Volunteers Wanted to Help Stock Connecticut River Watershed
Every year, the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife releases millions of fish fry into the Connecticut River watershed. These tiny fish will live within the watershed for two years, growing and preparing for their journey to the Atlantic. Eventually, they will make their way back to their river home, attempting to make the difficult journey upstream from the salty ocean waters to the calm, rocky riverbeds of New England’s rivers. This journey is filled with obstacles – fish face predators and the even more worrisome obstacle presented by man-made dams, polluted urban river channels, and shallow waters created by human-related changes to the river landscape.
Beginning the week of April 8th the fry releases take place through the spring all over Western Massachusetts, and are essential to the efforts being made to restore salmon populations in the Connecticut River. Volunteers are invited to help out the DFW at fry stocking events, lending a hand in the effort. Participants will become useful citizen scientists, and can learn about the life cycle of a salmon in the process! Studies of the lives of fish can also tie into studies of watersheds, a look at local biodiversity, and considerations of the interrelatedness of natural phenomena and the effect that humans have on the environment when we aren’t careful.
Citizen scientists should be prepared to climb up and down slippery river banks while wearing hip or chest waders, and should prepare to get wet or muddy! Always bring a lunch to fill up on after hard work hiking, carrying equipment, and walking in the river. Participants will meet at carpool sites before each release at 8am. Carpool point varies depending on the release location, and schedules can be confirmed by calling the DFW the night before a scheduled release. For a full schedule and more information on preparedness, visit www.mass.gov.
Helping to stock salmon fry can be an educational and powerful experience for children, and can help inspire them to care for their own environment!
[Photo credit: (ccl) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region]