Category Archives: General

DRWTU,MA F&W, and USFW File Comments in Relicensing Process

Update April 25: MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and US Fisheries and Wildlife Service both cited the DRWTU Trout Spawning Studies in comments filed with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) (See links below).

MASS Fish & Wildlife Comments
US Fisheries & Wildlife Service Comments

DRWTU Attorney Chris Myhrum has filed two official documents on our behalf intended to impact the relicensing of Fife Brook Dam and the Bear Swamp Project.

What we are asking for in the FERC arena:

  • Increase winter minimum flows in winter to 350 cfs to keep redds adequately covered
  • Ramping up and ramping down to protect young of year fish
  • Earlier in day recreation releases to provide for cold water relief during hot days
  • Reducing disparate hydropeaking events

 Click Here to read or download the entire FERC comment document.

In the MA DEP arena we are advocating for all the same stuff as the FERC venue,  but we are also asking  MA DEP order Brookfield to conduct an Instream Flow Assessment (IFIM) study now, as well as at the time the Great River license comes up for renewal so we can assess hydropeaking impacts on spawning and young of year fish, and other river ecological damage resulting from Brookfield operations.  This IFIM has already been requested in the FERC process multiples times by our agency partners.  Brookfield has offered to conduct a 7 mile stretch survey, however, we want the entire 17 mile stretch done. 

Click Here to read the entire letter to MA DEP.

Somerset Integrated Resource Project

SIRP

Board Members Chris Jackson, Sheila and Eric Halloran attended a meeting at the invitation of the Connecticut Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Wilmington VT last month. The meeting previewed a more formal presentation of the plan for the US Forestry Service conservation project on a section of the Green Mountain National Forest that includes the headwaters of the Deerfield River in Southern Vermont. TU Biologist Dr. Erin Rodgers also presented at the preview meeting. At the end of the meeting the local TU chapter put out a call for volunteers to get involved in conservation activities and citizen science projects in support of the Forest Services project. We expressed interest in helping out on behalf of the DRWTU Chapter.

We presented our summary of the Proposed plan at the DRWTU Chapter meeting on March 21. Timelines were tentative at that point but now the timelines are set, the public notice has been issued, and the public comment period is open. Follow the link below to see the public notice in the Rutland Herald.

https://www.rutlandherald.com/legals/somerset-integrated-resource-project/article_2c0d407d-fc26-5eb7-bc50-10b8f83c51eb.html

This letter(<—- Click Here) from the Forest Service announces an Open House to be held at the Manchester Community Library on April 11 from 4:30 to 7:30. It also provides details on several options to comment open the plan. Please Note: Only entities that comment on the plan have the option of submitting an objection in response to the final draft of the proposal which is projected to be at the end of the calendar year..

Here’s a link to the US Forestry Service’s slideshow about the project:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/108977_FSPLT3_4292791.pdf

Interim Spawning Study Report and Letter to FERC

http://deerfieldrivertroutunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Spawning-Survey-2019.pdf


As co-chair of the DRWTU Conservation Committee, Kevin Parsons has submitted a letter along with the interim report from the second year’s spawning study on the Deerfield River to the Federal Energy Resource Commission. Click Here to see Parsons Letter.

Big Fish Eat Tiny Flies

Bob Gancarz will be the featured speaker at our next chapter meeting on March 21 at the Eagles Club in Shelburne Falls.

Gancarz, of Chicopee, is well known and highly regarded in local fishing circles for tying and presenting  tiny midges – down to a #32 hook – to big trout using light-weight rods, thin tippet (down to 10X in winter) and tiny midge imitations that often dominate a trout’s diet.

Gancarz also captures the tiny insects on area rivers, placing them in glass vials filled with alcohol-laced hand sanitizer. This preserves the bugs in a state of suspended animation for clear viewing, so he can easily copy their distinct features up close — which commercial fly tiers often miss —  on his fly-tying vise.  He will bring some of his light rods (down to a custom-made, Triple-0 weight), an assortment of tiny flies he’s made and uses, as well as vials of midges he has caught and copied into his own fly-tying patterns. He will also be giving away his collection of store-bought flies that he no longer uses.

Gancarz, a retired design and industrial engineer, will offer his own tips to successful midge fishing and looks forward to a good dialogue and answering any relevant questions about midges and light-tackle techniques. 

A co-inventor of the AccuTrigger, that he developed for Savage Arms in 2002, Gancarz has been spending his retirement perfecting the fly-fishing skills he first learned as a boy, fishing on the upper Deerfield River in the early 1950’s. 

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 21st upstairs at the Eagles Club, 52 State Street, Shelburne Falls, MA starting at 6:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend. 

DRWTU Annual Meeting/Banquet 2019

Scenic Warfield House – site of the DRWTU Annual Meeting February 23, 2019.

Update: We had a great night at the Annual Meeting/Dinner. Over $2,000 were raised through the auction and raffle and will be applied to Franklin Land Trust’s planned acquisition of riparian land adjacent to the Crowningshield property on the West Branch of the North River.

