You are on page 1of 29

Winter 2004

The President's Message

Dear Westfield River Watershed members and supporters:

Thanks for your support of WRWA through your annual membership dues. Those dues cover the
basic operating expenses of our Association, and give us the resources to take on a variety of
local projects. The new year is looking like a particularly busy one for WRWA, with both old
and new programs on the horizon. As we have for the past several years, WRWA is providing
equipment and support for the Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program (ASERP) in several local
schools this winter/spring. If you'd like to see a tank in operation, stop by the Elementary
Science Education classroom at Westfield State College during our 10th Annual River
Symposium on March 27. The theme of this year's symposium is "habitat" and the keynote
speaker will be Wayne McCallum, director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and
Wildlife. A variety of talks in the morning will be followed by one or two local field trips in the
afternoon. We're hoping to exceed the turnouts of approximately 150 that the last two symposia
have attracted. We also anticipate continuing our tradition of offering volunteer assistance for the
state salmon fry stocking program in April and May. The schedule of local stocking days should
be available on our website by early April, and WRWA usually plays a primary role in recruiting
volunteers for one or two weekend days. Other spring events include our Annual Dinner meeting
on May 6, the open house at the fishway in West Springfield (date to be arranged), and the canoe
cruise on the lower Westfield River on June 5.

Several newer initiatives are also slated to begin in the next few months. The most ambitious of
those projects is a storm drain stenciling program, for which WRWA has received a grant of
$950 from Northeast Utilities. During the summer months, with the help of local scouting
groups, we are planning to stencil hundreds of storm drains in the towns of West Springfield
(supported by the NU grant) and Westfield (supported by general operating funds of WRWA).
There will definitely be opportunities for WRWA members to get involved in this project - keep
an eye on the website for details, or contact Joan Pearsons, who's taking the lead on this project.
Gabe Khatchadourian is working on putting together a fly-fishing derby in early April - an event
that we hope will become an annual spring ritual and may even raise a little money for the
Association. Finally, the Education Committee, under the guidance of Carl Grobe, is working to
find and archive stories and photographs of the 1955 floods along the Westfield River. We're
planning to hold a commemorative event in August, 2005 - marking the 50th anniversary of
those floods. If you have, or know of some one who has, personal stories or materials relating to
the floods, please contact Eileen Rannenberg, who's agreed to compile a list of potential sources
for this project.

Again, thank you for your support. We hope that you'll find time to become personally involved
in one or more of these projects during the coming months - they provide wonderful
opportunities for connecting to your watershed!

Mike Young

10th Annual River Symposium

by Carl Grobe

Time flies! Saturday, March 27 is the date of our annual Westfield River Symposium and this year is
our tenth Symposium! For any of you who have never attended this free event, it is a program
dedicated to exploring and learning about our watershed and some of the issues most important to the
river, the surrounding land areas, and the inhabitants of those areas. The morning program includes a
keynote speaker, multiple sessions on specific topics, and displays from organizations and individuals
with ties to the watershed.

The theme of the Symposium this year is "Habitats," and our keynote speaker will be Wayne
MacCallum, Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife). Session topics will
include the design of sustainable cities, historical uses of the river, old growth forests, terrestrial
habitats and organisms, stream studies, and conservation strategies for the Watershed.

The program will again be held on the Westfield State College Campus in the Savignano Auditoriums
(formerly the Wilson Auditoriums, site of the Symposium in the past). Registration will begin at 8:00
am, and the program will begin at 8:30. Registration is FREE, and a complimentary continental
breakfast will be provided. The morning sessions will conclude at 12:30. For those who are interested,
two field trips will leave the Auditoriums at 1:30 pm.

More detailed information about the Symposium will be posted on

our website( You may also obtain more information by calling Carl Grobe at
572-5304. We hope to see all of our members on Saturday, March 27! Please stop by our display to
say hello and to see the latest information about your organization.


by Mike Young

For the fifth year, WRWA is involved in providing equipment and/or technical support to local
schools participating in the Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program (ASERP). In addition to the three
public schools that participated in the program last year (South Middle School in Westfield, Memorial
Elementary School in West Springfield, and Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington), we've
added the Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick this year. The participating teachers and liaisons
attended a full-day workshop on January 13, held this year at Greenfield Community College, and
approximately 300 eyed-up salmon eggs will be delivered to each school by the middle of February.
Teachers and students control the rate at which the eggs and fry develop by controlling the
temperature in the 29-30 gallon aquarium tanks where the salmon live until they're stocked into local
streams in May. Initially, tank temperatures are typically in the 30s, but as the release date nears the
tank temperature is gradually raised to match the temperature of the stream in which the fry will be
released. Most schools have been feeding the young salmon brine shrimp for several weeks before the
release - the trick is to keep the tank temperature low enough that the fry won't need to feed until after
the April vacation week! Last year several WRWA volunteers helped with the releases, including
assistance with environmental surveys at the release sites. Let me know if you'd be interested in
helping this year - it's a great way to help. 

January Planning Meeting

by Mike Young

The WRWA Board of Directors met on the morning of Saturday, January 24, 2004 at Westfield
State College, continuing a tradition of annual planning meetings. In the past these get-togethers
have focused on planning for the River Symposium, general goal setting, and discussion of
possible future directions for the organization. While many of those things came up in one way
or another at this year's meeting, the focus was on the development of a budget for 2004. Thanks
to the efforts of Ken Taylor, our treasurer, and the Audit Committee from last spring (Gabe
Khatchadourian, Rob Bristow and myself - with help from local CPA Laurie Padykula), the
Executive Committee had already come up with a reasonable projection of our basic operating
expenses for 2004 - including costs for the 2004 River Symposium. On the 24th, the Board's task
was to decide on our priorities for the remaining money, estimated at approximately $2,900. The
Education and Stewardship Committees met separately to discuss their priorities for the coming
year, and then the entire group came back together to rank the various ideas that had been put
forward. The items that were funded are: (1) $950 for storm drain stenciling in Westfield
(matching the $950 grant we've received from Northeast Utilities for stenciling in West
Springfield), (2) $550 for continued support of the Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program,
including some new equipment for the Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick, expendable
items to be used at all four of the Watershed schools participating in the program this year, and
funds to support a meeting of the local teachers involved in the program, (3) $250 to support the
development of a booklet commemorating the 1955 floods along the Westfield River, (4) $250 to
support this year's canoe cruise, (5) $200 to fund the fishway open house to be held in May at the
DSI Dam in West Springfield, and (6) $200 to provide start-up funding for a Fly-Fishing Derby
to be held in early April. The list includes a number of new initiatives and provides an ambitious
target for our organization to meet for the year. We hope that each and every member will find a
way to get involved in Watershed issues during this new year - we can certainly use your

Vernal Pools
by Matt DelMonte

Vernal pools are temporary bodies of fresh water that typically fill with water in the autumn or
winter due to rising ground water and rainfall and remain so through the spring and into early
summer. Because a vernal pool is usually dry for part of the year, it can't support breeding
populations of fish; however, they do support a variety of rare plants and animals including
amphibians and invertebrates. In fact, some organisms must live in vernal pools for at least part
of their life cycle. These organisms are called obligate species. Examples of vernal pool species
in Massachusetts include the wood frog, the spadefoot toad, fairy shrimp, and mole salamanders.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Fish and Game's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species
Program (NHESP) serves the important role of officially "certifying" vernal pools that are
documented by citizens. Finding vernal pools is the first step for protection. Some certified
vernal pools are protected in Massachusetts under the Wetlands Protection Act regulations, as
well as several other federal and state regulations and local bylaws.

