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Volunteers use Christmas trees to reshape the Mill

Gerrald Berrafati and Tristan Wilgan of Monroe make sure last year’s Christmas trees will stay in their new home along the Mill River at the Easton-Fairfield border. — John Kovach photo

Gerrald Berrafati and Tristan Wilgan of Monroe make sure last year’s Christmas trees will stay in their new home along the Mill River at the Easton-Fairfield border. — John Kovach photo

Trout will soon have a better home in the Mill River thanks to a conifer revetment project.

Volunteers from Nutmeg and Mianus TU joined others in the water to anchor last year’s Christmas trees, donated by the Town of Stratford, along the banks to reshape the river.

Click here to watch a video from the project.

Funds came through the Embrace A Stream program, a collaboration of Orvis and national TU, and local showings of the Fly Fishing Film Tour.

Work will continue, with continued removal of knotweed, planting of more native species, and another revetment with 2018 Christmas trees

Click here to read coverage of the project.

Volunteer to help the Mill River Aug. 19

Volunteers are needed on a major project that will improve trout habitat in the Mill River, one of the most valuable and storied wild trout streams in New England.

On Aug. 19, the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited, working with the Town of Fairfield, will reshape the Mill River along Congress Street. Once a meandering stream, the waterway was straightened due to development. Using a technique known as conifer revetment, turns and pools will be restored to a river known as one of the best wild brook trout habitats in Connecticut.

Work will begin at 9 a.m. Volunteers should park in the dirt area across Congress Street from the river. Please be careful crossing. We should be done by noon.

Those who wish to volunteer are asked to click here to RSVP to Nutmeg TU President Rich Rosen.

Using a technique known as a conifer revetment, turns and pools will be restored to a river known as one of the best wild brook trout streams in Connecticut.

Conifer revetments use discarded natural Christmas trees to shore up the banks, collect sediment and reroute the river. Volunteers anchor now-dead evergreens in the water along the banks. There they will trap sediment and build up the bank, extending land into the water and creating a curve in the river.

“This is a great opportunity for volunteers to get their hands dirty and see the direct impact of their efforts as we work to improve the quality of the Mill River as a wild trout stream,” Nutmeg TU President Rich Rosen said. “Already we have mitigated the Knotweed problem and planted native trees and shrubs to help bring the river back to its natural state. We look forward to seeing more, larger fish making their home along Congress Street.”

In the fall of 2017, the Nutmeg Chapter received a $670 grant from the Embrace A Stream program to support removal of invasive species and shoring up of the banks of the Mill River near the Easton-Fairfield border, along Congress Street in Fairfield.

A short time later, donors contributed another $1,860.69 toward the Mill River restoration in TU’s Embrace a Stream Challenge, which rewarded chapters with bonuses for reaching certain milestones and soliciting donations..

Money was also raised when Nutmeg TU collaborated with the Candlewood Valley and Mianus chapters on showings of the Fly Fishing Film Tour in 2017 and 2018.

Help restore the Mill River Aug. 19

An effort to restore one of the most valuable and storied wild trout streams in New England is under way, and volunteers are needed for the next step.

On Aug. 19, the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited, working with the Town of Fairfield, will reshape the Mill River along Congress Street. Once a meandering stream, the waterway was straightened due to development. Using a technique known as conifer revetment, turns and pools will be restored to a river known as one of the best wild brook trout habitats in Connecticut.

Once a meandering stream, the waterway was straightened due to development, which reduces the health of the stream and the habitat for trout and other aquatic life. Using a technique known as a conifer revetment, turns and pools will be restored to a river known as one of the best wild brook trout streams in Connecticut.

Conifer revetments use discarded natural Christmas trees to shore up the banks, collect sediment and reroute the river. Volunteers anchor now-dead evergreens in the water along the banks. There they will trap sediment and build up the bank, extending land into the water and creating a curve in the river.

“This is a great opportunity for volunteers to get their hands dirty and see the direct impact of their efforts as we work to improve the quality of the Mill River as a wild trout stream,” Nutmeg TU President Rich Rosen said. “Already we have mitigated the Knotweed problem and planted native trees and shrubs to help bring the river back to its natural state. We look forward to seeing more, larger fish making their home along Congress Street.” 

In the fall of 2017, the Nutmeg Chapter received a $670 grant from the Embrace A Stream program to support removal of invasive species and shoring up of the banks of the Mill River near the Easton-Fairfield border, along Congress Street in Fairfield.

A short time later, donors contributed another $1,860.69 toward the Mill River restoration in TU’s Embrace a Stream Challenge, which rewarded chapters with bonuses for reaching certain milestones and soliciting donations..

Money was also raised when Nutmeg TU collaborated with the Candlewood Valley and Mianus chapters on showings of the Fly Fishing Film Tour in 2017 and 2018.

Details on where to meet and how to volunteer will soon be posted, but save the date of Sunday, Aug. 19.

More than $1,000 donated for Mill River

Thanks to the support of our members and community, the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited raised more than $1,000 in additional funding for work to restore the Mill River at the Fairfield-Easton border along Congress Street through the Embrace a Stream Challenge, presented by Trout Unlimited and Orvis.

This combined with the $670 previously awarded will allow us to complete the project in the spring of 2018.

Working closely with the Town of Fairfield Conservation Department, we have reduced the knotweed problem and planted hundreds of native trees and bushes.

A regulation change is pending at the state level which would make the area where work is being done a Wild Trout Management Area. By increasing the depth of the river along Congress Street the river will better host the wild trout population.

In the spring we will use these funds to anchor discarded Christmas trees to the banks, where the branches will trap sediment and help form new, natural banks. The riverbanks that accumulate there will reroute the Mill River to its original track, and create better habitat for the native trout.

We invite the community to join us in the spring to help with the tree anchoring. Members and nonmembers are invited to join us at our monthly meetings, fishing outings and conservation events. You can follow us on Facebook or find about upcoming events at our website http://www.nutmegtrout.org and on MeetUp.

Rich Rosen

President

Nutmeg Trout Unlimited Chapter 217