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Columbia Lake Dam Removal Timeline Update


February 20, 2019
Updated January 13, 2020

The Columbia Lake Dam, located within the Columbia Wildlife Management Area, has been removed as part of an initiative led by The Nature Conservancy with the goals of improving riparian and in-stream habitat throughout the Paulins Kill watershed. The project began with the drawdown of Columbia Lake and closure of the surrounding area in June, 2018.

The area remains an active construction site and the Wildlife Management Area from the Rt. 46 access through to Warrington Rd., on both sides of the river, is closed to the public until the project is complete. The area is patrolled and trespassers will be prosecuted. The river below Warrington Road is also closed to all boating.

Below is the latest timeline for the dam removal project:

  • Lake Lowering: COMPLETED
  • Fish Salvage: COMPLETED
  • Mussel Salvage and Relocation: COMPLETED
  • Remnant Dam Removal: COMPLETED
  • Breaching Columbia Dam: COMPLETED
  • Scour Protection (Rt. 80/Warrington/Bugler):
    • Brugler Rd. COMPLETED
    • Rt. 80 COMPLETED
    • Warrington NEAR COMPLETED
  • Fish Passage through Rt. 80 bridge: COMPLETED
  • Columbia Lake Dam Demolition: COMPLETED
  • Fish Sampling/Monitoring: UNDERWAY
  • Powerhouse Demolition: Begins August, 2019
  • Stabilization/Planting: 2019

The area will remain closed throughout 2020 to allow the riverbanks to continue to stabilize.

Please check this page for updates and information regarding the official reopening of the area. Subscribers to the Freshwater Fishing and Outdoors e-mail lists will be notified.

For more information see Columbia Lake Dam Removal Project.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 13, 2020