Tag Archives: DRWTU

Hydrologic Oddities of the Deerfield River

Brian Yellen, research professor in the geosciences department at UMass Amherst will talk about the unique hydrology of the Deerfield at our May 20th meeting.

Be sure to join us for our Chapter Meeting over Zoom at 6:30PM on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Our guest speaker will 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 will highlight two oddities of the Deerfield River. First, we will look at how the river’s rapidly changing water levels alter its subsurface hydrology. Second, we will examine the extent of erosion in the Deerfield River Watershed during Hurricane Irene flooding (2011) and see 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. 

Chapter Meeting 4-15-21

Dr. Shannon White
Dr. Shannon White will Zoom in to talk with us about her Brook Trout Studies April 15.

Our monthly chapter ZOOM meeting will be held on Thursday, April 15th at 6:30 pm. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Shannon White, a postdoctoral researcher at the US Geological Survey Eastern Ecological Science Center where she works on the conservation genetics of fishes of conservation concern. She will speak about her work on native brook trout genetics and movement in the Loyalsock Creek watershed in Pennsylvania. 
A key finding from her research is the importance of rare habitats and fish behaviors for understanding and improving brook trout conservation. Her talk will highlight a few of these studies and the implications for future management of native fisheries.
Dr. White is familiar with our current Brook Trout protection and enhancement project on Rice Brook in Charlemont. Information from her research will give us some guidance on best practices to help manage the Deerfield River Watershed’s native brook trout population, the largest in Massachusetts. 

Members and friends can locate the zoom link in the email announcement for the meeting. See you on April 15th!!

March Meeting – Tick Talk

Joellen Lampman to present ‘Don’t Get Ticked on the Stream’ at March 18 DRWTU Meeting.

Avoiding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases requires avoiding a tick bite! Join the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program’s Joellen Lampman as she talks about the different ticks in our area and their biology, the diseases they carry, and how to protect yourself and others from being bitten.

Joellen Lampman is Community IPM Extension Support Specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University. With a degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, Joellen is a lifelong environmental educator. At the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, she utilizes the clear knowledge-based, decision-making process of IPM to teach ecology and make a difference, one property at a time. In some circles she is also known as the tick lady.

February 2021 Meeting /w Southern Vermont Chapters

Please reserve the date for our upcoming, joint regional chapter Zoom meeting on Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 pm. Deerfield River Watershed TU will be joining the Connecticut River Valley TU (Deerfield watershed VT) and Southwestern VT TU (Battenkill, Walloomsac, Hoosic, etc.) on this ZOOM meeting and talking about the various projects our chapters are working on. We’re also inviting all the fishing guides in these regions to attend. This meeting is open to ALL members of each chapter. DRWTU members can expect an email message coming soon with the ZOOM meeting link.

Chapter Meeting at Rice Brook

DRWTU President Mike Vito marking the upper boundary of our work area on Rice Brook.

November’s DRWTU Chapter meeting will be held at Rice Brook on Saturday, the 28th at 10 AM. We’ll meet in the parking lot of the Warfield House in Charlemont just off Route 2.

This will be an outside event with social distancing and masks. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather and, if you will be helping out with the stream survey, be prepared for intermediate hiking and bushwhacking. After a brief Chapter business meeting, TU biologist Dr. Erin Rodgers will demonstrate how to use the Survey 123 app in conjunction with the TU Rivers app to assess the brook. These assessments will drive decisions around future conservation efforts.

Here are links to download the app onto your phone:

1.      The Survey123 application:  https://survey123.arcgis.com
2.      The TU RIVERS mobile application:
https://www.tu.org/science/science-engagement/angler-science/rivers/

DRWTU Partner, Franklin Land Trust, Conserves Trout Habitat

Brookies like this one will benefit from the FLT purchase and preservation of the Gudell Property adjacent to Crowningshield.

The following press release from Franklin Land Trust was prepared by Melissa Patterson-Serrill, FLT Director of Community Outreach and Education:

Franklin Land Trust (FLT) recently acquired for conservation 154 acres in Heath abutting its 96-acre Crowningshield Conservation Area (CCA). The 154-acre parcel purchase – which took place on June 25th, 2020 from the Gudell Family – was supported by funding from the MA Dept of Fish and Game; local, state and national chapters of Trout Unlimited; the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation; the William P. Wharton Trust; and Franklin Land Trust’s Heath Conservation Fund. Tom Curren, FLT Executive Director, is thrilled to see this project cross the finish line. “This is a fine example of FLT’s partnership with other organizations in pursuit of shared conservation goals.  We’re proud to expand here upon the work accomplished during decades of efforts by local volunteers, private groups, other non-profits, and governmental agencies.”   

