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Watershed News September 2018

President’s Message
Hi Everybody,
The summer season is coming to an end and we are The river was low at the start of the summer and then
approaching our year end activities. This is the time by mid-summer we had too much rain, raising the
the WRWA gets ready for the “source to sea” clean river above safe levels for canoeing, swimming, and
up. We do our section of the Connecticut river where fishing. The level appears to be lowering at this time
the Westfield River joins. If you are concerned about and hopefully we can resume the activities we enjoy
the health of the river, then please join us for a morn- in the fall on the river.
ing of cleaning up the river on September 29th. SEE YOU ON THE RIVER!!!!
It is also the time off the year when the board starts Bill Rose
to plan the activities and agenda for the coming year. WRWA President
We welcome any suggestions for new and exciting
activities from both our members and non-members.
The film festival, symposium, spring cleanup,and the In This Issue
fly fishing clinic were all big successes this year and President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
are planning to have them again next year. We will be
meeting in January to finalize our adventures for the Fall River Cleanup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
coming year. Fishing on the Westfield River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
We have to change with the times. The by-laws have Fly Fishing clinic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
to be reviewed and revised. The board also needs to Wild & Scenic Westfield River
recruit new members as some current ones are retiring ‘Watershed Blitz’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
and moving out of the area. We need to have at least
Rainbow Trout Found in a Refrigerated
12 board members to continue being effective. If you
‘Aquarium’ in the Westfield River . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
have an interest in the WRWA, then please consider
joining us. You can make a difference. Wild & Scenic Film Festival – Another Chance! . 5
Officers and Directors for 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Fall River Cleanup
This fall’s River Cleanup Day is scheduled for Satur- at or (413)977-1577 for the
day, September 29th. We’ll meet at 9:00, starting from Westfield group, or Bill Rose at brose1564@gmail.
two areas. One group will meet at the Meadow Street com or (413)786-0195 for the Agawam group.
parking lot (across from Westfield School of Music)
and cover areas in Westfield, Russell, Huntington,
and West Springfield; the other will meet at Pynchon
Point (the mouth of the Westfield River) in Agawam
and cover areas near the mouth of the river and along
the Connecticut River in the immediate area. We
expect to work until about 1:00, although if you can
only make it for part of that time, we’d still be happy
to have your help. As in previous years, we’ll supply
bags and gloves, and anyone participating should
wear clothes that can get dirty and wet. We’ve made
great strides toward cleaning up our river – let’s keep
it going! For more information, contact Mark Damon

Fishing on the Westfield River

by Bill Rose
Fishing on the river this year was difficult at best. In
the spring the water level was very low and by the
summer the rain had driven it too high. Hopefully it
will recede a bit come fall.
Below are some of my favorite places to fish.
Coming out of Westfield on route 20 there is a place
where the power lines go over the road and the river.
Access is a dirt road down to the river’s edge. Walk-
ing either left or right on the paths will bring you to
some slow moving water and then into fast rapids.
Another good area is before the turnpike bridge over-
head. There is a turn-off on the right side as you are
going north on route 20.
Fish you might catch at these locations are stocked
trout, native smallmouth bass, and silver fish (daze is
the local name).
If you like to fly fish, everybody has their favorite
flys. Some of mine are the woolly bugger, Goldie,
prince nymph, pheasant tail, and muddler minnow.
  Westfield River Watershed Association News  2  
Fly Fishing clinic Wild & Scenic Westfield River
by Bill Rose ‘Watershed Blitz’
by Meredyth Babcock
The Wild & Scenic Westfield River “Watershed
Blitz” is a yearly event focusing on one of the three
branches. This year marks our 25th anniversary as
well as the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic
Rivers Act!! A good year to celebrate so join us Sep-
tember 22nd from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. as we focus on
the unique characteristics of the West Branch from
Chester to Huntington.
Through this yearly event we educate and enhance
our volunteer’s riparian knowledge. Many of the land-
owners have offered to host a specialist along a seg-
ment of river that flows through or adjacent to their
property and join us adding their personal knowledge
of the area.
The teams are intentionally small and personal, with
six to eight individuals, heading out to a segment
with their chosen specialist. We start and end the day
in a larger group sharing and enjoying refreshments
sponsored by the Westfield River Watershed Associa-
This year the fly fishing clinic was moved to August tion. This year we will base out of the historic Chester
18th this year to avoid competing with the Eastern Railroad Station.
States Exposition in September. The hours were
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with most people coming Specialists UPICK – 10 to choose from
at 9:30 and staying until 12:00. Excellent weather Fish Biologist – Dave Christensen
helped to make it a big success with a total of 18 River Restoration & Dynamics – Carrie Banks
people attending, of which 10 were children of vari- Geology – Tarin Weiss
ous ages. We had fly casting instruction and fly tying Insect Tracking – Charley Eiseman
demonstrations. Although the river was too high to Plant Biologist – Julie Richburg & Amy Pulley (Wing
collect aquatic insects, we were able to collect a few and a Prayer Nursery)
minnows for viewing. History of Littleville Lake Kayak – Jeff Penn
Frogs & Newts – Andrea & Mike Howlett
People brought their own fly rods and we showed
River ecologist – Cindy Delpapa
them how to set up and cast and answered any other
History along the West Branch, hike the KAB Trail: –
questions around the use of the equipment. After
Dave Pierce
discussion it was agreed that the August date worked
Natural Riparian Communities – John Burns
best. Thanks to all the people that helped make it a
big success. We will have 10 amazing specialists exploring,
inspiring and answering your questions. The data and
observations gathered help us advance our knowledge