According to NHESP, 52 vernal pools within the Westfield River watershed have been certified
in only seven communities. A survey of potential vernal pools produced by the NHESP has
identified 748 potential vernal pools throughout the basin that require further field investigation.
If you would like more information on vernal pools, or would like to certify a vernal pool in your
community, contact the NHESP or visit them on the web

Upcoming Events
Hike Hubbard Brook (Sunday, March 28)

Join the outing club for a stroll along one of the prettiest little brooks in Western Mass, Hubbard
Brook in Granville State Forest. Here the spring runoff cascades over numerous small falls as the
water tumbles down a heavily forested hillside. Along the way, we'll stop and discuss the power
of water to shape the watersheds in which we live. We'll also look for signs of an early (we hope)
awakening spring. Meet at the Brooks Shopping Plaza in Southwick at 9 a.m. Expect to return
about 1 p.m. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a small pack to stow your shed layers,
a small lunch, and plenty of water. Call Tom or Nancy Condon at 564-0895 to pre-register for
the trip or with any questions.

Fly Fishing Derby (Saturday, April 3)

Are you a fly fisherman or fly fisherwoman? Then this is your opportunity to show off your
skills and win great prizes. On or about April 3rd, WRWA will be hosting our first annual
Majestic Westfield River fly fishing competition. The event will be held along three different
stretches of the Westfield River on Rt. 20 around the Sheraton Inn. Rules are not yet set, but will
be simple. For example, you can use any kind of flies, any length of rod, and any line weight.
Also, only 4 fishermen will be at each location at one time. Competitors will have 20 minute
turns. Judges will be on site with measuring tapes. These are just some examples of rules, but are
not finalized yet. A minimal entry fee of $15.00 will be required, which will go to preserving the
Westfield River as one of the best fly fishing attractions in New England. So come to the river
and bring some friends and let's all have a good time. Please bring your own gear. This
competition will be a catch and release event. Please feel free to call me with questions or
suggestions. Gabe Khatchadourian (568-3005).

Hike the Unkamits Path (Saturday, May 1)

We'll hike approximately 4 miles to Round Top and then to Chester on the Unkamits Path, with a
check on a possible vernal pool for its life forms. Meet at 9:30 a.m. across the brook from Carms
Restaurant in Chester (18 miles west on Route 20 from Westfield). Call hike leader Henry
Warchol at (413) 562-3467 for more details.

Annual Dinner Meeting (Thursday, May 6)

Join the Board of Directors for the WRWA Annual Meeting, to be held this year on Thursday,
May 6 at the Westwood Restaurant in Westfield (on Rts. 10/202 about a mile north of the center
of Westfield). This year's dinner will begin with a social hour from 6:00 to 7:00, followed by a
buffet dinner. Invitations will be mailed to members in April. Contact Kathy Meyer (413-568-
4252) for more information or to register.

Keystone Arches Ceremony (Saturday, May 22)

The Friends of the Keystone Arches will be hosting an opening ceremony for the Keystone Arch
Bridges Trail at the new elementary school in Chester, MA, one mile from the trailhead. The day
will feature Civil War re-enactors, crafters, railroadiana vendors and exhibitors, fly fishing
demonstrations, kayak demos, special postal cancellation, music, food and other surprises.
Weather permitting, it will be held outside on the grounds of the new school. Students will
participate with art and displays relating to the trail and local history. Hikes will be led all day to
see the marvelous structures at the heart of this enterprise. For more information check out the
Friends of the Keystone Arches Website at:

Spring 2004
The President's Message
Dear Westfield River Watershed members and supporters:

If you're thinking "I just got a newsletter a few weeks ago", you're right! But, lots of planning for
spring and summer events has been completed since that February newsletter arrived in your
mailbox! We'd also like to let you know how well the 10th Annual Westfield River Symposium
went on Saturday, March 27. You'll find articles about those topics in the pages that follow.

The theme of this year's symposium was "Habitat", and I'd like to direct your attention to two
issues regarding governmental funding of programs that have had significant impacts on the
habitats of our Watershed: 

(1) The first is the Atlantic Salmon Restoration program, which has been in high gear for more
than a decade, but with disappointing returns of salmon over the past several years. As Ted
Williams, conservation editor for Fly Rod & Reel magazine, has pointed out, the salmon
program has enjoyed major success in restoring aquatic habitats along the Connecticut River and
its tributaries and has led to the recovery of numerous other species including shad, sea lamprey,
blueback herring and American eels. The program has also spawned a number of educational
efforts, including the ASERP, which WRWA has helped introduce to several public schools in
the Watershed. Despite the disappointing numbers of returning salmon, it seems premature to me
to terminate the program at this point. To do so would mean giving up just at the moment when,
for the first time in two centuries, we do have both a population of Atlantic salmon returning to
the Connecticut River and excellent habitat to welcome them back. It would mean giving up
without understanding what problems in the river or in the North Atlantic are responsible for the
weak returns. Funding for the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission was cut
significantly in the FY 2004 federal budget, and further cuts (possibly complete elimination of
funding) are being considered for FY 2005. If you support continuation of the program for at
least a little longer, please write to your U.S. Senators and Representative to express that

(2) The second issue is funding of the Riverways program in the state of Massachusetts.
Riverways, part of the Department of Fish & Game, has been an important asset to WRWA in
our efforts to protect and restore the natural resources of the Westfield River Watershed. They
were instrumental in planning and carrying out the removal of two unused dams in Becket during
2003, have supported ASERP in the Becket schools, are overseeing some culvert replacement
projects within the Watershed, and are currently partnering with several groups, including
WRWA, to survey the Watershed's culverts and bridges to assess the impacts they are having on
stream continuity. Despite its small size, Riverways is a very effective program and deserves to
see its funding restored to the FY 2003 level of $399,880. Again, your support is needed - in the
form of letters to your State Senator and Representatives.

As always, I hope that this newsletter will point you toward a rewarding volunteer activity or
adventure within our Watershed.


Mike Young

10th Annual River Symposium

by Carl Grobe

I hope that all of our members, their families, and friends were able to attend our 10th annual
Westfield River Symposium on Saturday, March 27th. The event was a great success! More than
160 attendees filled the Savignano Auditorium on the campus of Westfield State College to listen
to speakers, view displays, and talk with representatives of a variety of governmental, non-profit,
and citizens groups about river and watershed issues. In attendance were several local celebrities,
including State Representative Don Humason, a long-time supporter and member of the WRWA.

