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Watershed News Summer 2020

President’s Address
One of the great pleasures and challenges of death. It is well documented that black, brown
being a lifelong environmentalist is trying to and poor folks suffer disproportionately from
grab hold of the breadth environmentalism’s these health issues. This is the environmental
many facets. For many of us, it starts with a variety of the enduring racism in our country,
heightened awareness of non-human nature – where some lives appear to matter less
wildlife and ecology, botany and natural than others.
history, hills and mountains, the ocean, lakes This past April we celebrated the 50th Earth
and rivers, wilderness. Once we awaken our Day and it was a time to note the expansion of
curiosity about the natural world, there seems environmental concern across the globe, even
to be no limit to the possibilities of discovery. as we acknowledged the increasing severity of
At a certain point we become aware that there many problems. Our current historical
are threats to the health of the nature we moment is a reminder of just how important
treasure. We take note of trash and pollution. the environment is – in all its myriad
We become witnesses to habitat destruction dimensions. In so many ways, how we treat
and threats to other species. We grow fearful the Earth is a reflection of how we treat
of the dire consequences of our changing each other.
climate. Such awareness, balancing curiosity For this environmentalist, our beautiful,
and wonder with concern, makes us into biologically and culturally diverse, wild and
activists, since we can’t sit idly enjoying the inhabited watershed is more precious than
beauty and complexity while we watch ever. I hope you and your loved ones are out
it destroyed. enjoying it this summer, experiencing the
Another aspect is developing awareness of the tremendous healing it can give. We at the
threats to human health and well-being from a WRWA renew our commitment to help protect
polluted environment. Unsafe drinking water, it for future generations of all races.
air pollution, and toxic materials present in In solidarity with the watershed,
homes and on the street where children play
threaten the most vulnerable among us with Brian W. Conz
chronic health problems that lead to early WRWA President

Westfield River Watershed Association News 1

Bill Rose Memorial As we prepare for the possibility of receiving
another of these settlements it feels important to
Fly-Fishing Clinic emphasize that we play no role in soliciting these
We are on for the Bill monies! We are merely a third party – a non-profit
Rose Memorial Fly- environmental organization – identified by the
Fishing Clinic on courts as an appropriate recipient. We are pledged to
Saturday August 22! use such funds in a responsible way which benefits
The event will take the lands and waters of the Westfield River.
place, as in years past,
at the Rt. 20 pull-out Changes to the Board
across from the
Hilltown Community The WRWA Board of Directors is welcoming two
Health center, from new members this summer, and also saying farewell
9-12. As in years past, to a few.
we will be teaming up Lauren DiCarlo is an Assistant Professor of
with the Western environmental science at Westfield State University
Massachusetts Fly- specializing in restoration ecology and conservation
Fisherman and together we will provide instruction of at-risk wildlife and ecosystems. Her past work
on casting and equipment, fly-tying, and and research has included tracking coyote and deer
stream ecology. movement on Cape Cod, studying spiders in Costa
Since this is an outdoor event held at a spacious Rica, removing invasive trout species in Arizona,
location, we are feeling confident that it can be rehabilitating sea turtles in Texas, mapping tree
done safely. However, the hosts of the event will carbon sequestration in Spain and the Northeast US,
be wearing masks and we ask that all participants and determining how restoration of prairie and
do as well! wildfire impacts native bees. Quite a resume! She is
excited to join the 2020 WRWA board.
Hope to see you on the 22nd!
Daizha Baptiste-Johnson is a new student board
member. She is studying environmental science at
Settlement monies Westfield State University and is excited to work
with the WRWA in the interest of protecting and
Over the years the WRWA has been the recipient restoring the integrity of the natural resources in the
of settlement funds which have helped to make our watershed through numerous outreach and
programming and other activities possible. When a education projects.
business or organization is found to be in violation
of the Clean Water Act (or some other Stepping down from the board are long-time
environmental law) the fines accrue daily and can members Allan Ouimet, Timblin Judy, and Phil
quickly become very expensive. Instead of facing Sousa. We are grateful for their many years of
the prospect of paying the penalty in full, service to the Association and look forward to
defendants often choose to settle the case and one seeing them around.
of the stipulations is that the settlement funds be
donated to a non-profit, often one associated with
an environmental cause.

