MA-RI TU Council - Environmental Resources
Loss of Santuit River Brook Trout Response Needed on Nov. 10

The Santuit River in Mashpee has suffered a long history of degradation, from dams in the early 1600s to cranberry bogs in the 1800s and on to more complex influences in the 20th Century. Our more recent impacts have included pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, all compunded by significant water withdrawl due to increased development. Chemicals of Emerging Environmental Concern (CEECs) include hormone disrupting elements found in medications, personal hygiene products and household chemicals have led to lower fertility and altered reproductive rhytms. The final result of all of this has only recently come to our attention, the loss of the native sea run brook trout strain unique to the Santuit.

Steve Hurley, Fisheries Manager for the Souteast District of MA FnW, has been out on two separate occassions to electrofish for trout in the Santuit and has come up empty handed both times. This was hugely disappointing because "The Santuit River was one of the three streams on Cape Cod with intact and self sustaining, stream specific, salter brook trout populations" (Winders). "Well-intended" removal of woody debris to increase herring runs may have been the last straw as this cover is so essential for trout food and habitat and thus trout survival. The few remaining rivers along our coast with searun brook trout populations are critical gene banks to keep open options in future management decisions.

Though this paints a bleak picture for the Santuit, there is the remote chance that a few of these trout are surviving out in our bays and will return to prove us wrong. Though not very likely, we need to recognize the significance of this news and and get involved to preserve what we still currently have.

To take action, get involved with and support The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition . You can learn a whole lot from their website.

To learn more about chemical concerns in the environment see The Silent Spring Institute and for more Cape oriented information see Greencape .

Act H.3690 - Kinder Morgan Tenn. Gas Pipeline Easement in Sandisfield, MA

This bill will lead to the taking of protection from public land in Otis State Forest and Spectacle Pond Farm to allow passage of a natural gas pipeline. Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s two current proposals endanger over 100 conservation parcels, at least 86 of which are protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution.

There is a public hearing next Thursday, November 10th in Boston on House Bill 3690 (I think Section 9 is the source of the problem) which would strip the protected status (Article 97 of the amended Massachusetts Constitution) from land in Otis State Forest, including old growth forest, to allow for the construction of a pipeline spur to provide natural gas to Connecticut. This legislation represents the “camel’s nose under the tent” when it comes to NED. If H. 3690 is approved, it increases the likelihood that similar legislation will ultimately be approved to strip Article 97 protection from thousands of acres of additional protected open space to facilitate the construction of NED.

Please show up to show your voice of opposition to this legislation as it sets a precedent which will only help Kinder Morgan's attemtps to build a much longer pipeline through some beautiful habitats of western Mass.

    General Schedule
  • 10AM Rally at the Grand Staircase
  • 11AM Bill Hearing for protecting lands from Pipelines in the Gardner Auditorium
  • (Anytime between 11AM - 1PM Faith Meetings with Legislators)

Get Involved with The Rivers Calendar Project
Project Updates

How about some chapter news about current or past projects so we can appreciate the successes we have had and get a sense of what people are working on. Please send me a brief write up of a past or current project. Potential topics include:

    Points to Considern
  • Initial Problem
  • Solution
  • Considerations
  • Complications
  • Funding/Volunteers
  • Time period
Any additional materials, photos, or protocols which might help others would be appreciated as well.

Get involved with a really cool citizen science project documenting the presence and development of bugs in your stretch of the river. It's as easy as an app and a quick photo with just some basic other data.

Trout Unlimited, the University of Massachusetts and partners are developing the “River’s Calendar” project, a community science program that examines the impacts of climate change on the phenology of our nation’s coldwater riparian areas. Phenology is a critical piece of the climate change puzzle in these riparian systems and the fisheries they support, as shifting natural calendars in response to warming temperatures may cause damaging ripple effects throughout these ecosystems. Trout anglers will record temperature, stream flow, and seasonal aquatic insect, fish and riparian plant observations while fishing. This information will be translated into detailed calendars of hatches and other riparian life for each river studied – suitable for use by anglers and other river recreationists. This information will also form the basis for an objective, science-based examination of the ecological, recreational and economic value of these areas, and of the magnitude of threats caused by climate and other human-caused land use changes. The angler monitoring network and the resulting data will support TU’s efforts to build broad-based conservation alliances to promote informed decision making on climate change.

The Environmental Affairs Committee - here to help you get things done - websites, articles, and protocols to help improve the waters in our region.
Please contribute issues, solutions and resources by emailing them to me. If you have a good success story of a project or program your chapter initiated, write it up and send it to me with some photos. I'd like photos of fish, rivers, bugs etc. that I can use for the website. These are not only nice to see, but help us have a fresh website that's not made by poaching the Internet.
Send Contributions to John Burns at
Female Adams Black Ant Blue Dun Dark Cahill Olive Elk Hair Caddis The Irresistable

A trout on a fly, what a feeling.
Changes in Cleanwater Act
Please Look and respond!
The Deerfield is about to get a work over. The Deerfield River Watershed Association has been conducting basic water analysis for over 15 years, but things changed a bit when Mike Cole came to town, bringing professional bug ID experience to the Deerfield; AND he's a fisherman! Having joined TU, the Deerfield Chapter is looking to hit the water assessing the impact of fluxuating water levels from dam releases on deerfield bugs. Known as hydropeaking, check out this video of Mike Cole describing this year's study of the Deerfield.

John Burns Profile

I've been a nature nut since I was a kid. Started fishing when I was 3 and could even have a hook on if dad was around. I was fly fishing by 9 and had already fished my way across the country and Canada by the end of that summer. Professionally, I'm a botanist, but for years have been involved in electrofishing, macroinvetebrate sampling, shoreline surveys, dam removal, bank stabilization, culvert inventory, water sampling, and tagging of fish. The rods stay in the car year round and you can find me in just about anywhere in the state.
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