December 18, 2018

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Old 05-27-2018, 02:35 PM
Cree Cree is offline
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Default Connecticut River under threat

I wrote this letter to an advocate and liaison regarding the immediate threat the CT River is under. Please read this and forward to people you know who may be interested and or you yourself can contact the Hanover Conservancy or Ron Rhodes or the CT River Conservancy (413) 772-2020

Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns in regards to the health and safety of The Connecticut River here in the Upper Valley.

I have been an avid angler recreational enthusiast of this water resource for many years. The operation of the Wilder Dam had until its recent relicensing, been a very reliable and safe area to recreate.

In the last year the schedule by which everyone relies on has been entirely unpredictable and rarely if ever follows the stated schedule of water release

This poses a dangerous and grave safety risk for all but disproportionately for those who are unaware they can no longer rely on the information available regarding water release and flow rates. What once was consistent sensible schedule is anything but today. There are elderly and children who regularly play, canoe, fish, and swim the river unaware that the current schedules are entirely unreliable and inaccurate

In addition to safety, there is measurable environmental damage that has changed the bed of the river due to mass erosion. The river bed once was rocky, ridden with logs, aquatic fauna, and deep pools and holes where fish find relief from the high temperatures of summer. Home to fish eggs, green mayfly hatches, and all varying aquatic organisms is now barren of logs and the rocky bed has been filled with so much river bank sand, you can wade to the middle of the river at low flow which was unthinkable in the spring a year ago.

The river bank itself is higher than ever before and some 30feet from where it was a year ago. All manner of trees which once hung down into the river, their strong roots clinging to the bank for years have been swept away by the unnatural erosion from the new Wilder Dam releases. These trees provide homes to birds and or shelter to other aquatic organisms. Having survived many floods, winter runoffs, and storms they no longer provide for the ecosystem creating yet another stress for wildlife.

The side of the river bank once was hard packed sand is now deep mud. An unusual uncharacteristic attribute of the Connecticut River. Undoubtedly the resource for life in the river is under threat and I would expect a high impact on what was once a surprisingly healthy and strong ecosystem be all but dead shortly

Reports of Walleye taken this spring were record low. The same goes for trout and other game fish. I myself have failed to find any crayfish or other species that are regularly found on the Connecticut River.

Every person I’ve encountered on the river has raised their concerns about the safety of the flows and how unreliable the schedule is compared to what it used to be. In time others will connect the dots on why there are no longer fish to be had. Undoubtedly a tragedy will occur when a person or persons is caught in an unexpected release.

I intend to make this information public in all forms of media and provide pictures of comparisons. I’m certain my efforts will resonate with locals and there will be public pressure as to why the management of the Wilder Dam is quietly unnecessarily killing a financial, environmental, recreational resource of the Upper Valley

Last edited by Cree; 05-27-2018 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:39 AM
LL Salmo's Avatar
LL Salmo LL Salmo is offline
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Unfortunately, there are a number of dams being operated without concern for anything but money. The dam on the Magalloway operated by Brookfield Power has been erratic with forecast flows of 200 cfs, but upon arrival is flowing at 400+ cfs making fishing certain areas very difficult and turning fish off. Very frustrating after a 2 hour drive. Not sure who has leverage on these dam operators to operate more reasonably and safely.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:40 PM
Katz Katz is offline
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Hi Cree,

Yes you are absolutely right. Even though I have only been observing the CT river from an angler's point of view for the past 5 years or so I too have noticed the bank erosion and specifically the lack of crayfish. I have seen just one so far this season. Thank you for the post.
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:56 PM
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Hunter Dan Hunter Dan is offline
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Thanks for posting this Cree!!! For ten years I lived a stone's throw from the CT in the Upper Valley area and fished it all the time for walleye, bass, pike, etc. For the past 12 years that I've been in south-central NH I've not been back to fish that section of the CT as often as I'd like - but I still get up a few times a year. I've been annoyed with the way the new owner's of the Wilder Dam are controlling the flows. I've experienced strange water levels and flows - either very high and fast or very low - just about every time I've been up there between May and October over the past few years. I've not seen all of the other negative impacts that you've mentioned but I do believe that they are happening, and happening worse the closer you get to Wilder Dam - either upstream or downstream from it. I would be interested in helping in any way I could to get the word out. And since I'm a member of the New England chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers - I bet I could get them to look into this and maybe take it up as an issue.
https://www.backcountryhunters.org/
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