Rain Garden Installation
In conjunction with Dan Mullins, Director of the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, TVTU volunteers installed a rain garden at the Bozrah Town Hall.
This rain garden will be part of the June 14th Floating Workshop which TVTU is a participant with several other like minded organizations such as the Last Green Valley, Project Oceanology and the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District. Sponsored by the Three Rivers Basin Partnership, the program will start at the Bozrah Town Hall with a presentation by Neal Hagstrom on the states Trout Management program and then a tour of the rain garden. The program will then move over to the Yantic river for a variety of demonstrations including fly tying and casting.
This was a new experience for Ray Schaefer, Bob Davis, Steve Gerling, Gary Lussier, Charley McCaughtry and Bruce Danielson and I must say we were quite proud of the results.
Willington Conservation Commission Concerned About Potential Impact to the Water Quality of Roaring Brook
There has been a flood of concern on the application of Love’s Truck Stop & Country Store for a permit to discharge wastewaters from a sewage treatment and subsurface disposal system in Willington. Charley McCaughtry and Mike Carl forwarded us the following information from Kathy Demers of the Willington Conservation Commission:
Love's Travel Stop is proposing to construct a Travel/Truck Stop and Restaurant off exit 71 of RT 84 on Polster Road in Willington. The 40 acre property contains portions of Roaring Brook, two wetlands that drain directly into Roaring Brook and several other wetlands that function as vernal pools. As you are aware, Roaring Brook is designated as a Class 3 Wild Trout Management Area and is habitat for brook and brown trout (naturally reproducing and stocked).
Love's did receive approval from Willington's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission (IWWC) in 2012 and from Willington's Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) in 2013 with some conditions in order to minimize risks to Roaring Brook and the wetlands. At that time, their plans for their septic system were not complete. Now they are applying to CT's Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for a permit to install and operate a Subsurface Waste Water Absorption System (Commercial-size Septic System - average 6000 gallons/day and max 9000 gallons/day) to accommodate their proposed facility. The mounded leaching field system (120 feet wide x 140 feet length) is located approximately 120 feet from Wetland "H" which functions as a tributary to Roaring Brook. In 2013, the cold waters of Wetland "H" tributary were documented by Brian Murphy, DEEP fishery staff, to contain native brook trout fry. (I have attached a copy of Brian's 2013 report and comments to our PZC about the proposed development). The site disturbance and clearing needed to construct and maintain the leaching field will come within 20 feet of Wetland H. From that edge of Wetland H, it is less than 500 feet to where it runs into Roaring Brook.
Our Conservation Commission has ongoing concerns about this project's potential impact to the water quality and temperature in Wetland H and Roaring Brook, which could reduce their capacity to support sensitive aquatic life and threaten their function as a cold water fishery. We intend to provide comments of concern at the Public Hearing on April 24th.
Here is link to DEEP's Public Hearing Process and Schedule http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2586&Q=601134
I have summarized the dates here:
1) Public Site Walk on Monday April 23rd, beginning 10:00 AM about 0.2 miles from 3 Polster Road in Willington (on left side).
2) Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 24th at the Willington Public Library (7 Ruby Road / Corner of RT 74 and RT 320). Community Room opens at 5:30 pm for public to view exhibits and talk to DEEP and Love's Travel Stop representatives. Staff presentation and Public comments and questions begin at 6:00 pm.
3) The public can also send letters directly to DEEP's Hearing Officer with their comments, concerns and questions…Deadline is May 4th. (Go to http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2586&Q=601134 for email or mailing address info).
Thanks for your interest and help getting the word out to other folks about the Public Hearing.
For more information on this issue visit our Facebook page. And, stay tuned for more information & discussion at our April Chapter meeting & newsletter.
TVTU Donates $2500 for Sprague Open Land Purchase
The Friends of the Shetucket River Valley continue their land preservation mission by working towards purchasing an additional parcel, which is a 97 +/-acre property, not contiguous to the Sprague Land Preserve, but in close proximity and adjacent to the Town of Sprague owned "River Park" and recreation area off of Rt. #97 in Baltic, CT.
This parcel of land is accessible from Park Drive in Baltic and is located on the westerly side bordering the Shetucket River. This parcel of land offers easy access to the Shetucket River, allowing for passive recreation.
