Deerfield River Temperature Monitoring


In 2013, the Chapter was a project partner in an assessment of the Deerfield River that included temperature monitoring at 11 locations from the Dry Way all of the way downriver to a stretch behind Deerfield Academy.  The temperature data from the project provided a complete temperature profile of the river across most of its length in Massachusetts.  From the data we learned that the river’s warmest reaches are actually its middle reaches between Charlemont and the #4 dam, where summertime water temperatures can reach 80 degrees or higher.  Water temperatures were found to be lower in the lower river immediately below the dams than in this middle section of river.  Furthermore, water released from Fife Brook dam was found to have a significant and immediate cooling effect on the river as far down as the middle river sections, suggesting that releases can be used to provide cooler water for fish in the Charlemont and Buckland sections of the river.  Owing to the importance and potential flow-management implications of these results, DRWTU has continued to monitor river water temperatures at 9 locations from Fife Brook Dam downriver into Deerfield for the past two summers (2014, 2015).  These additional data are also important because they corroborate findings across years, and they continue to document the regular occurrence of summertime water temperatures that are stressful to trout.  Collectively, these 3 years of water temperature data provide a solid foundation from which DRWTU can make informed recommendations for flow management with respect to maximizing benefits to the river’s coldwater fishery.