After welcoming comments from William Lopes, Senior Vice President at Westfield State
College, and Mike Young, President of the WRWA, the event was opened by keynote speaker
Wayne MacCallum, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Following
the keynote address, attendees could choose from concurrent speaker sessions on topics
including sustainable cities, old growth forests, beaver issues, trail projects, river continuity
studies, and conservation strategies for the Watershed. Displays at the Symposium this year
ranged from a fly-tying demonstration, Westfield State College student research projects on
several aspects of the health of local river habitats, attempts to return the American Chestnut to
the Watershed, birds of western Massachusetts, wildlife photography by a local photographer,
and representatives from numerous state and local agencies and organizations. And, of course,
the WRWA had a display highlighting our current projects, up-coming events, and soliciting
volunteers for our impending fry stocking and fish ladder monitoring activities (if you didn't
have a chance to volunteer for these activities at the Symposium, see related articles in this
Newsletter for opportunities). In the afternoon, participants were invited to attend one of two
field trips. The first trip was a walk through Stanley Park to view and discuss local habitats. The
walk was led by Westfield State College biologist . The second was a trip to view the Littleville
and Knightville flood control dams. Participants were guided by Tom Wisnauskas from the
Army Corps of Engineers, and were able to go inside the dams. In short, there was something for

The annual Symposium is a large undertaking, and would not take place without the considerable
efforts of our many volunteers. Many hours are invested in reserving the facilities, ordering the
food and beverages, soliciting a keynote speaker, organizing the exhibitors, arranging the
speaker program, organizing the afternoon field trips, producing and printing the posters and
programs, advertising and promoting the event, setting up the tables and audio-video equipment,
and the hundreds of other tasks that result in an educational and enjoyable Symposium. A heart-
felt thanks goes out to all of our participants and volunteers, as well as to all of you who attended
the event!

The Symposium was sponsored this year by your membership support, Westfield State College,
and Westfield Gas and Electric Company. We sincerely hope that all of you who attended the
Symposium enjoyed the event and learned something new about your local River and Watershed.
If you have any suggestions or would like to volunteer to help with next year's Symposium,
please do not hesitate to contact any one of us on the Board of Directors. 

When it Rains,
Pollution Goes
Down the Storm Drain
by Joan Pearsons

Did you know ... that every time it rains, water collects litter, motor oil, antifreeze, pet waste,
excess fertilizers and pesticides, leaves and grass clippings, and other waste materials as it runs
off our roofs, lawns, driveways and streets towards the storm drain?

Contrary to popular belief, most storm drains do not connect to a water treatment facility. As a
result, untreated rain water drains directly to our local streams, wetlands and rivers via the storm
drain system.

Volunteers are needed to stencil our local storm drains with a "Do Not Dump - Drains to River"
message. These stencil messages remind residents and businesses not to dump hazardous
materials into or near storm drains. You can help us stencil storm drains and pass out related
literature to area residents from 9:30 am to noon on the following Saturdays this summer:

July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

August 7, 14, 21, 28

If you would like to volunteer for any of the above dates (or know of a group who would be
interested in participating in this community project) please contact me at (413) 736-5208. 

Stream Connectivity Surveys

by Mike Young

In conjunction with the Massachusetts Riverways program and The Nature Conservancy,
WRWA is sponsoring two Stream Connectivity training sessions in mid-June. Each session will
train participants to survey bridges and culverts in the watershed, with the goal of identifying
those structures that pose the most significant obstacles to the movement of fish and other
wildlife along stream corridors. The Nature Conservancy has received a grant to support
tabulation of the data and some remediation of structures that are problematic. What we need is

Evaluation is best done when stream flows are low, so we're planning to try to complete the job
this summer and fall. The work involves documenting the dimensions of the structures,
evaluating their condition and possible impacts, and taking photographs from both the upstream
and downstream sides. Most sites take about 15 minutes to complete. Since there are about 1000
such structures within the Watershed, this is clearly a significant undertaking. We're hoping to
train about 10 two-person teams at the June 12 and June 13 sessions (attending either session will
prepare you to work on your own). 

Volunteers are provided with maps and a few basic pieces of equipment (tape measure, clipboard
and data sheets, disposable camera, safety vest). Finding the sites is usually pretty
straightforward, but occasionally provides a bit more of a challenge. I've participated in two
surveying days last summer and fall, and enjoyed both. It's a chance to get out into the
Watershed with some new acquaintances - likely finding some spots you'd never have thought to
visit and to accomplish a worthwhile objective. We're hoping that people will be able to spend
several days over the summer and fall to help finish the project off, but even if you can only
commit to a day, we'd love to have your involvement. If this sounds like something you might
enjoy, please contact me at 572-5741 (or via email to") and I'll fill you in
on the workshop details as they become available. 

Salmon Stocking Volunteers Needed

by Kathy Meyer

The Westfield River Watershed Association needs volunteers to help stock salmon fry in the Westfield
River and its tributaries on April 17 and May 1. The salmon fry stocking is part of the effort to restore
Atlantic salmon to the Westfield River. The fry stocking takes about 4 hours and can be fun for the
whole family. Bring water, a light lunch and river boots or waders, if you have them. On April 17 we
will meet at 8:00 AM at Westfield State College (at the entrance to the Commuter Parking Lot) and
will be stocking in the Westfield and Granville areas. On May 1 we will meet at 8:00 AM at Gateway
Regional High School in Huntington and will be stocking in the Huntington area. For further
information visit our website at or call Kathy Meyer at (413) 568-4252.

Are you interested in helping, but busy on these days? The State is stocking every day except Sundays
from April 12 through May 5 and you can volunteer directly with them. Helpers are especially needed
during the week. You can contact Caleb Slater via email or call him at 508-792-7270 (extension 133)
for a complete list of dates and meeting places. Stocking dates for the Westfield Watershed (with
meeting points in the Westfield area) are also avaiable
Upcoming Events
Hike the Unkamits Path (Saturday, May 1)

We'll hike approximately 4 miles to Round Top and then to Chester on the Unkamits Path, with a
check on a possible vernal pool for its life forms. Meet at 9:30 a.m. across the brook from Carms
Restaurant in Chester (18 miles west on Route 20 from Westfield). Call hike leader Henry
Warchol at (413) 562-3467 for more details.

Annual Dinner Meeting (Thursday, May 6)

Please join us at our Annual Meeting and Dinner on Thursday, May 6 at 6:00 PM at Westwood's
Pub. We will enjoy a buffet style dinner at this beautiful new restaurant in downtown Westfield.
Joan Kimball of Riverways/River Restore will be our guest speaker, updating us on what her
program is doing in our watershed. The Board has been working very hard to expand WRWA's
programs to include more outings, speakers, and summer activities. WRWA President Mike
Young will briefly explain what we've accomplished and where we plan to go in the future. As
always, the chance to relax and talk with fellow WRWA members is always enjoyable.
Contact Kathy Meyer (413-568-4252) for more information or to register.

Wildflower Wander (Sunday, May 9)

There is more to a wildflower than meets the eye! On Sunday, May 6th from 10:00 to 3:00, join
Tom Condon, co-author of Wildflowers of the Smokies, for a salubrious springtime stroll to
reveal the wildflowers in this shade garden in Westfield¹s Stanley Park. Brush up not only on
identification of the flowers we see, but learn something of the origin of their names, medicinal
purposes or interesting pollination strategies. After investigating here, we may carpool to another
wildflower-rich location, yet to be determined. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Meet at Stanley Park
near Ed Piela Woodland Wildflower Trail and bring a lunch and drink. Heavy rain cancels. Call
Tom Condon at (413) 564-0895 to register or for more details.