The property is level with a steep hillside on the westerly side, a favorite property for pheasant hunters as well as salmon and trout fisherman. Some of the open acreage is used to grow corn; when harvested the farmer will leave several rows for feeding wildlife.
Because of this property's unique topography, wildlife habitat and proximity to the Sprague Land Preserve, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recognized this and gave the Town 70% of the funds necessary to purchase this property, known as the Bombero Property. The Town of Sprague has been awarded a $174,000.00 grant leaving a total of $102,000.00 to be raised to complete the property purchase, as well as additional legal costs and surveying costs.
Versailles Pond Fishway Update
On cold, blustery March 20th (Sunday) morning TVTU volunteers Don Avery, Alton Blodgett, Gene Cyr, Gary Lussier, Charley McCaughtry, Jim Smith and Bruce Williams (DEEP) conducted a test run of installing eight aluminum baffles into the Versailles Pond fishway. With some valuable, lessons learned from the test, they eventually installed eight baffles. More volunteers will be needed soon to install 47 more baffles and a couple of trash racks to complete the $22K National Fish & Wildlife Foundation granted project. Keep posted for the announcement for next project working party.
Thames Valley TU Awarded an $4.5K “Embrace-A-Stream” Grant
Thames Valley TU was awarded an Embrace-A-Stream (EAS) grant in the amount of $4,500 to study Merrick and Beaver Brook. Embrace-A-Stream is an annual matching grant program administered by Trout Unlimited’ s national office that awards funds to TU chapters and councils for coldwater fisheries conservation. Ranked in the top half of all submissions, TVTU was 1 of 26 grant recipients nationwide. A total of $85k was awarded with an average award of $3,267.
The grant will be used to collect samples in Merrick and Beaver Brook on water quality, nutrient loading, water temperature, and stream flow. In addition, field research will identify and document spawning habitat and stream fragmentation. The grant will also fund a public outreach campaign to garner local support and spread awareness on the importance of protecting the brooks and maintaining water quality in the watershed.
With the goal of protecting critical fishing habitat and water quality, the information will then be compiled and made available to local and state agencies for zoning and permitting decisions. The information will also provide a framework to develop a watershed management plan.
Versailles Pond Fish Way Phase I - Complete
With a little teamwork and some elbow grease 17 Thames Valley Chapter volunteers with DEEP oversight met 9am, Sunday, 22nd and by 1pm had disassembled and hauled away 55 decaying wooden baffles of the Versailles Pond fish way. Thank you Volunteers!!! Great Job...
FirstLight's Inaugural Run and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Scotland Fish Lift on World Fish Migration Day
Thames Valley TU representatives Ray Schaefer, Gene Cyr and John Preston attended the presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Scotland Dam Fish Lift featuring Robert Klee, Commissioner, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Unfortunately no fish were lifted during the demonstration of the fish lift at the Scotland Dam. According to Steve Gephard Supervising Fisheries Biologist (DEEP IFD) who oversees the Diadromous Fisheries Program and the Habitat Conservation and Enhancement Program there won't be much movement of diadromous fish until the water reaches 50 degrees... as we all know the water temps this spring are just starting to warm-up. But hopes are high with the now run-of-the river and fish lifts along the Thames River watershed.
For some interesting reading and insight on the diandromous fishery in CT see 2016 Report
World Fish Migration Day Celebration April 21, 2018
FirstLight's Inaugural Run and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Scotland Fish Lift on World Fish Migration Day!
By invitation only the Thames Valley TU will be sending a representative to the presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Scotland Dam Fish Lift featuring Robert Klee, Commissioner, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
World Fish Migration Day Celebration:
For all our efforts and support in improving fish passage in this watershed, we have also received an invitation for the chapter and its members to visit FirstLight’s fish passage facilities at Taftville and Tunnel Generating Stations, also scheduled for April 21, 2018. These facilities will be open to the public from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. With the opening of the Scotland Fish Passage, all of FirstLight’s Fish Passage facilities are in operation throughout the Shetucket and Quinebaug Rivers. We are excited to offer the public a unique opportunity to see and visit two of our stations. More information will be provide at out April 16 Chapter meeting
TVTU Embrace a Stream Merrick Brook Project Update
The data collections on Merrick Brook and Beaver Brook have given us a lot of insights into how these drainages function. While one would hope that a trout stream system would start cold and stay cold along is entire length, both of these streams are cool to warm in their headwaters and gradually cool off as ground waters join the flows (Fig 1). The temperature loggers told us a lot about where the water is warm, where the critical cold water enters and identified some possible actions that could be explored to improve the cold water habitats of the streams. Actions to be explored include: beaver control, modifying pond outlet structures to limit over pouring of warm water or possible dam removals.