Westfield River Watershed Association News 2

Good Reads: Yellow Earth by Upcoming Events
John Sayles. Bill Rose Memorial Fly-Fishing Clinic
Saturday August 22 (see above)
2020. Haymarket Books. 416 pages.
Fall River Clean-ups
Film enthusiasts may
As of now, we are planning on moving forward
recognize the name of John
with our annual Fall river clean-ups. These are
Sayles. He’s made many films
held in conjunction with the Connecticut River
from Eight Men Out about
Conservancy’s ‘Source-to-Sea’ clean-up event.
the famous White Sox
PLEASE consult with our website and Facebook
scandal of 1919, Matewan
page for updates, as the events will be contingent
about the union battles of
on Covid-19 status in the region.
West Virginia, and The Secret
of Roan Inish, a tale of people Westfield Clean-up, Meadow St. parking lot,
and nature on the west coast south of the Great River Bridges
of Ireland. The films really capture the sense of the Agawam Fall Cleanup, Pynchon Point on Sat.,
places they’re set in. Several of Sayles films have Sept. 26th, 9-1
engaged environmental themes, focusing in
particular on the deep connections between culture
and nature.
Sayles also directed music videos including Bruce
Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’!
Well, in addition to being a prolific director and
screen writer Sayles is also a novelist. His most
recent novel is Yellow Earth and it tackles the
North Dakota oil boom of the early 2000s. In
classic Sayles fashion, the book explores the many
perspectives and experiences that radiate out from
the place, Yellow Earth, a fictional town
experiencing the extraordinary changes associated
with the boom. The cast of characters include oil
field roughnecks and truck drivers, Native
American entrepreneurs and activists, drug dealers
and grifters, wildlife biologists, geologists, and
school teachers, among others. The result is an
intimate and multifaceted portrait of the extractive
economy and the juggernaut that is the fossil
fuel industry.

Westfield River Watershed Association News 3

Species Spotlight: ‘She Turned Me Into a Newt!’
When we finally got some rain after almost three
weeks it felt like such sweet relief and the woods
were filled with the sweet smell of fragrant ferns,
and the fungal aroma moist humus and decaying
forest litter. While out for a walk, I happened upon
a beautiful red eft, creeping along the path. After
the initial excitement I’m ashamed to say the
words from Monty Python’s Holy Grail came to
mind instantly! ‘How do you know she’s a witch?’
‘She turned me into a newt!’
Notophthalmus v. viridescens, the red spotted newt,
is the second most widely distributed salamander in
North America. The animal pictured here is in it’s
Satellite image of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010.
terrestrial ‘eft’ stage. RSNs live 4-7 years on land, Source: NASA
eating a variety of arthropods, insects, eggs, larvae
and other protein filled snacks, before returning to
lakes, ponds and slow moving unpolluted rivers
and streams to live out their adult lives and breed.
At this adult stage they turn green and the red spots
are more pronounced against the darker body. This
aquatic adulthood is what makes these creatures
newts – newts are salamanders but not all
salamanders are newts.

And speaking of reptiles...

By Tim Judy
I also was out for a walk, in my case around the
Whiting Reservoir, next to Mt. Tom. It’s a very
pleasant and beautiful place, approx 3-4 miles
around when starting from the parking area near the
entrance at Rte 141 in Holyoke. I had just looped
around the northern end when I came upon this
rather impressive fellow, a Northern Copperhead.
To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what it was. I’m
originally from Ohio and and while I have a vague
memory of seeing one in Kentucky, and was aware
of the presence of Timber rattlers in this area, I had
no idea that copperheads were found this far north.
I was, however, pretty confident it was venomous
based on the triangular head although I had also
noticed the absence of a rattle.