Keystone Arches Ceremony (Saturday, May 22)

The Friends of the Keystone Arches will be hosting an opening ceremony for the Keystone Arch
Bridges Trail at the new elementary school in Chester, MA, one mile from the trailhead. The day
will feature Civil War re-enactors, crafters, railroadiana vendors and exhibitors, fly fishing
demonstrations, kayak demos, special postal cancellation, music, food and other surprises.
Weather permitting, it will be held outside on the grounds of the new school. Students will
participate with art and displays relating to the trail and local history. Hikes will be led all day to
see the marvelous structures at the heart of this enterprise. For more information check out the
Friends of the Keystone Arches Website at:
Fly Fishing Derby (Sunday, June 6)

As you can tell, the fly fishing derby has been postponed for a couple of reasons. One of them is
the schedule of the salmon fry and the trout stocking, also the high levels of water did not help.
Therefore, the event will be rescheduled for Sunday, June 6. Please contact Gabe
Khatchadourian at (413) 568-3005 if you are interested in participating or would like to help
with the event. Remember, we¹ll have great prizes including cash prizes for the winners so make
sure to participate and register early.

Allen Bird Club Field Trip (Sunday, June 20)

On Sunday June 20th, join Al & Lois Richardson for a 3/4-day trip that combines mountain
biking with bird watching along the East Branch of the Westfield River between Knightville and
Chesterfield. Meet at the turnout for Gardiner State Park just off Rt. 112 in Huntington at 6:30
a.m. with a mountain bike and binoculars. Contact Al & Lois at (413) 736-0846 for further
information on this Allen Bird Club outing.

Summer 2004

The President's Message

I hope you enjoyed this almost perfect summer, as much as I have. For me, enjoying the summer
meant riding my new bike on the back roads of our beautiful watershed. As I explore side roads,
I am amazed at the amount of new homes and whole subdivisions that have sprung up in the last
few years. Seeing this development up close and at the slower pace of biking reminds me how
important WRWA's mission of preserving the Westfield River Watershed is. It also makes me
realize how very lucky we are to have the open space that we still have here.

As the new WRWA President, I want to thank outgoing President Mike Young for his two years
of dedicated service to WRWA. Mike set a goal for WRWA to have programs throughout the
year, instead of the heavy concentration of activities in spring that has been our strength. While
we continued the very successful programs WRWA has traditionally done in spring, Mike's
vision came to fruition with three programs that have been going strong all summer long.
Stenciling storm drains in West Springfield and Westfield, surveying bridges and culverts
throughout the watershed, and cleaning trash from river access points along Highway 20 have
been very active summer projects that you can read about inside. All three of these efforts
directly impact the quality of our watershed.

To continue our goal of making WRWA an organization for all seasons, we have several outings
and speakers planned for fall fun. For fall work, we have two River Clean-Ups. So, mark your
calendars and plan to join us for one or more of these activities!

Kathy Meyer,

Storm Drain Stenciling Update

by Joan C. Pearsons

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has come out so far this summer to stencil the storm
drains in Westfield and West Springfield. Cleaning and stenciling storm drains not only benefits our
neighborhoods and towns, it also benefits the entire network of water and land that make up our local
watershed. Our communities have to comply with new federal and state stormwater requirements,
primarily NPDES Phase II, and these stenciling efforts directly contribute.

The following groups have worked hard to protect water quality by keeping pollutants out of the storm
drains. We have had the help of West Springfield Pack 83 and 87, along with Troop 83, and Westfield
Pack 110. I would also like to say thank you to WRWA members who have come out to stencil storm
drains on Fridays and Saturdays this summer.

Volunteers are still needed to stencil local drains with the message "DO NOT DUMP DRAINS TO
RIVER". These stencils remind residents and businesses not to dump hazardous materials into or near
storm drains. The only thing that belongs in our storm drains is stormwater!

Volunteers are needed to help us stencil storm drains and pass out related literature to area residents
from 9 A.M. to noon on Saturdays. If you would like to volunteer for any Saturday in August (or know
of a group who would be interested in participating in this community project) please contact me at
(413) 736-5208. 

Fly Fishing Competition

by Gabe Khatchadourian

Despite weather threats, more than 30 anglers and more than 10 volunteers showed up for our
first annual fly fishing competition. We gathered at BG Sporting to talk about the rules.
Excitement filled the air and anglers had looks in their eyes which translated into enough with
the talk.... let's go fishing!

We designated a 3.5 mile stretch of the river for the competition. Volunteers took position, some
with folding chairs and a book and some on their feet discovering the fishing trails, as they
awaited the call to measure a fish. The river was stocked with some big trout which added to the
excitement of the event. It was a beautiful scene with all the fly fisherman in their waders casting
delicate flies, trying to read the water movement and the minds of the fish. Some anglers were
familiar with the Westfield River and so they went to their favorite holes, others not familiar
with the river took some time studying the river to catch the prize fish. I had a great time
watching the patience and determination of these guys. Lots of trout were caught but only the
bigger ones where measured.

Overall, anglers were very happy with the event. At our booth, all the donated prizes were raffled
off and we had an auction at the end of the day to help raise some more money. We also offered
a fly wallet free with each new membership. Everybody felt like a winner that participated in this
special event. 

First prize winner was Lou Volpi whose 2 fish totaled 34.5" in length. Second was Richard
Buckelew with a total of 34.25" -it was pretty close! All anglers thanked the organization for our
efforts and asked us to hold the event again next year (which we will). The event raised some
money and got a lot of businesses to recognize WRWA as a worthy cause to donate to.

I have to highlight these businesses and they are B G Sporting, Carpet Warehouse, Dave¹s
Pioneer Sport Center, Ken¹s Lox and Load Bagelry, Majestic Rivers, Mercier Carpet, Moore
Rug, Red Rock Pizza Restaurant, Rocky¹s, The Sign Shop, Southwick Country Club, Valley
Sports Center, Wal-Mart in Westfield, Feed and Supplies, Westwood Restaurant and Pub, and
the Westfield YMCA. I would like to take a minute and thank Jack Hayward for a great publicity
campaign that put us on TV and in the local papers. I also would like to thank Kathy Meyer for
running the show that morning as well as the volunteer judges for doing such a great job.

Although we had a successful event, I still wish we had had more people. So, I ask of you to be
more involved in all future activities that WRWA holds, even if it is for a short time. Showing up
will help promote the WRWA efforts to nonmembers. Also, if our name is always out there, we
will get support from more businesses which will help us sponsor more events. Thank you all.

52 and Counting
by Kathy Meyer

Fifty people attended our 52nd Annual Meeting and Dinner on May 6th at Westwood's in Westfield.
Joan Kimball, Director of the Riverways Program, brought us up-to-date on the latest activities of her
program, including a statewide project to measure bridges and culverts in Massachusetts to insure safe
passage for aquatic life as roads are built or repaired. Mike Young is coordinating this project for

Jeff Penn, WRWA member and Huntington resident, won the Waite Award for his work in preserving
land by working with landowners to protect and preserve their property, as well as generously giving
his time by serving on the Wild and Scenic Committee, Jacob's Ladder Trail Group and other
environmental issues. Jeff's enthusiasm and boundless energy on behalf of our watershed inspire all of

We were especially pleased that State Representative Don Humason joined us for this evening,
listening to what is important to us. A special thanks to Dan Call for heading the Nominating and
Waite Award Committee. 

Wild & Scenic Committee Update

by Bob Thompson

The Westfield River Watershed a great place to live and play with an added benefit being
segments of the River are designated as National Wild and Scenic River. The designation
occurred in 1993 and included 43 miles of waterways in the towns of Becket, Chester,
Chesterfield, Cummington, Middlefield and Worthington.

