SPARTA, NJ - Seeking to restore Glen Brook to a more natural state, the Fred S Burroughs North Jersey chapter of Trout Unlimited presented plans for remediation.  The proposal, made to the Sparta Township Council last week, will use funds raised through donations to do the work.  They will also rely on in-kind donation from the Sparta DPW, primarily use of truck services to haul away debris.

The Sparta based chapter plans to work .68 miles of the brook within the Glen.  They point to the prior remediation efforts following the microburst storm of August 2000 and Hurricane Irene in 2011 as areas needing attention.  Those previous efforts essentially made the brook into a chute lined with large boulders.  This created a problem of increased bank erosion and buildup of debris, limiting the pools and eddies needed to stabilize the fish population.  The restoration will restore the brook’s ecosystem, encourage natural trout spawning and stabilize the banks.

The initial design work cost the chapter $5000.  Estimates for the instream work are $73,000 to $95,000 according to Trout Unlimited.  The chapter has $50,000 earmarked for the project and expects to raise the additional $50,000 over the next six months through various fundraising efforts.

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Permit applications have been submitted to the State Department of Environmental Protection allowing the chapter to apply for a number of private, state and federal grants.  Funding levels will be publicized on the web site and with a fundraising thermometer display in the Glen itself. Anyone making a donation of $25 or more will be recognized on their website. 

The projected timeline began when Sparta Township Manger William Close signed the permit application on April 15, of this year.  The whole project is anticipated to take 15 to 18 months.  The actual instream work will take 10 to 12 days but it can only be done between March 15 and September 15, with the low water time after May 15 being optimal.  Sparta Glen Brook is designated by the state as Trout Production water, limiting the time during which instream work can be done. 

The local TU chapter has a long history of working with the schools and community.  John Nordstedt explained the Trout in the Classroom program they have shared with the Sparta Middle School seventh grade biology classes of Dr Marilyn Steneken and others.  “I’ve fixed their chillers many time,” he said explaining only part of their efforts.  They also work with Rusty Brown at Sparta High School and Patti McGovern at Alpine school. The Fred S Burroughs chapter partners with more than twenty schools in the region. 

The Trout in the Classroom program includes an invertebrate project with an onion sack of leaves and debris placed in the water.  After some time the students sift through the contents, learning about the bugs and other lifeforms.  Members of Trout Unlimited bring trout eggs to the classroom allowing  students to study the life cycle through release of the full grown trout. 

TU also offers fly tying classes and advice about popular fishing destinations in the north east.  They will be participating in Jefferson Day, Sparta Day and the Sussex County Fair.  Other events are in the planning stages. 

Donations can be made directly through their website