Westfield River Watershed Association News 4

They are very rare and according to the Mass Unfortunately, that fact did not spare this one,
Audubon web site, “endangered in Massachusetts, because two days later, I returned to the same general
and, under the Massachusetts Endangered Species area, and at the southern end of the reservoir on a
Act, it is illegal to kill, harass, or possess this snake.” side trail, I found what I presumed to be the same
2019 Revenue
2019 Revenue
Total: $9,950
Total: $9,950 2019 Expenses
2019 Expenses
Total: $5,460
Total: $5,460
snake. Somebody had killed it. Such a shame.

5% 5% 4% 4%
% 2019

2019 Revenue Total: $9,950 2019 Expenses Total: $5,460

45% 45 49
% 49% 45%4% 4551
% 51%

45% 49% 45% 51%

Memberships and
and contributions:
$4,817 $4,817 Program: $2,762
Program: $2,762

Grant/CLF Settlement:
Settlement: $4,500 General and Administrative:
General and Administrative:
$2,614 $2,614
Sales/raffles: $127
Memberships and$127
contributions: $4,817 Printing
Program:and Postage:
$2,762 and Postage: $84
CD Interest: $506
CD Interest:
Grant/CLF $506 $4,500
Settlement: General and Administrative: $2,614
Sales/raffles: $127 Printing and Postage: $84
CD Interest: $506

Assets ending
2019Dec. 2019 Assets ending
2018Dec. 2018
Checking . . . . $6,898
. . . . $6,898
(reconciled balance) Checking . . . . .Checking
. . .$2,914. . . . . . . .$2,914
Assets ending Dec. 2019 Assets ending Dec. 2018
C/D's . . . . . . . . $23,182
C/D's . . . . . . . . $23,182
Checking . . . . $6,898 (reconciled balance)
C/D's. . . . . . . . . C/D's.
. . . .$22,676
Checking . . . . . . . .$2,914
. . . . . . . . . . . .$22,676
Total assets . . .$30,080
Total. assets
C/D's . . .$30,080
. . . . . . . $23,182 Total
. . . . . . .. ....Total
. .. ..$22,676
. .$25,590
assets . . . . . . .$25,590
Total assets . . .$30,080 Total assets . . . . . . .$25,590
Westfield River Watershed Association News 5
Watershed board members
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: Jake Lehan 577 Western Ave, Westfield, MA 01086 364-3413
Treasurer: John Pelli 32 Laro Road, Westfield, MA 01085 562-0182
Sheryl Becker 142 Beekman Dr, Agawam, MA 01001 374-1921
Daizha Baptiste-Johnson (Student rep) 91 Three Rivers Road Wilbraham MA 01095 309-2740
Kristen Couture 42 Spruceland Rd., Enfield, CT 06082 860-818-9083
Lauren Di Carlo 15 Angelica Drive, Westfield, Ma. 01085 572-8609
Julianne Griffiths 2 Town Line Circle, Bridgewater, MA 02324 774-222-5005
Ron Lucassen 39 Rachael Terrace, Westfield, MA 01085 568-4252
Julieanne Sobon
Dianne Snyder 6 Park St., Westfield, MA 01085 562-6126
Heather Wyman 38 Rosedell Dr, Westfield, MA 01085
Honorary Directors
Dan Call 78 Granville Road, Unit 10, Westfield 01085 364-0993

Westfield River Watershed Association News 6

PO Box 1764
Westfield, MA 01086-1764

Westfield River Watershed
Association Newsletter In This Issue
Summer 2020 President’s Message .............................. 1
Bill Rose Memorial
Fly-fishing Clinic .................................... 2
Settlement monies ................................. 2
Changes to the Board ........................... 2
Good Reads: Yellow Earth .................... 3
Upcoming Events .................................. 3
Species Spotlight:
‘She Turned Me Into a Newt!’ ................ 4
And speaking of reptiles ........................ 4
Financial report....................................... 5

Westfield River Watershed Association News 7

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