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Watershed News July 2019

President’s Message
Greetings WRWA members! Happy summer of 2019 this issue). As in nature, an organization must trans-
to all of you! I hope that you’re enjoying it so far in form the energy left behind by the departed and cycle
your canoes and kayaks, fishing rods and waders, or it back into its larger mission, drawing strength and
perhaps just walking or sitting in our wonderful water- purpose from memory and experience. I am personally
shed’s forests, meadows and riverbanks. sorry to say goodbye to Bill, but I am happy to con-
tinue his work as WRWA President.
All of us who take note of the natural environment that
surrounds us – the passing of the seasons, the migra- At this year’s annual meeting the WRWA welcomed
tions of fish and birds, the birth and death cycles of seven new board members to its ranks. These folks,
our wildlife – know that the world is always changing. representing different backgrounds and life experi-
Organizations like ours are no different and this year ences, will bring a diversity of perspectives that
we marked a sad change at WRWA with the passing of will surely breathe new energy into our organiza-
our long-time president and true lover of the Westfield tion, building on over 60 years of work by other
River, Bill Rose. Bill was our wise and kind shepherd watershed enthusiasts.
for many years and he will be sorely missed (please Brain Conz
see, board member Mike Young’s remembrance in WRWA President

In This Issue
President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
In Memory of Bill Rose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Good Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Bon Voyage Mike! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Canoe Cruise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
North Pond Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Westfield River Symposium . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National
Fish and Wildlife Refuge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Ecological Connectivity on the
Westfield by Jake Lehan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fly-fishing Clinic in Huntington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Officers and Directors for 2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
In Memory of Bill Rose
by Mike Young role in organizing several of our spring
symposia at Westfield State, often
WRWA President Bill Rose passed
helped out with salmon fry stocking
away unexpectedly on April 26 of this
through 2013 when that restoration
year. Bill had served as president of
effort was abandoned by the U.S.
our organization for 8 of the past 10
Fish & Wildlife Service, and assisted
years, and his absence will be keenly
with the Atlantic Salmon Egg-Rearing
felt by the Board of Directors – not
Program (later Teaching with Trout) by
only for the loss of his leadership of
helping to get eggs out to the schools
the group, but for his upbeat disposi-
involved or leading the macro-inver-
tion and good-natured friendship.
tebrate identification activity when
One of my favorite experiences students released their young salmon/
with Bill came in the spring of trout in local streams late in the spring.
2006, during his first year as a board
As president, Bill also played a major
member. We were both volunteer-
role in the organization’s ongoing
ing to help out with the stocking of salmon fry along
efforts to “protect and improve the natural resources
Dickenson and Munn Brooks in Granville/South-
of the Watershed ...”, including supporting a major
wick – an activity related to the hoped-for restora-
storm drain labelling effort in Westfield, Southwick,
tion of Atlantic Salmon to the Connecticut River
Agawam (where Bill got Agawam High School
watershed, and something that had been a significant
students involved), Russell, Huntington, Chester,
focus of WRWA for a couple of decades. We agreed
Worthington and Becket that led to the placement of
to take on the stocking of the lower portion of the
more than 5000 colorful “No Dumping – Drains to
Granville Gorge, exiting the stream at Loomis Street.
River” labels between 2009 and 2018. He also shep-
That’s probably the steepest stretch of stream that
herded our group’s significant contribution to the
was stocked anywhere in our watershed, and it was a
“Save North Pond” campaign in Southwick in 2017 –
challenge to get down it lugging along several gallons
an ongoing enterprise. Another recent effort in which
of water in a bucket that also contained hundreds of
Bill took the lead was in working with Phillip Hall,
½-inch salmon fry. We’d pause every 50-100 feet to
a local scout, to construct and place monofilament
splash out a few more fry, and helped each other over
fishing line collectors at several locations within the
downed trees and around small cliffs. We enjoyed
watershed. And, of course, there’s all the other mis-
the challenge.
cellaneous stuff that comes up, like coordinating with
In the years that followed Bill became more and more other watershed groups, the Mass Rivers Alliance, or
involved with the group (in addition to serving as handling requests for interviews or information – Bill
president of the Western Mass Fly Fishermen), serv- did it all!
ing as Vice President from 2007-2009, then as Presi-
Our condolences go out to Bill’s family and friends,
dent from 2009-2013 and again from 2015 until his
and we thank the family for designating WRWA as
death – a longer stint as president than anyone else in
a recipient for donations in lieu of flowers – we’ve
the 65-year history of WRWA! As president, he took