  Westfield River Watershed Association News  3  

Watershed Blitz event reminds us what is truly unique
and worth preserving about the Westfield river. It gives
us an opportunity to share the committee’s deep admi-
ration of and commitment to the Westfield River with
the community.
Call Meredyth to register 413-623-2070
Each team will walk a mile + along a wild & scenic
river segment, gathering data & sharing river wisdom.
The chance of getting wet is high, dress for success!!
Long pants, long sleeve shirts, sun hat and “od to bug”
Pack a lunch and lots of water, lets celebrate
of the designated river reach and support the need the Westfield!!
to expand the designation to include the head water If you are no longer able to walk the river corridor but
streams and tributaries in the future. want to hear what we discover we need volunteers to
The Watershed Blitz is a tremendous amount of fun help at the station and spreading the word!!
and an excuse to play on the river for the day!! The

21 Rainbow Trout Found in a Refrigerated ‘Aquarium’ in the Westfield River

By Diane Snyder
In the stifling heat of early July, I was snorkeling in
the river to get some relief. At the end of my forward
progress and energy, I came upon an un-moving
16-inch fish with a light red stripe along its midsec-
tion, laying peacefully on its side in a slight depression
in the sand. The water was cold there, colder than in
any other part of the river that I had been in that week.
The stately fish was so fresh and impressively dressed
in an upper crust buffet line of a pricey cruise ship.
with that red stripe, that it looked like a piece of art. I
I imagined trying a piece – it looked so good, and I
stared in disbelief. How did it get here? What hap-
don’t even like to eat fish.
pened that it was laying peacefully in 2½ foot deep
water in a pit that was just a bit lower than the other I continued snorkeling upstream and reached toward
sand around it. the shore when I quickly pulled away because the
water felt freezing there, and was uncomfortable on
A day later, I visited again and found that the fish had
this mid 90’s day. The water in the rest of the river
been partially consumed – starting from the head end
was considerably warmer.
and from the tail end, leaving the meaty center intact.
The skin that had no meat behind it, flapped slightly Suddenly, several large and smaller rainbow trout
with the movement of the water that flowed by. sped past me downstream, as I was going up. Then
several more scurried by. I had no idea that they were
It was so carefully eaten that the midsection of the
fish looked inviting, ready to be consumed by people
  Westfield River Watershed Association News  4  
there, when even more hastily churned the water and I realized that this was a voluntary prison. The rain-
passed by. What was all this commotion about? bows could not leave this cold water or they would
die trying to find another cold spot, which was not to
Then it hit me, I had stumbled upon a 30 foot long
be had anywhere that I swam that week. As I could
by 5 foot wide refrigerated fish aquarium except that
not proceed further upstream, (it was too shallow), I
it had no sides to it. The invisible aquarium was fed
turned around and floated downstream. The rainbows
by very cold springs that were pushing through the
again hurried past me in the opposite direction. This
sand, forcing very cold water upward, enough that it
horde of large beautiful rainbow trout looked frantic,
displaced the heated water coming down river. Jets of
and moved fast. They could not run away anywhere
uncomfortably cold water were able to cool a trough
else. They had to stay in this frigid oasis. And I felt
of water near a shaded spot by the shore, to keep it
that they realized that they had no food in there,
cold enough for the rainbow trout to stay alive in the
except for each other.
heat of the summer.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival – Another Chance!

