The MassWildlife-TU Forum: A Report

I finished my morning family obligations and arrived at the MassWildlife and TU Forum just as it started.

It was simply awesome.

First up, they kindly provided coffee and pastries to the 70+ attendees. More important, there were eight speakers, a mix of agency and TU folks, who addressed some critical topics. Fascinating stuff.

In no particular order, here is what I observed:

  • MassWildlife. I really feel that our tax dollars are well-spent. Their speakers were thoughtful and eloquent. They gave up their Saturday morning. Most love the outdoors, and many fish. We all together truly are One Team.
  • Adam Kautza is awesome. He spoke about the drought conditions that our fisheries face. We truly are incredibly lucky to have someone like Adam on our blog team. As you may recall, he is the Coldwater Fisheries Biologist for MassWildlife, and he has three degrees in his field, including a Ph.D.

  • Climate change. So far, there has been a 30 percent loss in cold water fisheries in the Commonwealth! Droughts are happening every two to three years, and the impact of climate change is accelerating. Prediction: the team forecasts 60 to 90 percent loss of cold water habitats. By 2070 to 2099, Massachusetts’s climate will likely to feel like today’s South Carolina.
  • Drought. Last summer’s drought was the worst in recorded history. The impact on the fish? They become confined to small areas and are highly vulnerable to predation and disease. Adam is a member of a Drought Management Task Force that meets monthly and provides water conversation recommendations to the Governor and affected towns.
  • Trout Unlimited. I’m really glad to be a dues-paying member of a group working to protect our cold-water fisheries. I didn’t realize the amount of work that is happening on the ground to improve watersheds and buy land at risk. Wow.

A great event!

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9 thoughts on “The MassWildlife-TU Forum: A Report

  1. Any discussion on the Quninapoxet fish ladder? I would have attended however I had a commitment to helping stock a local private sportsmens club today.

    1. Hi Jackson, the Quinapoxet did not come up in today’s event. There was some discussion about dam removal in general – and the Millie Turner dam removal on the Niss R. in particular – what roles TU and DFW (and other agencies, stakeholders) play in dam removals.

      I actually hadn’t ever heard of any plans for a fish ladder at the Quinnie dam. I have heard that the dam is slated for removal at some point. It’s difficult to say when that will happen however. It’s a sensitive situation because of the placement of the Quabbin aqueduct and the fact that Wachusett is a water-supply reservoir. Feel free to contact me for updates. Dam removals are inherently slow moving procedures.

  2. Thanks Jo great synopsis! However, I do need to clarify that I didn’t develop the Drought Management Task Force I am a member of it. It was created with the development of the Drought Management Plan about 20 years ago but hasn’t been used extensively until the recent severe drought. One of my roles in the Task Force is to lend my observations and expertise regarding the effects of drought on our fisheries. Thanks for coming and it was great to finally meet you in person!

  3. Jo, I don’t know if I just missed you, or maybe didn’t recognize you without your fishing gear on, but I would have said hello.

    I have to echo your comment on feeling good about my tax dollars being well spent in regards to the DFW. I’m amazed by the work that goes on and is often taken for granted. The dedication of both the employees and the many volunteers is inspiring.

    1. Sorry I missed you too! I guess we look different without our gear. I was in the back as I slipped in just after the event started.

  4. 30% loss in cold water fisheries since what time? If this past year, that is truly alarming. Their long term projections alarm me as well and I hope they are wrong, though I won’t be around to see if they are correct or not.

    Hopefully the drought conditions will get better. The recent snow is certainly a helper with that.

    Sam

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