received well over $1000 in memorial contributions
on increasing responsibilities for a variety of events,
as a result. We’ll miss his input and dedication tre-
particularly the late-spring Fish Ladder Open House
mendously, as well as the occasional meeting hosted
in West Springfield and the Fly-Fishing Clinic held
at his home, his warm smile and laugh, and his con-
in August or September. He also played a significant
cern for our watershed.
  Westfield River Watershed Association News  2  
Good Reads Canoe Cruise
Or guest speaker at this year’s This year’s Canoe Cruise was one of the very best in
annual meeting was local author recent memory! Over 60 paddlers came out to enjoy
and fellow watershed enthusiast the river on a picture-perfect June Saturday. There
John Sinton. Sinton published a were many new faces on the river and of course many
book entitled Devil’s Den to Lick- folks returning for their annual tour of the section of
ingwater: The Mill River Through river between the Great River Bridges and Robinson
Landscape and History (2018) State Park. At just over 500 CFS the river was run-
with Leveller’s Press. ning at just the right level. The acrobatics of the bank
swallows, the music of songbirds, families of mergan-
The book is a sweeping environmental history of
sers and a bald eagle rounded out the day. Looking
people and place in the Mill River watershed and it’s
forward to next year!
full of great stories of the characters and events from
floods and wars to agriculture and industry that make
the area so interesting. Sinton’s publication fits into North Pond Update
his work with the Mill River Greenway Initiative, As you may recall, the WRWA made a generous
which is an effort to bring the river’s history and ecol- contribution of $10,000 towards the goal of protect-
ogy to the surface for enjoyment of the general public. ing an extensive section of shoreline on North Pond in
We enjoyed hearing about John’s work and talk- Southwick, in 2017. This parcel abuts the Southwick
ing with him about what kinds of ideas we might Wildlife Management area and so contributes to a siz-
borrow for our own great river! Learn more about able protected area. We recently received word from
the Mill River Greenway Initiative at their website the Franklin Land Trust, the organization backing the effort, that the deal has gone through! A warm thanks
to all of our contributing members for their commit-
ment to land conservation in the watershed.
Bon Voyage Mike!
Mike Young is leaving us!!! After
many years of exceptional service to The Westfield River Symposium
the WRWA Mike has decided it’s time We’ve received some questions about our annual river
to move on to the next phase of his life symposium, which we did not hold this past spring.
in another part of the country. This was the first time in 20 years that we did not
hold the event and we realize it may have left a hole
In addition to his tireless efforts with
in your watershed schedule! Our plan had been to
schools in the salmon rearing program
offer the symposium in the fall, but unfortunately that
and storm drain labeling, Mike was the force behind
won’t be possible, due to a number of other events
so many of our regular events. Mike always seemed
we’ll be busy organizing. If you looked forward to
to take great pleasure in bringing his passion for Earth
the symposium every year, please be patient while
science to the public. We will miss his wise counsel
we reshuffle the deck of events and figure where and
in all things WRWA, but we wish him the best in his
when to hold it in the future.
future endeavors.

  Westfield River Watershed Association News  3  

Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
by Ann Barone trusts, and small watershed and sanctuary groups like
WRWA. The FOC has been instrumental in advocat-
We live, work and play in a watershed where vibrant
ing for significant federal, state and local legislation
and engaged communities, a healthy natural envi-
such as The Land and Water Conservation Fund and
ronment and an ecologically sustainable economy
its continued funding. The Fannie Stebbins Memorial
are valued.
Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Forest Restoration Proj-
The Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was ect is one project of the FOC that is a collaborative
established in 1997 to conserve the abundance and venture to restore lands along the Connecticut River
diversity of native plants and animals and their habi- in Longmeadow.
tats in the 7.2 million-acre Connecticut River water-
Westfield River Watershed Association is represented
shed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
at the quarterly meetings. At the June meeting, our
and Vermont.
WRWA rep chaired the first gathering of several
In 2005, a small group of committed partners formed small membership groups, meeting concurrently
the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and with the FOC’s executive board to begin to identify
Wildlife Refuge ( and address our shared interests as small groups. We
Friends of Conte (FOC) has become a thriving net- are hoping to take partner with other FOC groups in
work of more than 70 public and private organiza- securing grants for projects our WRWA board has
tions and individuals. Among the active members are identified such as establishing a Blue Trail along the
the federal and state Fish & Wildlife Departments, Westfield River and its tributaries to identify signifi-
state and national Audubon Societies, The Nature cant cultural, ecological and geographical locations.
Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, land