In February of 2002 an Application for Expanding National Wild and Scenic River Designation
of the Westfield River was submitted to the Department of Interior. The extension of Wild and
Scenic designation would include segments of the River along the West Branch, Middle Branch
and Main Stem. This would add to areas in the Town of Becket and bring the towns of
Huntington, Savoy, Washington and Windsor into the Wild and Scenic Designated towns. The
new segments proposed for designation are:
 Segments of the lower East, West and Middle Branches and Main Stem in Huntington.
 Upper East Branch in Windsor and Savoy
 Shaker Mill Brook in Becket and Washington
 Depot Brook in Becket and Washington
 Savery Brook n Becket and Washington
 Watson Brook in Becket and Washington
 Drowned Land Brook in Washington and Savoy
 Center Brook in Savoy
 Windsor Jams Brook in Windsor
 Center Pound Brook in Becket
These additions would increase the total Wild and Scenic designated and protected areas to 79
miles of waterways on the River and tributaries.

At this point the Proposal appears to have passed all of the hurdles and review periods and is
awaiting the signature of the Secretary of Interior. Once this occurs it will trigger a number of
celebrations and events along the River. Please look forward to the upcoming events and join the
Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Board for the festivities.

In the near future there will be the "East Branch Trail" celebration as well as local and regional
trails meetings. Also we look forward to meeting people at our booth at the Cummington Fair the
end of August.

In conclusion, on a rather sad note, Doug Poland of Washington has resigned form the Advisory
Board due to health concerns. Speaking for the entire Advisory Board I would like to thank
Doug for his years of service and wish him the best for the future. His commitment and passions
will be missed! 

A Trashy Problem
by Kathy Meyer

Last summer WRWA received several complaints about people picnicking in turnouts along
Highway 20 in Russell and Huntington and leaving copious amounts of trash. This problem
differs from the usual problem we see of people littering along the highways in that the areas of
complaint are directly on the Westfield River and the trash is generated because people come to
swim in the river. Using and enjoying the river is a good thing; the resulting mess is not!

After meeting with the Conservation Commissions in Huntington and Russell, the Jacob's Ladder
Trail Group, the State Police and the Highway Department, it became clear that there is no easy
fix to this vexing problem. The Highway Department would consider closing the most
problematic turnout (in Russell, across from the Country Furniture Store), but that would prevent
river access by everyone including fisherman and may shift the problem to another part of the
river. To reduce the size of the problem at this turnout, the Highway Department put up signage
to make it clear that one can park only in the turnout. In past years, numerous vehicles parked on
both sides of the highway and outside the turnout to access this natural river beach.

I recently talked with the Westfield Spanish American Association about the problem, since most
of the picnickers are Hispanic. While the Association didn't feel that it could do anything to
control the entire Hispanic population, they did help me translate some signs that say in English
and Spanish "Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Footprints - Please respect the environment
and other people who use this area. Remove your trash before leaving. Thank You." It is signed
by the WRWA and the Westfield Spanish American Association. I just put the signs up and will
be curious to see if it helps. If it doesn't work, I'll think of something else. If you have any other
constructive ideas on what can be done, I'd love to hear from you. Efforts on this issue will be

There is still trash, so I and other volunteers are cleaning the turnouts every Monday in summer
and the Highway Department picks up the trash promptly. The turnouts look better than they did
last year, but the problem is by no means "solved". I want to thank the volunteers who have
helped. I couldn't have done it without them. Thanks to Tom Eaton, Karin Vorwerk, Henry
Warchol, Mike Young, Gabe Khatchadourian, Ron Lucassen, and Jim and Karen Burrage.

Fishway Open House

by Mike Young

Sunday, May 23 turned out to be a great day weather-wise, but few fish were observed moving
past the DSI/FiberMark dam in West Springfield during WRWA's annual open house at the
fishway/eelway. Several shad and lampreys had been delayed overnight at the facility, but were
allowed to move on upstream early in the morning by Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and
Wildlife staffers. Some late afternoon visitors did get a chance to see a shad through the facility's
viewing window. Altogether more than 300 people toured the fishway/eelway, most having been
diverted from Rt. 20 by several brightly colored tagboard signs. They were greeted by WRWA
volunteers, who staffed some informational displays at the edge of the parking area and escorted
visitors on the half-mile walk to the fishway itself.

The fishway, which has been operational for nearly a decade now, allows a variety of species to
move upstream past the dam. During the spring DFW staffers monitor the movement of fish,
paying particular attention to migrating Atlantic Salmon. Most of the salmon are trapped and
taken to hatcheries, where they are used to produce the eggs that hatch into the fry that are
stocked each spring in the Westfield River and other tributaries of the Connecticut River. Every
tenth fish, however, gets a truck ride around the large dams on the upper Westfield River and a
chance to spawn naturally in some of the best salmon habitat in New England. The fish counts
from the West Springfield site (and also from the Holyoke Dam and others) can be accessed
online at 

Kathy Meyer did most of the organizing and publicity for this year's event, and Matt DelMonte,
Gabe Khatchadourian, Ron Lucassen, Kathy Meyer, Joan Pearsons, Eileen Rannenberg, Ken
Taylor, Henry Warchol, and Mike Young all volunteered to help with the information booth
and/or tours. 

Watershed Flora and Fauna

The Wood Turtle: Clemmys insculpt
by Matt DelMonte
The wood turtle is mostly a terrestrial reptile making its home along wooded streams and rivers
in the upper watershed. This turtle is considered medium sized and grows to be about 5-9 inches
in length. The wood turtle is so named because its shell (carapace) resembles a cross-section of a
wood grained branch. The body is tan or brown with yellow streaks and red to orange legs. The
wood turtle prefers streams with clear water and harder substrates but spends much of its time in
the fields and forests adjacent to these flowing bodies. It eats insects, worms and berries.

In Massachusetts, the wood turtle is classified as a species of special concern. This species is in
danger because of stream pollution, habitat fragmentation, extensive collection, and the
development along wooded streambanks.

(Image from

Upcoming Events
The Westfield River: Wild & Scenic (Tuesday, September 21)

Portions of the upper branches of the Westfield River were added into the National Wild and Scenic
Rivers System on November 2, 1993. The designated segments include: the West Branch from a
railway bridge 2000 feet downstream of the Becket town center to the Huntington-Chester town line;
the Middle Branch from the Peru/Worthington town line downstream to the confluence with Kinne
Brook in Chester; Glendale Brook; the East Branch from the Windsor/Cummington town line to the
Knightville Reservoir. There are 18.9 miles classified as scenic and 24.4 miles classified as
recreational for a total of 43.3 miles. An additional 34.8 miles are currently under consideration by the
Secretary of the Interior for designation. What is the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System? What
does this important distinction mean for the river and its surroundings? Why is the Westfield's
designation different from rivers in the west and in other parts of New England? What has the
designation achieved so far? Liz Lacy, of the National Park Service, will provide answers on Tuesday,
September 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Savignano Auditorium A in Wilson Hall on the campus of Westfield
State College. The talk is free and open to the public.

Annual River Cleanup - Day I (Saturday, October 2)

Our annual river cleanups are scheduled for October 2nd and October 16th. Last year we had a
fantastic turnout which gave us the opportunity to tackle more spots that needed to be cleaned. This
year I am hoping we will cover a larger area. We will meet both days at 9:00 AM at the Westfield Gas
and Electric Power station by the green bridge (off Meadow Street) in downtown Westfield. Please
register your name as a volunteer early so I can organize more areas to be cleaned. Again, volunteering
for a couple hours on any or both of these days will help the overall goal of WRWA. Please email or
call Gabe Khatchadourian (413-568-3005) with any questions or to register.