The flow data has told us a lot about how much water is present, and where in the system it is originating. As an additional side benefit, the flow data has proven of great interest to the local towns’ highway departments. While they had designed road crossing based to estimated flows for the size drainage, actual data has allowed them to reevaluate the size and type of structure that are needed for long term safe road crossings. Sharing data directly with the towns has also created a way that we could open discussions on bring fish passage into the town’s design of road structures.
The Thames chapter’s cooperation with the Connecticut DEEP on this project has insured that our finds are being included in habitat management decisions. Additional fish population evaluations and support with proper establishment of the flow gauges have been short term benefits of this cooperation. As a result we have located two new, small, cold tributaries with brook trout populations (Pinch Brook and unnamed tributary) that were not previously known. We have identified locations where additional information is needed and are planning additional water temperature monitoring sites this spring. In short the Embrace a Stream, has been a spring board for active habitat evaluation with DEEP that will hopefully result in future projects that will preserve and enhance the cold water habitat for trout in this drainage.
TVTU Attends Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for The Completion of the Sprague Land Preserve
It was the work of too many people to name, First Selectman Cathy Osten said, that ensured 630 acres of forest and open space in Sprague will be protected as a land preserve.
Osten and many of those who made the Sprague Land Preserve a reality were on hand at the site Thursday to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of EPA cleanup efforts there.
EPA officials at the state and local level, area preservationists, hunting and sport groups and local officials..."
Osten, also a Democratic state senator for the 19th District, said the town initially purchased a 280-acre parcel and subsequently added two more properties.
“The first property had 18 acres that were contaminated,” Osten said. The site was a former skeet-shooting club and lead was among the contaminants, she said.
“Previous selectmen made a commitment that we would clean the property up,” she said. The EPA offered its assistance in the $8 million cleanup effort and for the past three years, the federal agency and the town worked toward that goal.
“Today we are all done with the cleanup,” Osten said. “It’s open for passive recreation. We allow hunting up here, and have a whole host of things that happen up here.”
The preserve straddles the Shetucket River in Sprague and crosses over the town boundary with Franklin, where it’s accessible by using Holton Road.
The first land purchase happened in 2007, followed by others in 2009 and 2011. And the town also is looking at adding other properties to its land preserve.
“We’re looking to add some 2,000 more acres and be around the 3,000-acre mark,” Osten said. It will do that through a mix of private donations and land acquisition grants, she said.
The preserve is a big boon to anyone that enjoys fishing, hunting, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, canoeing and other activities.
The above was taken from a Norwich Bulletin article. For the complete article See Here.
Thames Valley TU Awarded $22K Grant for Versailles Pond Fish Way
Thames Valley TU is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant to refurbish the Versailles Pond fish way. We plan to start deconstruction on Sunday Nov 22 starting at 9:00 to help remove old wooden baffles from the fish way in Versailles (a village of Sprague). TVTU volunteers and our Conservation Committee will be assisting DEEP with the project. We’ll also assist with installing new aluminum baffles at a later date, but first the old baffles need to be removed and disposed of. The fish way allows anadromous fish access to Versailles pond and upstream to the Little River.
We will meet below Versailles Pond off Paper Mill Road in Versailles. You’ll see a paved pull-off and gate. DEEP will be unlocking the gate for access and parking. See location map below.
Details and what to bring: There are a total of 55 baffles, the baffles are 4’x8’ (with cutouts) and made of ¾” pressure treated plywood. There are 8 stainless steel bolts in each baffle that need to be removed so they can be dismantled and disposed of. Much of our time will be spent unbolting the baffles, hauling them out of the fish way then loading them for disposal. TVTU is responsible for transporting and disposing the baffles so we also need some volunteers that have pick-up trucks that are willing to haul the old plywood. Please bring a cordless impact driver or socket wrench and sockets if you have them, and wear gloves and work boots. The fish way will be dry so no need for waders or rubber boots.
FirstLight's Scotland Dam Update
(September 2015) - As promised the following document was used for the presentation and update on the status of the Scotland Dam at our September Membership meeting.