Sunday June 23, 2013

LENOX

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to join 75 others in attending a community conversation in St. Elizabeth's Parish in North Adams regarding the Hoosic River as it flows through the city.

The purpose of the conversation was to gather community input on the vision of transforming the river's current flood-control chutes into a modernized system that maintains current flood protection while increasing accessibility and connection with the river, along with spurring economic development.

Even though I don't reside in that city, I am interested in hearing about any concepts for restoring the Hoosic River. Being a fisherman, I was especially interested in any conversation regarding aquatic habitat restoration in the flood chutes.

Some of the engineering concepts included flood-control chutes with stepped sides and a narrower channel which would allow the public to go down to the water's edge to sit and enjoy the river; providing abundant green space constructed around the chutes, possibly with hiking and or bike paths which could also be interchanged with development opportunities; and channels that would periodically leave the chute system so residents could interact with the river before it returned to the chute, where floodwaters would continue to be restrained.

If you missed the meeting, I suggest going to http://hoosicriverrevival.org to view the Options Assessment Report.


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These are exciting options which, if implemented, would indeed reconnect the people with the river and give them an increased sense of pride in it. The engineering concepts of the chutes and a good trail system should be a good economic driver for North Adams.

Personally, I was hoping to engage in a conversation about the north branch of the river -- how it enters the city cool, but due to the concrete chutes absorbing heat, it merges with the south branch much warmer. These were also concerns expressed by the state, for they consider it "impaired," too warm in the summer and totally lacking in habitat for fish and wildlife.

I was hoping something could be done about that, but was informed by an engineer that there are no plans for aquatic habitat restoration in that stretch of the north branch of the river. He said it would be difficult there, with the exception of upstream above the dam or downstream below the confluence with the south branch.

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Staying in the Northern Berkshire area, dog owners take note: In a recent press release, officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources' Division of Animal Health are alerting dog owners of two significant Canine Parvovirus outbreaks -- one in northern Berkshire County and the other in Worcester County.

According to the release, dozens of dogs have been affected in these two areas, and several have died or had to be euthanized due to severe illness caused by the virus. There are effective vaccines available, and animal health officials are urging dog owners to check with their veterinarian to confirm that their pets are protected.

Puppies generally require a series of vaccinations and adult dogs may need a yearly booster. All of the dogs that have been infected during these outbreaks had either never been vaccinated, or had only received one vaccine.

Parvovirus primarily infects puppies, but any unvaccinated dog can be susceptible. Dogs usually exhibit symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, including vomiting and diarrhea. Although dogs can recover from the disease if it is detected early and treated aggressively, it can be fatal. The virus is typically spread directly from dog to dog, but it can persist in the environment for several months. Dogs that have been infected and recover can remain infectious for several months.

Canine parvovirus does not affect humans or other domestic animals.

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According to Steve Bateman, the weather for the 20th annual Harry A. Bateman Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby, which was held June 1 at Onota Lake, could not have been better. An estimated 216 people were in attendance, 89 of them children. Some nice fish were caught, including carp which had not been caught in the last two derbies.

The Sportsman Award, a tackle box with more $100 of fishing tackle donated by David & Karen Konde, was awarded to Alexander "Zander" Tardibuono.

The derby winners were as follows:

Children -- Heaviest Game Fish: 1. Joseph Hoiser, Jr., smallmouth bass (3 pounds, 8 ounces); 2. Dylan Lambert, tiger trout (2 pounds, 11 ounces); 3. Cody Phillips, largemouth bass (2 pounds, 7 ounces)

Children -- Heaviest Non-Game Fish: 1. Spenser Davis, crappie (1 pound); 2. Sebastian Noel, bullhead (13 ounces); 3. Jordie Hamilton, bullhead (12 ounces)

Adult -- Heaviest Game Fish: 1. Dave Goodrich, pike (4 pounds, 8 ounces); 2. Eric Moser, largemouth bass (3 pounds, 7 ounces); 3. Tim Golley, largemouth bass (3 pounds)

Special Heaviest Fish -- Bass: Olivia LaFond, largemouth bass (6 pounds, 2 ounces); Perch/Crappie: Jacob Gladu, crappie (1 pound, 4 ounces); Carp: Matt Clark, common carp (12 pounds, 12 ounces); Trout (Adult): John Deane, rainbow trout (1 pound, 10 ounces); Trout (Child): Tim Lambert, tiger trout (3 pounds, 1 ounce)

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Deer hunters wishing to apply for an antlerless deer permit must apply by July 16. Remember, due to the MassFishHunt electronic system, there is no public permit drawing based on the last digit of the hunting/sporting license number, and the DFW does not mail any information to deer hunters. Procedures for applying for a permit and subsequent follow-up to see if you won one are listed on the MassWildlife web site.

To reach Gene Chague:
Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com,
or (413) 637-1818.