AMC Hike (Sunday, October 10)

Hike on Unkamit's Path on Sunday, Oct.10th (B3BC). See views of the environs from both Turtle
Bend and Shatterack Mtn's.. Bring water and a lunch. Meet at the Westfield City Hall parking lot at 59
Court Street at 9 am. Call Henry Warchol for details at 562-3467.

Stormwater Management Forum (Thursday, October 14)

Join us on Thursday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town of West Springfield's Municipal Auditorium
(26 Central St., 2nd floor) for a program on stormwater management. Several speakers, including Jim
Lyons (Town of West Springfield), Kathy Meyer (Westfield River Watershed Association), and
Dietrich Schlobohm (Naturalists' Club) will make short presentations, and a film from EPA will
probably be shown. We'll also be recognizing scouting groups that have helped with storm drain
stenciling in West Springfield over the summer.

Annual River Cleanup - Day II (Saturday, October 16)

Our annual river cleanups are scheduled for October 2nd and October 16th. Last year we had a
fantastic turnout which gave us the opportunity to tackle more spots that needed to be cleaned. This
year I am hoping we will cover a larger area. We will meet both days at 9:00 AM at the Westfield Gas
and Electric Power station by the green bridge (off Meadow Street) in downtown Westfield. Please
register your name as a volunteer early so I can organize more areas to be cleaned. Again, volunteering
for a couple hours on any or both of these days will help the overall goal of WRWA. Please email or
call Gabe Khatchadourian (413-568-3005) with any questions or to register.

Trees and Flowers along the Westfield River (Sunday, October 17)

Autumn is a spectacular time throughout New England. Join Nancy and Tom Condon for a stroll along
the Westfield River above Knightsville Dam to explore the wonders of the season. We will stop to
identify trees and flowers along the way and marvel at the process by which leaves change color.
Bring your binoculars to help identify those migrating birds as well. Pack a lunch, plenty of water,
dress for the weather, and wear comfortable shoes for the hike. Please call 413-564-0895 to register.
Meeting place is the commuter parking lot at Westfield State College and the trip will run from 9:00
a.m. til about 1:00 p.m.

A 'Brief History of Time' in the Pioneer Valley (Sunday, November 7)

Join Nancy and Tom Condon for a hike along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail to the top of Provin
Mountain. We¹ll take a leisurely pace up this gradually climbing ridgeline. We¹ll stop along they way
to explore the geologic past of the Pioneer Valley. The trail will take us past evidence of ancient
volcanic activity, continental collisions, and ice ages. We will also explore how this unique geological
history has shaped the flora and fauna of Western Massachusetts. The trail offers outstanding view to
the west all along the way; the views from the summit, near the Channel 22 transmitters, offer a 3600
panorama of the entire valley. Wear good hiking boots as the trail is rugged in places, dress for the
weather, and bring a lunch and water for the hike. Please call 413-564-0895 to register. Meeting place
is the pull-off on the north side of Route 57 at the Southwick/Feeding Hills Line and the trip will run
from 9:00 a.m. til about 1:00 p.m. 

Fall 2004
The President's Message
Does the Westfield River Watershed Association make a difference? This summer some of us were
stenciling storm drains in West Springfield when two little boys on bikes came over to watch us. As
soon as the older boy saw the fish on the stencil (which reads "Dump No Waste, Drains to River") he
told us he knew why we were painting the fish on the drain. "So people won't dump stuff down there
and kill the fish, " he remarked as he proudly told us how he put 10 salmon fry in the river this river
this spring. He added that he didn't want his fish killed!

As a student in Elena Martin's fourth grade class, he raised and then released salmon fry in ASERP
(Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program). He amazed us by instantly recognizing the connection
between what he learned in school and what we were doing on his street and articulating it better than
many adults could.

Here's what WRWA did to make this hands-on learning possible for one little boy in West Springfield.
WRWA, through your membership dues and contributions, provided the ASERP equipment for this
little boy's classroom. Mike Young, WRWA Board member, furnished technical support to Elena
Martin, the very dedicated teacher willing to do extra work to provide quality learning for her students.
Joan Pearsons, another WRWA Board member, organized the storm drain stenciling program.
Northeast Utilities gave funding for the supplies with some items donated by Wal-Mart (a WRWA
business member). Mike Young wrote the Northeast Utilities grant, while Joan Pearsons secured the
Wal-Mart donations and worked closely with Town Engineer Jim Lyons who lent stenciling project
support from the Town of West Springfield.

Does the Westfield River Watershed Association make a difference? Out of the mouths of babes, a
resounding YES! And we all can be very proud of what a difference it does make.

I look forward to seeing you at our symposium on Saturday, April 2 where we will be celebrating
another event to be proud of, the "Wild and Scenic" designation of an additional 39 miles of the
Westfield River.

Kathy Meyer,

Wild and Scenic

by Bob Thompson

Portions of the Westfield River's West, Middle and East Branches were the first in Massachusetts and
at this time one of only two rivers in the State to be designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.
This occurred in 1993 with 43 total miles of river designation existing in the Towns of Worthington,
Middlefield, Chesterfield, Cummington, Becket and Chester. But what are Wild and Scenic Rivers? In
1968 Congress created the "Wild and Scenic Rivers Act", which put forth the following:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation
which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational,
geological, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-
flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit
and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national
policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs
to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their
free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national
conservation purposes.

The designation is not a national park and generally does not place wilderness restrictions on the area.
The purpose is to try to keep the character of the river in tact. Responsible usage is allowed and
changes along the River are expected. The States River Protection Act places the greatest restriction
on usages within the resource area of the River. There is in place a Westfield River Greenway Plan,
and for the last eight years management has occurred using both State and local resources. The major
leadership role has been taken by the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Committee. The
make-up of the Committee is as follows:
Mercedes Gallagher, Becket
Bob Thompson, Chester 
(Dave Pierce, alternate)
Matt Barron, Chesterfield
(Denise Cormier, alternate)
Ben Forbes, Cummington
(Judy Moore, alternate)
Jeff Penn, Huntington
(Ed Grabowski, alternate)
Carl Lafreniere, Middlefield 
Debbie Kaczowski, Savoy
Vacant, Washington
(Georgette Keator, alternate)
Jim Caffrey, Windsor 
(Deborah Balmuth, alternate)
Helen Sharron Pollard, Worthington 
Joan Kimball, Commonwealth of MA (Jennifer Howard, alternate)
Liz Mikulecky Lacy, National Park Service (Jamie Fosburgh, alternate)
Chris Curtis, PVPC
Jocelyn Forbush, The Trustees of Reservations
(Jim Caffrey, alternate)
Dan Call, WRWA
(Mike Young, alternate)

In February of 2002, an Application for Expanding the National Wild and Scenic River Designation of
the Westfield River was submitted to the Department of Interior. The extension of Wild and Scenic
designation included segments of the River along the West Branch, Middle Branch and Main Stem
adding areas in the Town of Becket and bringing the towns of Huntington, Savoy, Washington and
Windsor into the Wild and Scenic Designated towns. The new segments include:

 Segments of the lower East, West and Middle Branches and Main Stem in Huntington.
 Upper East Branch in Windsor and Savoy
 Shaker Mill Brook in Becket and Washington
 Depot Brook in Becket and Washington
 Savery Brook n Becket and Washington
 Watson Brook in Becket and Washington
 Drowned Land Brook in Washington and Savoy
 Center Brook in Savoy
 Windsor Jams Brook in Windsor
 Center Pound Brook in Becket

These additions increase the total Wild and Scenic designated and protected areas to 79 miles of
waterways on the River and tributaries.