Original Post: Join us at our Annual Banquet on February 23, 2019 at the Warfield House, Charlemont, MA.  Cocktails at 5:30, dinner 6:30, guest speaker and auction/raffle.  $35 fee for dinner.  RSVP required by email Deerfieldrivertu@gmail.com or call/text Kevin Parsons 413 522 5200.  

We will be honoring Rich Hubbard, retiring Executive Director of the Franklin Land Trust (FLT), with the Bob Anderson Conservation Person of the Year Award.  

Our guest speaker will be Will Sloan Anderson of the Franklin Land Trust who will discuss  FLT’s conservation efforts and how the impact on riparian interest of TU, as well as the history of the TU/FLT relationship at Crowningshield and elsewhere.  

All funds raised in this event will go to FLT toward acquiring and protecting land adjacent to the Crowningshield property in Heath, Ma.  The Crowningshield project is a joint endeavor with our Chapter, the MA RI Council of Trout Unlimited, and FLT.

Come join us to celebrate our incredible year past, honor Rich Hubbard, and raise needed funds to protect critical riparian lands along this most important wild trout headwater.  

Attendees including Sheila Kelliher and Sean Bresnahan at the DRWTU Annual Meeting/Dinner.


Trout Spawning Study Update

DRWTU Members sort out reach assignments.
DRWTU Members sort out reach assignments for Identification of spawning redds on December 1.

Members of Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited and friends spent three days identifying and recording data for redds on the Upper Deerfield in November and early December 2018. Blowout flood conditions during the month of October forced a frustrating cycle of scheduling, cancelling and rescheduling survey dates. Despite weather conditions that were less than favorable, 17 volunteers led by Erin Rodgers and Mike Hayden found 30 redds on November 17 and 18. Another 50 redds were recorded by teams led by Mike Hayden under more favorable conditions on December 1.

Embrace a Stream Challenge

You helped the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited win the Embrace a Stream Challenge!  Thanks to our members and friends, DRWTU – one of the smallest of 30 TU chapters all over the country participating – raised $16,415 in donations in the Embrace a Stream Challenge from 252 donors.  These funds will be used to support the expanded trout spawning survey on the Deerfield River Watershed as well as our other conservation efforts.  The Chapter’s outstanding performance in the Challenge means your donations will be multiplied through matching funds and prizes by TU National and Orvis.  The week-long fundraising effort is over but the work of the year-long study is just beginning.  Keep watching this page for updates on the study and opportunities to help us with Phase II of our Trout Study on the Deerfield.

Missed the chance to donate during the challenge?  You can still support our chapter by donating here through paypal (and you don’t even need a paypal account).


National Recognition for DRWTU

Trout fry in the Upper Deerfield

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited wrote an article that captures the qualities and highlights the philosophy of DRWTU.  Read the article here

The chapter received an Embrace-a-Stream grant in the amount of $6,000.00to support efforts to document wild brown trout spawning in the Deerfield mainstem.  Here’s an article about the award that appeared in the Greenfield Recorder:    Trout Unlimited receives grant for continuation of spawning study


Gold Trout Award

The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited was honored with the Golden Trout Award at the 2018 National Trout Unlimited Meeting.

Our Chapter has been selected by TU National to receive the 2018 Gold Trout award. This prestigious award is awarded annually to the Chapter which has “taken innovative and thoughtful approaches to build and expand community and advance TU’s conservation mission”. Of the 420 Chapters, DRWTU has been recognized by TU as its top Chapter for 2018.

Fish and Game Brown Trout Study

Brown Trout Adipose Fin Survey

Click the red text above to start survey.

Brown trout with adipose fin for reference.

Inspired by the DRWTU spawning study, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is commencing a long-term study of the brown trout population on the Deerfield. Here’s a May 9, 2018 statement from Adam Kautza PhD, Coldwater Fisheries Project Leader:
“We have completed adipose fin clipping to mark the standard annual allotment of all 1000 hatchery Brown Trout that are stocked into the upper Deerfield River. These marked fish will be going out to the river within the next two weeks. Please be aware that there are other hatchery-origin Brown Trout already in the system from past years’ stockings that have not been marked with an adipose fin clip. Physically marking the Spring 2018 Deerfield River batch of hatchery Brown Trout stands as an initial step in a larger effort to learn more about the Brown Trout population in the upper Deerfield River, both hatchery-origin and wild, stream-born fish. Marking of hatchery fish, together with other elements of the Deerfield River Brown Trout Study, will continue for several years.
We would like to note that the impetus for this project has largely been through a collaborative effort including meetings and ongoing discussions among Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited (in particular, the Deerfield River Chapter and the Massachusetts-Rhode Island Council), as well as input and assistance from a number of other interested parties and individuals from UMass, USGS, local Deerfield River fishing guides, and local watershed groups.”

Please report all of your encounters with brown trout (both with the adipose fin and without) here.