by Mike Young
Last spring WRWA co-sponsored the initial local
screening of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League
(SYRCL) Wild & Scenic Film Festival, with a show-
ing that attracted more than 100 attendees to Dever
Auditorium at Westfield State. That was intended to
be the first of five screenings in western Massachu- University on Tuesday October 23, starting at
setts, but due to weather and technical difficulties 6:30 p.m. and running until about 8:15. The range
two of the other screenings didn’t go off as smoothly of subjects is very broad – including a documentary
as planned. As a result, WRWA is sponsoring, along focused on Blue Ventures, a group helping local
with the Wild & Scenic Westfield River Committee, populations in eastern Africa to avoid the perils of
Greenagers (a teen environmental group from Great overfishing; an adventure video centered on cycling
Barrington), and Westfield State University, a final and rafting through regions in northern British Colum-
showing in commemoration of this 50th anniversary bia that have been or could be affected by dam failures
of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and 25th anniversary associated with mining operations; the inspirational
of the designation of portions of the Westfield River tale of dam removals on the Elwha River on the Olym-
as the first wild & scenic river in Massachusetts. pic Peninsula in Washington state; a very brief and
occasionally hilarious unofficial history of America’s
This will be an abbreviated screening, focusing on the
national park system; a video “letter” from a young
films from the second half of the original showing –
Canadian, who moved north from Montreal to Baffin
so, if you missed out the first time, or weren’t able
Island, to his half-Innuit son; and finally a look at wild
to stay for the entire program, here’s a chance to see
and scenic rivers in the Northeast featuring, among
7-8 short films (ranging from 4 to about 25 minutes)
others, the Farmington River of western Massachu-
focused on rivers, adventure, and the environment.
setts and Connecticut. The event is free and open to
The event will again be held in Dever Auditorium the public (suggested donation of $5 for adults, $3 for
(inside Parenzo Hall) on the campus of Westfield State students/seniors). We hope to see you there!

  Westfield River Watershed Association News  5  

Officers and Directors for 2018
President: Bill Rose 39 Sunset Terrace Feeding Hills 01030 786-0195
First Vice President: Brian Conz 999 General Knox Rd., Russell, MA 01071 572-8084
Second Vice President: Allan Ouimet 16 Russell Rd. Westfield 01085 539-0964
Secretary: Mark Damon 297 Western Ave Westfield 01085 977-1577
Treasurer: Mike Young 721 West Rd. Westfield 01085 562-8498
Ann Barone 3 Delancey St, Westfield 01085 374-9799
Tim Judy 37 Mountain Rd. Holyoke 01040 569-9018
Ron Lucassen 39 Rachael Terrace Westfield 01085 568-4252
John A. Pelli 32 Laro Road, Westfield 01085 562-0182
Aaron Reyes Northampton, MA 01060 572-8380
Phillip Sousa 29 Yankee Circle Westfield 01085 568-3982
Henry Warchol 2 Sackville Road Westfield 01085 562-3467
Honorary Directors:
Dan Call 78 Granville Road, Unit 10, Westfield 01085 364-0993

For more information on WRWA’s activities, check our website at

  Westfield River Watershed Association News  6  

PO Box 1764
Westfield, MA  01086-1764

Westfield River Watershed Association Newsletter
September 2018
In This Issue
President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Fall River Cleanup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Fishing on the Westfield River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Fly Fishing clinic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Wild & Scenic Westfield River
‘Watershed Blitz’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Rainbow Trout Found in a Refrigerated
‘Aquarium’ in the Westfield River . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Wild & Scenic Film Festival – Another Chance! . 5
Officers and Directors for 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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