Dam Removal and Restoration on East Putney Brook
Located in scenic southeast Vermont in the Village Westminster West, East Putney Brook is a prime wild native brook trout stream with headwaters in an undeveloped forested area. Currently, however, there is a dam that separates the upper section from the lower section of the brook. This dam, like so many in the northeast, no longer serves any purpose. It has stood for years, simply preventing all forms of aquatic life from passing. This means that downstream wild and native brook trout are cut off from certain stretches of the stream. This barrier leaves brook trout and other aquatic organisms vulnerable to seasonal and long-term changes in the stream environment, such as drought. Our chapter and our partners at American Rivers, Connecticut River Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, and private landowners, have planned a project to remove this useless dam to reunite the two stretches of stream habitat. The dam removal will be an extended process, requiring engineering design, permitting, and hiring contractors. Once the removal process is completed, we will begin the restoration of in-stream habitat and riparian habitat. This will involve providing in-stream habitat structures and planting native riparian species to ensure the health of the stream at the former dam site. After the physical aspects of the project are finished, we will focus on public outreach. This will emphasize the importance of dam removals on our coldwater rivers and streams, and gain support for important conservation work. Dam removals like this one are high-impact projects, both for their positive impact on wild fisheries through increased stream connectivity, and for their highly visible nature, facilitating public outreach and awareness.
Saxtons River Restoration
The Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative was awarded $32,000 by the High Meadows Fund for a restoration and flood resiliency project along Saxtons River. The project is being managed by the Windham County Regional Commission. The Connecticut River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited donated $3,000 toward the riparian tree planting part of the project and on May 14th members of the chapter joined the Collaborative in planting over 400 trees along the river.
Check out this video on a previous stage of the project. http://windhamregional.org/news/saxtons-river-video
Brook Trout in the Classroom
For 2017 the chapter expanded the number of schools it is providing financial and/or educational support to for Trout in the Classroom. The schools now include Academy School and BAMS in Brattleboro, Newbrook School in Newfane, Athens-Grafton School in Grafton, and Charlestown Middle School. In addition, Mitch Harrison, President of the Connecticut River Valley Chapter, has done the program with his students at Vilas Middle School in Alstead for eight years. Click on this link http://www.sentinelsource.com/features/education/vilas-students-raise-fish-eggs-learn-about-the-cold-river/article_1c4081e3-e2a3-522f-be01-fb3b3c37dcd7.htmlfor a story on the program. Click one of these links http://www.tu.org/TIC or http://vermonttroutintheclassroom.weebly.com/ to read more about Trout in the Classroom.