Brown Trout Telemetry Study

Brown Trout Telemetry Study

Our chapter has been tracking the movements of 30 Brown Trout that were equipped with radio transmitters in September 2019. With help from our partners at the US Geological Survey’s Eastern Ecological Science Center’s Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory in Turners Falls, and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, we’ve been collecting data from these fish that we hope will reveal the impacts of daily hydro-peaking flows on the Brown Trout, especially during fall spawning season. Brookfield Power’s Fife Brook Dam and Bear Swamp Pump Storage facilities control flows for the17-mile stretch from Fife Brook Dam down to the #4 dam in Buckland. These wired fish are in the 8.5-mile section from the Route 2 Bridge up to Fife Brook Dam, where our chapter discovered more than 100 trout redds a few years ago.

Twenty-plus volunteers were sharing a mobile telemetry unit to track and download the GPS coordinates of these fish, before Covid-19 struck. Fortunately, Board Member Kevin Kaminski stepped up and took on the mobile fish tracking himself for over a year. Kaminski’s commitment earned him a “Spirit of TU Award” from TU National.

The radio transmitters came with a predicted shelf-life of 19 months. But as of November 2021, 26 months later, they are still going strong! This means we are collecting a third year of mobile data during the fall spawn. It will take biologists at the Conte Lab at least a year to study the collected data and determine whether the river’s daily hydro-peaking flows have any impacts on the daily lives of trout. Stay Tuned!!

Want to learn more about how you can contribute to making an impact and help protect the Deerfield River Watershed?