FLT’s Crowningshield Conservation Area was originally purchased and protected in 2015 with the support of local and regional Trout Unlimited chapters. It is preserved permanently under a Conservation Restriction held by the MA Dept of Fish and Game. “This land protection project and the habitat restoration of the uplands and stream habitat in the North River West Branch is the result of an incredible long term partnership including Franklin Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, MassWildlife, private foundations and local residents,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “The conservation restriction we acquired ensures permanent protection of the land, access for hunting, fishing, hiking, and birding, and protection of one of the finest cold-water fisheries in the region.”  

CCA has over one mile of river frontage on West Branch Brook, a tributary of the North River and an important subwatershed of the Deerfield River for native brook trout. In their native range, wild brook trout are a valuable indicator species for the overall health of a river and its watershed. They require clean, cold water to thrive and have seen sharp population declines due to warming water temperatures, pollution, and loss of habitat. FLT’s partnership with Trout Unlimited offers a unique opportunity for those who care about fishing, climate change, and land conservation to take real and meaningful action. 

“Our partnership with the Franklin Land Trust goes beyond our local chapter,” said Michael Vito, president of the Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited Chapter #349. Paul Beaulieu, president of the Mass-Rhode Island Trout Unlimited Council, notes “The Council, a number of Massachusetts TU chapters, and individual TU members from around the Commonwealth reached into their own pockets and generously contributed to this purchase. We even got a grant from TU National’s Cold-Water Land Conservation Fund.” Bill Pastuszek, Mass Representative to TU’s National Leadership Council, noted: “The West Branch of the North River is an important native brook trout stream in Massachusetts. We all want to see it protected. The diversity and breadth of support for this acquisition shows the importance associated with this effort to preserve and enhance this resource.”

The Deerfield TU chapter will now start planning conservation projects to help protect and enhance the West Branch’s cold-water fishery. “We’ll start doing an assessment of this new stretch of river and see what it needs,” Vito said. Fish assemblage, bank erosion prevention, fish habitat restoration and a macro invertebrate study have already been completed by Trout Unlimited, FLT and Cole Ecological, Inc. in the Crowningshield portion of the West Branch. 

The newly acquired 154-acre parcel abuts the original 96-acre CCA to the south of West Branch Brook, ensuring that both sides of this cold-water stream and the drainages that feed it are permanently protected. “FLT is thinking about land conservation on a watershed scale,” said FLT Head Land Steward Will Anderson. “Tributaries and headwaters like those found at Crowningshield Conservation Area and the new Gudell acquisition are fed by groundwater and travel through shaded forests, supplying important cold water to the mainstems within the watershed. This cold water is critical to many aquatic species facing warming temperatures due to climate change.”

“The Gudell acquisition was the last piece of a very large puzzle,” said Alain Peteroy, FLT’s Director of Land Conservation. The Gudell parcel connects CCA to a 60-acre Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary along its eastern border, and FLT recently conserved a small farm field, now owned by Heath Farmer Mike Freeman, that abuts the northern boundary of the CCA. The Freeman Farm produces organic beef, honey, and maple syrup and abuts 130 acres of privately conserved land on its northeastern boundary. Continuing north, the HO Cook State Forest offers an additional 918 acres of conserved land in the region. “This has been a continued process of building a significant conservation block, incorporating Sanders Brook and the West Branch of the North River,” said Peteroy. “We are looking at almost 500 acres of conserved land sitting next to over 900 acres of state forest land, all with tributaries that drain into the Deerfield River.” 

But as our rivers and streams face the impacts of climate change, land conservation is just one part of the solution. FLT, the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute (MWI), and Trout Unlimited are working to restore fish habitat by developing a new program called Forests for the Fish. This project is designed to enhance habitat for cold water fish by offering tools to forest landowners interested in improving fish habitat in their forest streams. “Private landowners – farms, families, organizations, and individuals – own over 2 million acres of forest in Massachusetts. This places the future of threatened species like native brook trout squarely in all of our hands,” said Emily Boss, MWI Executive Director. “Forests for the Fish will connect landowners who love and cherish their woodland streams with management resources and expertise.” To learn more about the Forests for the Fish program email info@masswoodlands.org

The Gudell parcel will be open to the public for hiking, fishing, birding, and hunting. Access to this newly acquired land will be through the trails at Crowningshield Conservation Area off West Branch Road. To learn more about the Crowningshield Conservation Area, and the Forests for the Fishprogram, visit www.franklinlandtrust.org

Annual Meeting

This year the Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited Annual Dinner will be held at the Deerfield Inn in historic Deerfield on February 22. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking here. Tickets @ $40.00 per person include hors d’oeuvres, three course meal and an after dinner presentation on the ongoing Trout Telemetry Study by Ted Castro Santos and Matt O’Donnell – our partners from the USGS Silvio Conte Anadramous Fish Laboratory. There will be a raffle as well as an auction, and a cash bar will be available. This is a great opportunity to support the Chapter, learn about this exciting study, catch up with fishing buddies, win some valuable fishing and non-fishing related items, and acknowledge the conservation efforts of a remarkable individual.

