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Nutmeg takes it to the streams for spring cleanup

Ross Ogden moves a couch found near the Mill River along Congress Street April 28. Not far from there a TV satellite dish added was found. (John Kovach photo)

By Ron Merly

Our multi-stream clean-up was a great success thanks to outside members of the chapter.

Ross Ogden was the point person on the Mill and reported that only Ross, Bill Field and Dave Budds showed up on the Mill River. They worked hard for the three hours and removed a lot of trash.

Gian Morresi reported that he was the only member at the Saugatuck River. Three non-members showed up to help him at Devil’s Den and then they went to the fly-area on Ford Rd. to finish up.
Chuck Macmath was at the Pequonnock. He is on our Board of Directors as well as being a Boy Scout leader. He was able to get thirty scouts and twelve parents at the Pequonnock to remove an entire pick-up truck full of trash from the northern end of Beardsley Park beneath Rte. 8. Local fishermen also put their rods down and helped out with the clean-up. Only 2 chapter members were present.

On the Far Mill River in Shelton, chapter member and point person David Edgeworth reported that 15 people came out and they made a big difference on that stream, removing many bags of trash. Only David and our Treasurer Alan Boyd were members of the chapter out of those 15 volunteers.

It gets more and more difficult for me to donate over 20 hours of my time each week to an organization that has no interest in involvement. Paying your yearly dues goes to the National organization and does not benefit Nutmeg in any way, shape or form. Nutmeg needs volunteers. Was I asking too much for three hours of the memberships time to clean our local streams?

There are members who religiously attend our monthly meetings and benefit from the knowledge of a free speaker as well as eating free pizza (both of which the chapter has to pay for) but those same members never show up for our events. In case you are unaware, this is a VOLUNTEER organization and we don’t ask for much.

When most people join  T.U., they do so with the idea of making improvements on our local streams. How can we do this when only the Board of Directors and a handful of members are the only ones involved ? The BOD constantly has their hands full just trying to keep the chapter running. I am stepping down as President of the chapter this year after three years and out of 370 members, there is no one willing to take this position on. How sad is that?

I would like to gratefully thank all of the members and non-members who came out to make a big difference on our local streams. Clean, healthy water is what T.U. is all about and our local streams are better places thanks to you.

It’s up to anglers to stop ‘rock snot’

From the Connecticut DEEP

Your help is needed to prevent the spread of didymo (Didymosphenia geminata). This highly invasive freshwater form of algae (also called “rock snot”) has now been found in popular trout streams located in a number of northeastern states (New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia).

Didymo has the potential to alter food webs and degrade habitat in many Connecticut trout streams.

Didymo is typically found in shallow streams with rocky substrate.

Thought to be native to northern regions of Europe, Asia and North America, didymo originally was found only in cold, clear, low-nutrient waters. Didymo’s geographical and ecological ranges have been expanding, and now also include warmer and more nutrient-rich waters.

The occurrence and intensity of blooms are also increasing. It is currently unclear why.

The microscopic didymo cell produces a stalk to attach to the substrate. During blooms, didymo can produce large amounts of this stalk material, forming thick mats of cottony material that feels like wet wool on the bottoms of rivers and streams. These mats can potentially smother aquatic plants, mollusks, destroy invertebrate and fish habitat, and impact existing food webs.

Anglers are considered an important vector responsible for the recent spread of didymo. The microscopic cells can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions.

What you can do to prevent the spread of didymo:

• CHECK: Before leaving a river, stream or lake, remove all obvious clumps of algae and plant material from fishing gear, waders, clothing and footwear, canoes and kayaks, and anything else that has been in the water and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the site. If you find any later; treat and dispose of all material in the trash.

• CLEAN: Soak/spray & scrub boats and all other “hard” items for at least one minute in either very hot (140°F) water, a 2% bleach solution, or a 5% dishwashing detergent solution. Absorbent materials such as clothing and felt soles on waders should be soaked for at least 40 minutes in very hot water (140°F), or 30 minutes in hot water (115°F) with 5% dishwashing detergent. Freezing solid will also kill didymo.

• DRY: Drying will also kill didymo, but items must remain completely dry (inside and out) for at least 48 hours.
For more information on didymo:

• US EPA Region 8 website: http://www.epa.gov/region8/water/didymosphenia.

• Biosecurity New Zealand website: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/didymo

Scout gets tons of trash out of Halfway River

Scouts and volunteers, organized by Eagle Scout Eric Rasmussen, remove refuse from the Halfway River during spring of 2012

Eric Rasmussen orchestrated the removal of 6 tons of trash from the banks of the Halfway River just downstream of the Bagburn Hill Road. Bridge on the Newtown side Saturday, March 24, 2012.

The effort was Rasmussen’s Eagle Scout project.

Among the items removed by Rasmussen and his volunteers were two car chassis, a transmission, batteries and two old cast iron water heaters came out of the stream and a huge pile of debris consisting of car doors, hoods, car parts and carpets and whole lot of other junk.

Nutmeg TU President Ron Merly helped roll a cast iron heater out of the stream and cut it in half with a Sawzall.

“This kid went way above and beyond,” Merly said. “He spent over 100 hours attending town meetings in Monroe and Newtown as the river splits the border of those two towns. He then spent every day after school down at the site with his uncle and a battery-powered Sawzall cutting up debris so that it could be dragged up a hill and into a Dumpster. He secured the dumpster from the company for free and got them to donate the money for the scrap to the Boy Scouts.”