From Ron Merly’s desk, May 24th
As I write this report, the state as well as all of New England, could use a few good rain storms. The rain deficit is currently more than 2″ and all of the smaller streams are very low. The Housatonic has just been re-stocked for the Memorial Day weekend but there is a heavy algae bloom occurring due to the water levels dropping so quickly at this time of the year. The upper Naugatuck was recently re-stocked as well but is running extremely low. The Farmington has been consistently stocked and is loaded with trout but the water is very clear and flows are down, making it difficult to catch fish during the day. Mornings and evenings are your best bet but if you are there during the day, fish nymphs unless you see fish rising.
I spent some time up in Vermont this past week and had all intentions of fishing the lower Black River in Cavendish. It was literally puddles so I did not fish. There were some very nice fish in some of the holes, and yet, if I hooked them, the fish would not have any water for them to run, which is why I decided not fish.
I also fished the Pomperaug River recently which is prone to low flows but the river is extremely low at present (I urge all of you to go and see it). The Connecticut Siting Council recently approved the construction of the Towantic Power Plant in Oxford. I can’t begin to imagine how they will be drawing more than 1 million gallons of water out of that river system annually and what condition it will be in during a drought such as this. But it now makes perfect sense to me as to why Governor Malloy merged the Department of Energy with the Department of Environmental Protection a few years back. DEEP’s hands were completely tied on this issue. I suggest writing the legislature on the subject of conflict of interest within these departments being merged as one, using the construction of a Power plant that we do not need as a perfect example. Remember, this affects the Pomperaug River, Sprain Brook, the Weekeepeemee River, the Nonewaug River, the Little River, and the Naugatuck River, the entire Housatonic River estuary as well as Long Island Sound. Power plants are notorious for attracting invasive species due to the warm water outflow.
Newtown recently appealed to Aquarion to pipe water from the Easton Reservoir over to Newtown obviously because they are aware that the power plant will make water scarce in that area. Luckily, it was denied by DEEP but watch out for more of these requests. Meanwhile, the future of the Mill in Easton (Running Brook Farm) hangs in the balance.
Poaching also remains rampant this year. If you witness poachers, call the state hotline, 800-842-4357. I know we’ve all done it with little results but if they receive hundreds of calls, maybe something might change.
Wishing I had better news for the report,
The trout season has officially ended except for the designated TMAs. Opening day has been switched to the 2nd Saturday in April this year so mark your calendars. A few of the open areas on the Farmington have been producing some beautiful browns for those fishing nymphs in these very cold temperatures however most of the state’s streams remain icy or slushy.
The Kensington Hatchery is up on the block for the third time so write letters immediately. The comment period is nearly over. The Kensington Hatchery produces all of the eggs used in SIC and TIC and is the only hatchery in the state capable of raising Seeforellen brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The loss would be a travesty for Connecticut’s fisheries and would also set precedent for more cuts to the state fisheries rather than increasing monies allocated to DEEP.
While you are writing, you might consider writing the Connecticut Siting Council in opposition of an enormous power plant that is proposed very close to the Oxford Airport. This plant will save the average Connecticut customer within a 10 mile radius of the plant approximately $35 annually as most of the power will be sold to residents in R.I. and Mass. The cost of this plant will be six trout streams, the lower estuary of the Housatonic and Long Island Sound.
The proposed Towantic Power Plant will draw more than a million gallons of water annually from the Pomperaug River which is formed by the Nonewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers as well as Sprain Brook. Currently, these streams run very low during summer months. The plant will be built right near the headwaters of the Little River which is right on the fringes of over development as it sits. All four of those streams contain wild and holdover trout. The grey water or outflow from the plant is proposed to release all of this very warm and not very clean water into the Naugatuck River upstream of where a 6.5 million dollar fish bypass was recently completed. The Naugatuck flows into the lower estuary of the Housatonic a relatively short distance downstream. The estuary contains the largest wintering over populations of striped bass in the northeast. This would be a huge step backward for Connecticut as the Naugatuck and Housatonic have come such a long way ecologically.
Remember, there has been nothing invented by humans since the dawn of time that does not break or fail. what will happen when this plant breaks or fails. Would the damage take decades to repair itself or will the damage be permanent?? Either way, this is not good for Connecticut.
– Ron Merly