Tag Results

Mill River planting postponed

Pat Fowler presents a grant from Orvis to Nutmeg TU President Charles Petruccelli and Treasurer Phil Jacques.

Pat Fowler presents a grant from Orvis to Nutmeg TU President Charles Petruccelli and Treasurer Phil Jacques.

The Mill River planting project scheduled for May 22 has been postponed to Saturday, June 4, at 8 a.m.

Thanks to retail grants from Orvis and Patagonia, Nutmeg TU has the funds to proceed with the planting of indigenous plant species along the Congress Street section of the Mill River in Fairfield.

If enough volunteers step up, Nutmeg TU will be able to clean the area as well. Those who can help are asked to email Ed Grzeda at eegrzeda@gmail.com.

Those who attend should dress appropriately — long sleeves, long pants, boots, work gloves, hats, etc. There is poison ivy on the site and biting insects and ticks are possible.

Please be careful while parking and walking on Congress Street. It is an autobahn, lots of German cars traveling at unlimited speeds.

Refreshments will be served.

What makes the Mill River so special and a history of Nutmeg TU’s work and its current status.

Trout fisherman in Eastern Fairfield County are very fortunate to have the Mill River in Easton, and Fairfield, Connecticut. The river is a tail water of the Easton Reservoir. For approximately one and a half miles it runs cool and free to Lake Mohegan in Fairfield. More than half of it is bordered by town property or parks, state forest, or open space. Only a quarter mile is bordered by private property on both sides.  The cold water releases from the dam keep this section below sixty degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.  Thus the stream supports wild populations of brown and brook trout. It is one of eight Class 1 wild trout streams in Connecticut and one of its most urban.

It is unique amongst the Class 1 streams for it flows into an approximately thirty-acre pond ‘Lake’ Mohegan, an old gravel pit which has a maximum depth of thirty-five feet. Brown trout in the stream over the years have dropped down into the lake and put on weight and size. Lake Mohegan is located completely within a wooded open space owned by the Town of Fairfield, which does not allow boats on the Lake, making for some quite remarkable fishing in the fall, when these large browns make their spawning run.

The Nutmeg Chapter (217) of Trout unlimited members understand how fortunate we are. We have wild trout fishing all year long minutes from our homes, thirty minutes at most for our chapter members. The Mill is the crown jewel of our local streams, however, we know we need to protect, restore, and improve it for it to support the ever increasing fishing pressure. Furthermore, we continual advocate for the river whenever it is threatened. We understand this is our responsibility as a conservation organization.

To help meet this responsibility Spring 2013, our chapter developed, and started acting on a prioritized Mill River Improvement Opportunity list. First on the list was improvement of the ‘Congress Street’ section of the river. Paralleling, then running under, the Merritt Parkway you can see GE World Headquarters from this section. (I did mention it was an urban stream.) The Fairfield Town property was unmanaged open space, frequently used as an illegal dump site. It represented approximately three acres of riverside which has about three eighths of a mile of underutilized fishing access. Two acres of which is a sandbar. The plan is to clean up the site, remove the invasive species, Japanese Knotweed, Flying Euonymus, Japanese Bar Berry (one of the deer tick’s favorite habitat), primrose, and honeysuckle. Then replant the site with native species of bulrush, mountain laurel, rhododendron, dog wood, grasses, and under story trees to hold the sand bar and banks. Thus providing a more diverse environment and more welcoming environment for native fauna.

This project grew from a request in 2013 for permission and support from the Town of Fairfield for a massive cleanup of this section. Besides the illegally dumped rubbish and the usual fisherman trash, there was the litter from the nearby gas station and rest area on the Merritt Parkway. The Conservation Departments Manager of Open Space gladly agreed to haul away the collected rubbish. He also asked if we would be interested in undertaking the removal of invasive plants and replanting the site with native species.  Given the site provided some of the most level access to the river, the less agile or young children could easily access the river here, right from one of the areas main side roads.  We realized it was a great place to start our first major project of the last few years. So in the Spring 2013 we started our improvement project with the major cleanup.

Following the cleanup we formed a Mill River task force which put together a plan to get the invasive species under control.  After researching removal of Japanese Knotweed and reviewing the site the task force realized to be effective we would have to clear all the Knotweed from both sides of the river. The work area grew from three acres to five and a half acres, with the additional acreage on private residential land. This increased the amount of administrative preparatory work to get all the permissions lined up. But we did it.  We started June 2013 with Japanese Knotweed cutting and bagging work sessions every weekend of the month. We successfully cut out all the knotweed.

From our research we also realized we would have to spray the knotweed to get it under control. In discussions with the State DEEP Invasive species experts and the Nature Conservancy in Weston, CT.   we found a licensed environmental engineering firm to do the spraying. We contracted for three sprayings performed Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Fall 2014. In the Fall of 2014 the Open Space Manager sent me an email telling me the site was ready for planting. Since then we have continued to cut the remnants to keep the knotweed under control. And of course we have continued our annual spring cleanups of the area.

Now that we have the site preparation complete, we have scheduled a planting for Sunday, May 22, 2016.  For those of us involved from the start this planting has been a long time coming.  If you have time available that Sunday, please come, help with this conservation project.  If you are unable to help with the planting but want to support our improvement efforts on the Mill River you may donate to the Nutmeg Chapter (217) of Trout Unlimited by check or through our website. For those interested in donating go to http://www.nutmegtrout.org/get-involved/donate/ and click the Donate Button on the Right side of the page.