The Application was approved and signed by Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, and has been
submitted to the Governor's Office. Now it is time to celebrate and recognize those who have made
this extraordinary proposal a reality. When you read this article there will have been an initial
announcement celebration, an "Open House" Nov. 9th at Stanton Hall in Huntington. But this is only
the beginning; the Committee is in the process of planning a number of events along the River over the
next year, with a major event occurring some time in June, Rivers Month. I hope you can all take part
in some or all of the events and enjoy the Westfield River¹s exceptional opportunities.

At this time I would like to thank all of the Committee members for their efforts and commitment. To
Chris Curtis and those at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for valuable technical support and
genuine commitment to the project, your efforts are greatly appreciated. Thanks to Jeff Penn of
Huntington for the initial vision of the expansion. We need to recognize the Westfield River
Watershed Association, its Board and Members for their ongoing support. A very special and personal
thanks to Carrie Banks, Committee Coordinator, who keeps all of us on track. There was a Committee
member, Doug Poland of Washington, who did not live to see the Designation become reality, but
without whose efforts for the Town of Washington and for the Committee this extension may not have
become a reality. I believe that I speak for the entire group in saying that Doug is greatly missed. We
need to recognize the ongoing support of the residents and Select boards of the designated Towns for
their commitment and support. I am sure I have overlooked someone or group, and I do apologize.  

Please join us in enjoying the River. Take advantage to all of the ecological, educational and
recreational opportunities along the River, but remember to only leave footprints behind.

Robert Thompson, Chairman

Westfield River Wild & Scenic Advisory Committee 

Status of the Atlantic Salmon Restoration

Program in Massachusetts
by Caleb Slater
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Anadromous Fish Project Leader

Despite higher numbers of salmon returning this year on both the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers,
shortfalls in the federal budget may affect the Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program in Massachusetts
during 2005. We are waiting for the final budget numbers, due sometime in August, but it appears that
the Salmon Restoration Program in New England could be facing cutbacks next year. The US Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) is taking a close look at the cost of maintaining salmon hatcheries in
Bethel, Vermont and Nashua, NH. These hatcheries are the core of the salmon restoration programs on
the Connecticut River and Merrimack River, respectively. Closure of either of these facilities would
significantly reduce the restoration effort and signal the USFWS¹s withdrawal from 40 years of salmon
restoration in New England.

Whatever happens at the federal level, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife plans to
continue rearing salmon at our Palmer Hatchery. This facility can produce about 1 million salmon fry-
half the total we normally stock in Massachusetts. If we loose the participation of the USFWS, and the
1 million fry they supply each spring, we plan to discontinue stocking salmon most everywhere in
Massachusetts except the Westfield River. The Westfield has unique attributes that make it our best
choice for salmon restoration in Massachusetts:

 The Westfield joins the Connecticut River below the first mainstem dam at Holyoke- this
creates a clear path for fish migrating to and from the sea.

 The Westfield River watershed contains the largest contiguous blocks of forest, the largest road
less areas, and twenty years of salmon fry growth and survival studies identify the Westfield as
the best salmon habitat in Massachusetts.

 Salmon restoration on the Westfield works- each spring returns of sea-run salmon to the
Westfield River average 20% of the entire Connecticut River run.

 The fish ladder at DSI (the first dam on the Westfield) gives us the ability to trap returning
salmon and enumerate other migratory fish entering the river (no other Connecticut River
tributary in MA has a fish ladder).

 Public support for the program on the Westfield is high. The Division has good working
relationships with groups active in the watershed like the Westfield River Watershed
Association, the Wild and Scenic River Committee, the Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited,
and others. The number of local volunteers for fry stocking and fish passage activities is
excellent, and we continue to add schools in the area to the Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing
Program (ASERP). 

River Cleanup
by Gabe Khatchadourian

Another successful year cleaning our river. We had 52 volunteers. As you know this year again we had
2 days of clean-up. The first day we covered Rt. 20 East and one spot on Rt. 20 West. That same day
we cleaned under the green bridge as well as the public access on Meadow Street. Thanks to all the
volunteers that were there! We managed to pull everything out and to the road curbs to be picked up
by the city and state crews.

In the second clean-up we ended up having to go back to one spot that we did not finish the first day
on Rt. 20 East. It looked to me like a junk yard with car parts scattered all over the place. Volunteers
were digging up metal parts that were buried in deep dirt. Another group of volunteers went to Rt. 20
west by the old Big Y and cleaned that area. Others went all the way to Huntington. One group of Cub
Scouts and their parents cleaned part of the Little River behind Amelia Park. What a mess that place
Over all it was a very successful clean-up. Thanks to all the volunteers and their determination to
come and help a good cause. The total number of trash bags from both days was 93 bags -in addition
to bicycles, barbecue grills, tires, umbrellas, furniture, a television, metal parts, and you name it. I
have to say that all of our efforts are working because there is less trash as the years go by. So take
some credit for your efforts.

Next year I have an additional plan for the clean-up. I will be working to locate small brooks and
streams that need some TLC. We might have to be in canoes next year to access some of the little
brooks. I think just cleaning the main river is not enough if the sources which feed it are left dirty. So
start planning to help next year now. I know in a few years we will sit back and enjoy all the work we
have done. Please let me know if you have seen any spots on the river or tributaries which need
attention. I know a lot of you hike or fish or somehow visit the river. So, if you see anything that does
not look right, email me at Again, a big thanks to everyone that participated
in our efforts! 

Stream Connectivity Surveys

by Mike Young

During the past few months I've spent a fair amount of time, often in the company of another WRWA
volunteer, surveying some of the culverts and bridges that allow local streams to flow beneath our
roadways. Along the way I've discovered an abandoned stone arch railroad bridge alongside the
Shaker Farms Country Club in Southwick, several patches of poison ivy, and some truly scenic spots
in Russell and Chester. The goal of these surveys is to assess the extent to which the structures might
impede the movement of fish and other wildlife along stream corridors within the Watershed.
Surveyors fill out a brief survey form to record relevant characteristics of the bridge or culvert, make
appropriate measurements, and take photographs. In most cases, the process takes about 10-15 minutes
for each site. The is a joint project between the Massachusetts Riverways program, The Nature
Conservancy and WRWA, and we've held several training sessions for potential volunteers over the
past year and a half, including two sessions last June (led by Carrie Banks of Riverways and Alison
Bowden of TNC).

The data we collect will help project partners make good decisions about which structures to focus our
remediation or replacement efforts on. As of early November, we've now completed surveys for about
half of the 1000 structures in the watershed! Although we're basically done for this year, we hope to
finish this project off next summer and fall. If getting out into some of the upper portions of the
watershed while contributing to a worthwhile project sounds good to you, please let me know (via
phone, 413-572-5741, or email to I'll add you to my list of people to contact
next year when we get started again. In the meantime I'd like to thank the volunteers who've
participated in the surveys this past summer and fall: Marilyn Bekech, Kirsten Brobeck, Mark Damon,
Walter and Carol Grochmal, Tracy Hyde, Liz Lacy, Marj Lehan, Larry Myers-McElwee, Leon
Pothier, Beth Rothermel, Alex Trzasko, Henry Warchol, and Stanley Warren - your efforts are deeply
appreciated, and I'm hoping that many of you will be interested in helping out again next year! 

