Harrisville Lake tree removal and grading

h2ochild

Scout
Nov 24, 2010
83
57
18
64
Bass River Township
I'm curious as to what is going to prevent erosion from heavy rains, now that it's all loose soil, being only packed down by vehicles. I wonder if the plans include rip rap? I know I'm not a big fan of change, but it is just plain ugly.
 

h2ochild

Scout
Nov 24, 2010
83
57
18
64
Bass River Township
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.
This is the NOW view to the south dam /spillway:
IMG_9481 (640x425).jpg
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,129
573
1,093
Atco, NJ
I could be wrong, but I think this is fall out from the 2004 dam failures in Medford. After that event all the dams in nj were inspected and rated on priority, based on the amount of damage they would cause if they failed. I'm sure that Dam is relatively low in priority which would explain the delay. Just look how many dams were rebuilt in the last several years.
 
Feb 1, 2016
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Camden County, NJ

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
21,847
3,820
1,093
Went by today and checked out Harrisville. Makes it much easier for the Park Police to see what is going on.



Drove up to Buck Run but could not get there without going an alternate route. Tried cutting it and almost was through but had to go. Plus, I am not 25 anymore and it was exhausting. So if anyone goes and has a saw you don't have much left to cut through.

IMG_0366a.JPG
 
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92 Blazer Jeff

Explorer
Aug 24, 2015
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GLASSBORO,NJ
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GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,028
282
1,063
Little Egg Harbor
Ahh, change, the most reviled word in the English language. Looks much worse than it did a few weeks ago, and very likely much better than it did during most of the 19th and early 20th century when most of the trees here, as well as much of the surrounding forest, had been removed for one reason or another. If it is true that the integrity of the earthen dam was being threatened by the trees, then it is what it is. The trees may have been helping to prevent erosion, but trees do not stabilize banks any better than do other vegetation types, otherwise the cranberry bogs a little to the north would not be visible from the road thanks to all the trees the growers would have planted on all the dikes. I've seen plenty of trees with exposed root systems along stream and lake banks where the soil was eroded away from beneath the trees. I can only hope plans are in place to re-vegetate the banks. I don't think natural growth of shrubs and herbaceous species is going to take place with all the human use at this site. In fact, plantings may not even survive unless fenced off. I'd really hate to see an "engineered" solution, like what was once done at Evans Bridge.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,129
573
1,093
Atco, NJ
A letter to the editor, Pine Barrens Tribute, about the Harrisiville Lake/Pond tree cutting:
http://pinebarrenstribune.com/letter-to-the-editor-furious-with-tree-removal-at-harrisville-lake-p1164-117.htm
The writer seems a little upset...
The writer does seem to be upset. The fact is those trees should have been taken out years ago. After years of neglect the DEP is now addressed the problem. As I mentioned before the failure of so many dams in the rain event in 2004 caused a state wide survey of why and how it can be prevented. Granted getting 14" or more of rain in a day had a lot to do with it.
Generally speaking vegetation on a dam doesn't help but it can hurt. Any man made earthen dam is nothing more then fill dirt. As an example if you were to dig a hole in disturbed soil the sides would likely cave in much easier the if you were digging in undisturbed soil. Having trees on the dam creates movement. Every time the wind blows the trees move. That movement transfers all the way to the root system. A major storm could blowdown enough to let the dam fail. Several wind events over time could loosen up enough to let the dam fail on its own. While it's not as scenic I'm glad it's being addressed. If that dam were to fail I would be surprised if it would be rebuilt. That would be a much worse scenario in my opinion.
 

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
261
144
43
Bass River State Forest
I read that dams are classified as I, II, III, and IV based on their hazard potential. Failure of a Class I dam could cause loss of life or extensive property damage; Classs II failure could cause significant property damage; Class III is low hazard potential, and if a Class IV dam fails nobody would likely notice...

Does anyone know how to find out what a specific dam's classification is? I don't know if this is public information - I'm sure they could come up with an excuse to keep it secret - but it would be interesting to know.
 
Feb 1, 2016
273
133
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49
Camden County, NJ
I read that dams are classified as I, II, III, and IV based on their hazard potential. Failure of a Class I dam could cause loss of life or extensive property damage; Classs II failure could cause significant property damage; Class III is low hazard potential, and if a Class IV dam fails nobody would likely notice...

Does anyone know how to find out what a specific dam's classification is? I don't know if this is public information - I'm sure they could come up with an excuse to keep it secret - but it would be interesting to know.
Just speculating but I believe the reason Absegami and Harrisville were not cleared for decades was due to the low threat level assessment but there number unfortunately came up after all these years.