Calendar of Events for June 2016

Stream Cleanup and Planting of new plants Meetup Saturday, June 4,2016,  8 AM on the Mill River, Congress St area.

Join the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited on Saturday, June 4 at 8 AM for the next phase in our Mill River restoration efforts.  Thanks to grants from Orvis and Patagonia, Nutmeg TU has the funds to proceed with the planting of indigenous plant species along the Congress Street section of the Mill River in Fairfield.  This is a culmination of 3 years of invasive species removal to prepare the site. 

Those who attend should dress appropriately — long sleeves, long pants, boots, work gloves, hats, insect repellent, etc. There is poison ivy, biting insects, and ticks on the site.  To ensure there enough tools, volunteers are also asked to bring their own shovels, mattocks, etc. if possible. (no axes or hatchets please).   The chapter will also provide some tools.

We plan to serve a basic grill lunch – hot dogs, water, etc. 

Everyone welcome – TU members, potential members, kids, scouts or anyone interested in helping restore one of our lower Fairfield County treasures – the Mill River. 

Planning to attend?  RSVP on Meetup.com.  Use this link:  Meetup.com RSVP.  Contact Ed Grzeda at eegrzeda@gmail.com for questions or info.  Parking is along Congress St. just west of Exit 46 on the Merritt Pkwy (Route 59 – Easton Tpke/Sport Hill Rd).  A map can be found here.

 Cleanup & Planting 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM.  Stay as long or as little as you can.  Late arrivals are welcome.

 Please be careful while parking and walking on Congress Street.

 Fishing outing is planned for Saturday, June 11, 2016, on the Farmington River.  Kris Mancini will be our contact.  You may reach him for questions or RSVP at oldglorylandscpng@sbcglobal.net

Fly Tying at Chuck’s, Tues evening, June 14, 2016, 7 PM Trumbull.  Contact Chuck MacMath at cmacmath59@yahoo.com .  The fly tying group will meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 7-9 pm.  The cost is $2.00 per session to cover the cost of materials.  Email Chuck with questions or additional information.  All are welcome, beginners are encouraged to attend.  Vises, tools and materials are available if needed.

Fly Tying at Chuck’s, Tues evening, June 28, 2016, 7 PM Trumbull.  Contact Chuck MacMath at cmacmath59@yahoo.com .  The fly tying group will meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 7-9 pm.  The cost is $2.00 per session to cover the cost of materials.  Email Chuck with questions or additional information.  All are welcome, beginners are encouraged to attend.  Vises, tools and materials are available if needed.

How to Catch 500 Fish in the Mill River

February 13, 2016

Kris Mancini, our new Vice President for our chapter, brings decades of trout fishing experience in the Mill River and more.  Kris considers the Mill river as his home water, and over many years, he has managed to fish the Mill over a hundred days a year and rarely gets skunked.  He has quite an impressive photo collection of trout caught in the Mill, including a 22″ Brown caught this fall. Kris fly fishes, and yet, much of the catching success has to do with tactics that will benefit spin fishers, as well as fly fishers.  Kris will discuss tackle, flies, and tactics for successfully fishing the Mill.  Come join us and up your game on the Mill.  The meeting will be at 7 PM, in Port 5, 69 Brewster Ave, Bridgeport, CT.

HELP SAVE THE MILL RIVER IN EASTON, CT

Help Save The Mill River in Easton, CT – By Scott Garland, January 7, 2016 Connecticut Local Fishing News and By Ron Merly of Ron Merly’s Fishing Guide Services

The upper Mill River in Easton, Connecticut is one of the most significant wild trout streams in all of New England. It is exceptionally unique in its characteristic. There is nowhere else in all of New England where you can find a tailwater release Class 1 WTMA (Wild Trout Management Area, containing abundant wild trout and not stocked in more than 5 years) that runs for a few short miles and empties into almost 40 ft. deep thermal refuge. Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) has realized the streams significance and are in the process of changing the regulations from Rte. 59 down to Lake Mohegan to catch and release only, making the entire upper stretch of the stream from the Easton Reservoir all the way to Lake Mohegan one continuous WTMA.

Just below the reservoir is a 30 acre parcel of land that has been the subject of much debate over the years. The land is presently owned by the Town of Easton who bought the property to save it from a large scale development a few years back. Easton is now looking to recoup the money and allow a smaller scale development. The problem is that there is no city sewer in that area and all of the waste, run-off etc. from any development would need to go into the ground which will eventually pollute the river and kill off a population of brook trout that have thrived in that river since the last glacier.

Please show your support in helping keep the Mill River and the natural habitat that thrive in its’ waters by signing this petition and not allowing any type of development by the State of Connecticut or the Town of Easton.

How you can take become involved and take action:

  1. Follow this link http://www.fishingnortheast.net/connecticut-local-fishing-news/help-save-mill-river-in-easton-connecticut/ to sign the online petition and leave a comment.
  2. Email cfe@citizensforeaston.org to receive updates.
  3. Attend Board of Selectmen meetings (bi-monthy; agendas posted on Town of Easton website)

4. Write the Easton Selectmen: First Selectman Adam Dunsby, adunsby@eastonct.gov; Selectman Scott Centrella, carriecolangelo@optonline.net, Selectman Robert Lessler, rlessler@eastonct.gov and BCC cfe@citizensforeaston.org