Ecological Connectivity on the Westfield by Jake Lehan

by Jake Lehan to have the greatest aquatic connectivity benefits and
resiliency benefits. This may prove especially useful
The negative impacts of dams on river ecosystems are
now that the Massachusetts legislature demonstrates
well documented. Rivers and streams are long linear
supports for climate action following the states 2018
ecosystems, making them particularly vulnerable to
Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Plan. Staff from the
fragmentation. What is equally damning and more
MA Division of Ecological Restoration, whose West-
abundant in smaller stream systems are the barriers
ern MA office is located at Westfield State University,
created where streams flow beneath roads. Like dams,
coordinate assessments of road stream crossings and
undersized culverts and bridges block aquatic organ-
host NAACC training sessions around the state.
ism passage, fragment river ecosystems and disrupt the
transportation of sediment to lower gradient systems. For more information about climate
adaptation and hazard mitigation visit
Fortunately, the Westfield River Watershed had a To learn more
majority of its culverts assessed for aquatic connectiv-
about the NAACC project and query the database visit
ity according to the North Atlantic Aquatic Connec-
tivity Collaborative (NAACC) protocols with funds
from the National Wild & Scenic Rivers program and Jake Lehan is a new board member and a local to the
hard work from local volunteers. This data supports watershed. Jake currently works with the MA Division
planning and decision-making by providing tools and of Ecological Restoration.
information on where culvert replacements are likely
  Westfield River Watershed Association News  4  
Fly-fishing Clinic in Huntington
The annual fly-fishing clinic, hosted in conjunction with the
Western Mass Fly Fisherman’s Association, will take place
on Saturday, August 24 at the Rt. 20 pullout across from
the Hilltown Community Health Center in
Huntington. There will be instruction on
casting, and demonstrations of fly-ty-
ing, along with a chance for the kids
to collect macroinvertebrates (think
“fish food”) from the stream. We’ll also
be remembering longtime WRWA presi-
dent and avid fly-fisherman Bill Rose, who passed
away in April. Check our website for more details as they
become available.

Officers and Directors for 2019

President: Brian Conz 999 General Knox Rd., Russell, MA 01071 572-8084
1st Vice President: Mark Damon 297 Western Ave Westfield 01085 977-1577
2nd Vice President: Ann Barone 3 Delancey St, Westfield 01085 374-9799
Secretary: Allan Ouimet 16 Russell Rd. Westfield 01085 539-0964
Treasurer: John Pelli 32 Laro Road, Westfield, MA 01085 562-0182
Sheryl Becker 142 Beekman Dr, Agawam, MA 01001 374-1921
Kristen Couture 42 Spruceland Rd., Enfield, CT 06082 860-818-9083
Danielle D'Amour East Longmeadow, MA -----
Julianne Griffiths 2 Town Line Circle, Bridgewater, MA 02324 774-222-5005
Bill Hardie 40 Rocky Brook Dr., Russell, MA 01071 862-3255
Scott Hathaway 4 Holcomb St, Westfield, MA 01085 -----
Tim Judy 37 Mountain Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040 569-9018
Jake Lehan 577 Western Ave, Westfield, MA 01086 364-3413
Ron Lucassen 39 Rachael Terrace, Westfield, MA 01085 568-4252
Dianne Snyder 6 Park St., Westfield, MA 01085 562-6126
Phillip Sousa 29 Yankee Circle, Westfield, MA 01085 568-3982
Heather Wyman 38 Rosedell Dr, Westfield, MA 01085
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  5  

PO Box 1764
Westfield, MA  01086-1764

Westfield River Watershed
In This Issue
Association Newsletter President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
July 2019 In Memory of Bill Rose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Good Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Bon Voyage Mike! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Canoe Cruise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
North Pond Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Westfield River Symposium . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National
Fish and Wildlife Refuge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Ecological Connectivity on the
Westfield by Jake Lehan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fly-fishing Clinic in Huntington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

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