We’ll be presenting the DRWTU Conservation Award to Polly Bartlett, who has worked tirelessly on conservation in the area. Polly has been active in conservation for over 50 years. She founded the Deerfield River Watershed Association in the 90’s.

2020 Annual Dinner Sold Out!

Ted Castro Santos will discuss the ongoing Trout Telemetry Study at DRWTU’s Annual Dinner at the Deerfield Inn on February 22, 2020.

Thanks everybody for your support – sold out with half a week to go!
This year the Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited Annual Dinner will be held at the Deerfield Inn in historic Deerfield on February 22. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking here. Tickets @ $40.00 per person include hors d’oeuvres, three course meal and an after dinner presentation on the ongoing Trout Telemetry Study by Ted Castro Santos and Matt O’Donnell – our partners from the USGS Silvio Conte Anadramous Fish Laboratory. There will be a raffle as well as an auction, and a cash bar will be available. This is a great opportunity to support the Chapter, learn about this exciting study, catch up with fishing buddies, win some valuable fishing and non-fishing related items, and acknowledge the conservation efforts of a remarkable individual.

We’ll be presenting the DRWTU Conservation Award to Polly Bartlett, who has worked tirelessly on conservation in the area. Polly has been active in conservation for over 50 years. She founded the Deerfield River Watershed Association in the 90’s.

Seating is limited to 60 people and we are pleased to announce – we sold them all and then some!

Embrace a Stream Challenge

DRWTU thanks 142 ‘unique donors’ for making the fundraising effort a huge success!

Click here to donate to the fund drive!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DRWTU) has been awarded thousands of dollars in prizes from Orvis and Trout Unlimited National because of members efforts to raise funds and because of our generous patrons, through the Embrace A Stream Challenge. The “Challenge” pitted our Chapter against 28 other local chapters nationwide that received Embrace a Stream grants, to raise even more money. Trout Unlimited has more than 400 regional chapters throughout the United States. Last year, DRWTU won the Challenge raising nearly $24,000. This year (2019) the chapter raised just under $11.5K through direct contributions to place second in both number of unique donors and amount of money raised. As a result DRWTU will get several thousand more in matching funds and prizes.

Ted Castro Santos (pictured here with a telemetry receiver) talked about the telemetry study with members and friends of DRWTU at the Floodwaters Brewery for the Embrace A Stream Challenge kick-off event.

DRWTU started the “Challenge” week with a kick-off party on Monday, November 4th at 6 pm at Floodwater Brewery, 40 State Street, Shelburne FallsFree hot dogs and bratwurst were served up by DRWTU volunteers.  People attending were encouraged to urge their friends to contribute to the online fundraising via text messaging and email. Matching funds are awarded daily in a host of categories, ranging from having the greatest number of small donations on a given day, to the largest.

“It’s really a lot of fun and a great time,” said Michael Vito, president of the DRWTU Chapter, recalling last year’s event.  “Even a $10 donation can stretch a lot further under the rules of this Challenge.” The Challenge starts November 4th and ends on November 11th.

The $2,500 grant and money raised through the challenge will be used to purchase additional radio transmitter “receiver” equipment as part of its Brown Trout Radio Telemetry study which started in early September. Partnering with biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory, in Turners Falls, and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife DRWTU volunteers have already begun tracking the daily movements of 30 brown trout all previously equipped with transmitters. You can view a map that displays up-to-date data on the trout we are tracking here https://ecosheds.org/dev/tame/ Special attention will now be given to the upcoming spawning season. The data collected will help determine the impacts of daily hydro-peaking – up and down – flows from Brookfield Power’s Fife Brook Dam and Bear Swamp hydroelectric operations on spawning trout. This year-long study is believed to be the first radio telemetry study of its kind in the nation. Check our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about this important study. 

Tip of the Month: Bob’s Leader

We launch another round of the Fly Tip of the Month with a valuable contribution from Bob Gancarz. The tip of your fly line rig that is – Bob’s Leader Formula. I apologize for not posting this sooner. Build your own leader according to Bob’s specifications in the drawings below.

Tip of the Month: I am posting a leader formula that Bob Gancarz shared with us during his presentation ‘Big Trout Eat Tiny Flies’ at our Chapter meeting in March.
Bob Gancarz torques on a 0 wt custom fly rod during his presentation Big Trout on Tiny Flies in March, 2019.
Bob demonstrates the shock absorbing properties of a 0 weight fly rod.

Click here to see the Tiny Fly Tying Tutorial Bob provided to the Chapter.