Recruit a New Member

by Carl Grobe

Along with the fall of autumn leaves and the impending arrival of snowdrifts comes the time of year to
renew our memberships in the WRWA. Each year, we try to expand our membership by attracting
new members to the organization. Under the direction of Kathy Meyer, our membership lists expanded
steadily. Now that I have taken over the reins from Kathy (as she takes over as President), I hope to
continue her successful campaign of steady growth in our membership.

To do this, I am asking for assistance from you, our current members. If you know someone who is
not a member of the WRWA, but should be, please recruit them! Many new members join our
organization after talking with a current member. Urge your friends, neighbors, and coworkers to join!
Explain the importance of the Watershed and our many activities! Tell them about the River Cleanup,
Fishing Derby, River Symposium, Annual Dinner, or your other favorite activity or event! Give them
a copy of our Newsletter (after you have read it yourself) so that they will want to get future issues!

If you prefer to have me do the recruiting, just let me know. Send the name and complete address of
any prospective member to me by email ( or by regular mail (Department of
Biology, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA 01086). I will send the prospective member a
membership application, membership brochure, and a letter inviting them to join our organization. I do
not include the names of nominators in this mailing, but will mention that a current member
recommended them for membership. Thank you in advance for helping to spread the Watershed word!

The Nature Conservancy Protects 285 Acres on

Gobble Mountain
by Bill Toomey (TNC)

The Westfield River Highlands is home to a wealth of natural resources, from pristine rivers and
streams to vast, intact forests. Here, wide-ranging animals such as black bear and bobcat roam freely,
and songbirds have the interior forest habitat they need to survive. Such a large, relatively untouched
landscape is an uncommon but welcome sight in southern New England.

Nestled within this important area is Gobble Mountain in Chester. Part of 100,000 acres of forest
buffering the Westfield River, Gobble Mountain is representative of the high-quality habitat found
throughout this landscape.
This summer, the Massachusetts Chapter purchased 285 acres on the mountain from the Twining
Living Trust, owners of the property for more than 15 years. The acquisition is the first for the Chapter
in this area since designating the Westfield River Highlands a priority landscape. 

Interestingly, data from Harvard Forest shows that much of the property was forested in the 1830s,
indicating that it has likely never been fully cleared. This makes the Gobble Mountain tract somewhat
unusual, as many Western Massachusetts forests were cleared in the 19th century to create sheep
pastures and to fuel the region's iron forges. 

In addition, the property is bordered by 1,275 acres owned by the town of Chester for water supply
protection, as well as the 870-acre Walnut Hill Wildlife Management Area. According to Westfield
River Highlands Program Director Bill Toomey, such proximity to other protected lands makes the
Gobble Mountain purchase even more significant. 

"Adding to the existing network of preserved forest is the key to successful, landscape-scale
conservation," he said. "By keeping large tracts of land intact, we enable the forest to withstand
periodic disturbances, such as fire, hurricanes or pest damage." 

By protecting this landmark site, The Chapter is building upon the efforts of other local conservation
organizations, such as the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Committee and the Westfield
River Watershed Association. With the opening of a regional office in Becket, Massachusetts, the
Conservancy plans to work in partnership with these groups to achieve common goals.

"We have an important opportunity to preserve the forest ecosystem on a very large scale," said
Massachusetts State Director Wayne Klockner. "We have been working with partners in this region
more recently on a range of conservation projects and look forward to more collaboration in the

The Nature Conservancy is working hard to protect additional lands in the Westfield River Watershed
and always welcomes the support of individuals who are interested is saving the unique natural
resources of the watershed. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the
efforts of the Nature Conservancy in the Westfield River Highlands or how you can leave a lasting
legacy for future generations please contact Bill Toomey at 413-623-0275. 

Help Wanted
by Kathy Meyer

Do you want to make a difference in our local environment? We know that you are interested in the
local environment or you wouldn't be a WRWA member. So why not take the next step and help us
make it happen? Please consider serving on WRWA's Board of Directors, where we have two
Briefly, here's what WRWA Directors do:

1. Attend Board Meetings (held one Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and one Planning meeting
in January).
2. Uphold the by-laws of the organization.
3. Help recruit WRWA members.
4. Lead /organize one or more event(s).
5. Help other Board Members carry out and manage the events that they organize

If you are interested, we suggest you attend a few board meetings to see what is involved. For more
information, contact Kathy Meyer at 568-4252. 

Upcoming Events
Winter Walk at Westfield Reservoir (Sunday, January 16)

Tucked into the hills of Montgomery is a pretty little reservoir. Around it winds a small trail through
hardwood and conifer forests. Join Tom and Nancy Condon as they explore this property on an outing
with Springfield's Naturalists' Club. We'll search for signs of resident animals and learn how they
survive this season. The trail is level and about one mile. Dress for the weather. Bring lunch, water and
a pair of binoculars. Meet at the Westfield High School on Montgomery Road at 10:00 a.m. We
should be back by about 2:00 p.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register, so if bad weather forces
cancellation we can contact you. 

Fish Restoration Program (Thursday, January 27)

Janice Rowan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Connecticut River Coordinator, will talk about the
Connecticut River Migratory Fish Restoration Program. The slide presentation, to be given at 7:30
p.m. in the Savignano Auditorium A (Wilson Hall) on the campus of Westfield State College, will
focus on Program activities and impacts in the Westfield River. One of the most visible components of
the Program has been the effort to reintroduce Atlantic salmon into the Connecticut River Watershed,
with upwards of a million salmon fry having been stocked in the Westfield River and its tributaries
each spring over the past decade. Restoration work has benefited a variety of other species as well, and
Jan is a dedicated and energetic proponent of all those efforts.  

Falling Waters (Saturday, March 26)

As the snows of winter melt away, the rivers rise in a torrent. Come join Tom and Nancy Condon and
the Naturalists' Club to explore a few of the prettier streams throughout the Westfield River watershed.
We'll visit some well-known and little-known waterfalls and share in their turbulent beauty. This is
mostly a driving tour with stops for short walks to scenic locations. Dress for the weather. Bring lunch,
water and a camera if you wish. Meet at the Commuter Parking Lot at Westfield State College at 9:00
a.m. We should be back by about 3:00 p.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register, so if bad weather
forces cancellation we can contact you. 

2005 Westfield River Symposium (Saturday, April 2)

WRWA will be hosting the 11th annual Westfield River Symposium on Saturday, April 2 at Westfield
State College. There will be indoor sessions during the morning, centered on the theme of "interacting
with the river". Speakers who have tentatively agreed to participate include Ed Klekowski (UMass
Biology Dept, who will show his film about the 1936 floods on the Connecticut and lead a discussion),
Dick Little (retired from GCC, who will speak on the geologic history of the area), Jim Lyons (Town
Engineer for West Springfield, who will show a film from the EPA and discuss stormwater
management), and Dave Billips (City of Westfield, who will speak and/or lead a field trip focused on
Westfield's wastewater management. Tom Wisnauskas, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has also
agreed to lead a field trip during the afternoon to the flood control dams above Huntington. Admission
to the symposium is free! Additional program information will be available as we get closer to the

You might also like