I always thought they were beaver dams....damn
 
Feb 1, 2016
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Camden County, NJ
I was curious to see the "after" at Harrisville Pond. It is clear cut from the canoe launch south to the main dam and just beyond. I certainly can understand if tree roots in the immediate area were a concern in possibly damaging the two exit points but so puzzling as to why they removed all of the trees and vegetation. Life will go on but if someone happens to know the official reason I would be interested to know.
 

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
263
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Bass River State Forest
Did you take any pictures? I would like to see what it looks like now.

Looking at some year-old pictures I have, I agree, the area between the two spillways doesn't really look like a dam. (Where they cut at Lake Absegami does, especially with the trees removed. The ground drops off on both sides - one side to the lake, and the other side to the low area where East Branch Bass River flows. It's clearly a dam.)

But at Harrisville, in fact it probably is considered a dam - meaning it is man-made and holds the lake in. So I think the trees were cut not to protect the spillways (outflows), but to protect the earth dams.
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
I was curious to see the "after" at Harrisville Pond. It is clear cut from the canoe launch south to the main dam and just beyond. I certainly can understand if tree roots in the immediate area were a concern in possibly damaging the two exit points but so puzzling as to why they removed all of the trees and vegetation. Life will go on but if someone happens to know the official reason I would be interested to know.
That was a favorite spot to pull in between the trees and have lunch. Sounds like it will become just another potholed parking lot like Oswego. Next on the agenda is a privy on a hill.
 
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Feb 1, 2016
273
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Camden County, NJ
Did you take any pictures? I would like to see what it looks like now.

Looking at some year-old pictures I have, I agree, the area between the two spillways doesn't really look like a dam. (Where they cut at Lake Absegami does, especially with the trees removed. The ground drops off on both sides - one side to the lake, and the other side to the low area where East Branch Bass River flows. It's clearly a dam.)

But at Harrisville, in fact it probably is considered a dam - meaning it is man-made and holds the lake in. So I think the trees were cut not to protect the spillways (outflows), but to protect the earth dams.
That's the only logical explanation. For those familiar with the location on the Northern part of 679 where you launch your boats past the initial spillway all the way to the southern dam and then slightly past it is completely clear cut, graded. Its all gone. So..............I would have to guess that trees can weaken the earth impoundment adjacent to 679 (??). Oh well, what's done is done. On other topics I have heard a concern over the lack of transparency and unilateral action by the State....If it was necessary so be it, but it would be appropriate for the State to have a contact person to "clear the air" on projects like this.
 
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lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
Found the official explanation, from the NJ Bureau of Dam Safety
8. Are trees allowed on dams?
No. Significant vegetation impedes the inspection process and can hide serious deficiencies that may be occurring at a dam. Additionally, the root structure of trees affects the structural integrity of the dam, can cause seepage pathways for water through the dam, and can cause significant section loss if uprooted. Any one of these factors alone can contribute to the failure of a dam.