At our Chapter Meeting over Zoom on Thursday, May 20, 2021, our guest speaker, Brian Yellen, shed new light on the river we all thought we knew. Every river is different, and every river changes from day to day. This talk highlighted two oddities of the Deerfield River. First, we looked at how the river’s rapidly changing water levels alter its subsurface hydrology. Second, we examined the extent of erosion in the Deerfield River Watershed during Hurricane Irene flooding (2011) and saw that it was a lot more than one might have expected given the amount of precipitation.
Brian Yellen is a research professor in the geosciences department at UMass Amherst. He focuses on earth surface processes, mostly how water and sediment slosh around different environments. He studies dam impacts, dam removals, erosion, and tidal marshes.
You can view the Zoom recording of the presentation here:
Update: The event was a big success – drawing in scores of fly tyers, young and old, beginner to expert. Three participants joined TU as new members. Dozens of flies were donated to DRWTU for the raffle/auction at the annual meeting. There were fish stories in abundance – many of them seemingly true! Pizza and refreshments, also in abundance, were top-notch. If you missed it, be sure to join us next year. For a taste of fly tying come early (5:30) to one of our DRWTU meetings every third Thursday at the Eagles Club in Buckland, or join the tyers who gather Saturday mornings at 10:00 at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Thanks to Mike Didonna at the Deerfield Fly Shop for hosting the event and to Sean Bresnahan for organizing.
Original Post: Join us for some fun at the Deerfield Fly Shop and Deerfield Fly Shop Annex on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10 to 4. We’ll be tying flies, eating pizza pies, and telling fish stories. All are welcome. The entry fee of $20.00 gets you admission to the event, pizza and other refreshments, and a raffle ticket. This event is open to non-members as well as members. Bring your friends! There will be a wide range of fly tiers, from beginners to experts. Extra vises, tools and materials will be available, so plan to be there even if you’ve never tied a fly and have no equipment. DRWTU members are very generous about sharing their skills and introducing new tiers to the art. Think of it as making tiny sculptures for the appreciative eye of a fish! No advance registration required – just show up at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Come by at any time, and leave any time – you do not need to be present for the raffle. Besides telling amazing but true 😉 fish stories, we would happy to share information about the chapter’s conservation efforts and progress with the spawning study on the Deerfield.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Breaking News: Brookfield Power’s FERC Final License Application
Brookfield Power has filed a final license application for the Bear Swamp Pump Storage and Fife Brook Dam facilities. This application details what the history, status of the FERC relicensing process, what Brookfield has done, and what it is proposing to do with this new license. This process will continue for another couple of years. Our Chapter continues to be engaged in this process. We will continue to fight for more ideal operations to not only protect but enhance the Deerfield River wild trout population including spawning efforts. Much more to come.
Volunteers wanting to help with phase 2 of the spawning study will meet Mike Cole Saturday morning, at 8:45 on March 17 at the Zoar picnic grounds. We can use all the help we can get. Wear waders and warm clothing. Bring water and something to eat. Air temps expected in the 20’s.
Spawning Survey Donation
At the Chapter meeting on 3/15, Mike Didonna of the Deerfield Fly Shop donated $750 to DRWTU for the spawning study. The money was raised through a raffle during the third anniversary celebration of the fly shop in South Deerfield.
The DRWTU Annual Meeting and dinner was held at the Warfield House February 24. Keynote speaker, Keith Fritschie, gave a fascinating talk about wild brook trout spawning in New Hampshire.
In response to the Interim Report on the DRWTU sponsored Spawning Surveys conducted by Mike Cole, the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife submitted comments with a New Study Request to FERC. The US Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, citing the MA Div of Fisheries and Wildlife comments, formally requested that FERC order a comprehensive study of the biological impact of hydropeaking on fish in the Deerfield. They specified that the study be conducted across the full range of daily flows and at times when spawning of trout is likely to occur. On March 5, Brookfield Power Company sent a letter to FERC to respond to complaints raised by DRWTU about high water encountered by the TU volunteer survey team during the spawning study. Brookfield’s letter appears below. A letter from DRWTU president Kevin Parsons is included with links to all the above-mentioned correspondence here:
Based upon preliminary results published in the Spawning Survey Interim Report, DRWTU is requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conduct an expanded trout spawning survey before relicensing the operation of Fife Brook Dam. Click below to view the Letter and Interim Report.