UDC: Skinners Falls Bridge, Flexible Flow

Posted 12/11/19

NARROWSBURG, NY — At the monthly meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) on December 5, executive director Laurie Ramie said she had attended a meeting with Wayne County Commissioner Chair …

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UDC: Skinners Falls Bridge, Flexible Flow

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NARROWSBURG, NY — At the monthly meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) on December 5, executive director Laurie Ramie said she had attended a meeting with Wayne County Commissioner Chair Brian Smith and planning consultant Tom Shepstone regarding the Skinners Falls Bridge, which is currently closed.

“What they’re talking about doing is coming up with a joint position statement about the bridge and cooperating with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT] to specify why it should be re-opened for the sake of the local economy, cultural resources, history basically, and of course the most important priority is safety through emergency response,” Ramie said. “Everyone unanimously agrees that we want that bridge in some form, somehow.”
She said the bridge would be closed through the winter.

She also said that PennDot was going to be doing an in-depth inspection of the bridge sometime in December to get a better indication of its condition.

Kris Heister, the National Park Service Superintendent of the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River, stepped in and said that her office had issued a special-use permit to allow the inspection to take place, and it was completed in late November.

PennDot did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the inspection.

Flexible Flow

Steve Tambini, executive director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, spoke about the latest development in the Flexible Flow Management Plan.

“We started a subcommittee on ecological flows. The primary focus has been the upper basin and the primary focus has been the protection of fish, trout and mitigation of reservoir release flow swings,” he said. According to Tambini, 2019 was the first year a new protocol was used to manage reservoir releases of some of the three billion gallons of water that was set aside for “fishery cold-water releases and rapid-flow-change mitigation or thermal mitigation.”

He said cold water was released every time there was a hot spell and the river was heated to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In the past, he said, the releases were on an “ad-hoc basis.” People involved would “scramble to try to figure out what to do.”

He said that now they’ve come up with a standard protocol and “engaged the Friends of the Upper Delaware and fisheries people in a process in that subcommittee to define what that protocol would look like.” He said the process worked very well in 2019.

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