Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Durand named to Fisheries and Wildlife Board

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Governor Charlie Baker has named Robert A. Durand, president of Durand & Anastas Environmental Strategies, an environmental consulting and lobbying firm, to the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the five-year term last Wednesday. State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, was one of about 10 Representatives and Senators who attended the swearing in. Smitty said some nice words and reminded everyone of how close Bob was to the late George (Gige) Darey.

"I am so pleased and honored to receive this nomination to the board, which has been a part of my life in one way or another for most of my life," Durand said. "I'm thankful to Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito for their confidence in me to carry out this vital mission to protect many critical aspects of our natural world, and with it, our quality of life in Massachusetts."

As one of the seven-member board, Durand will represent the Northeast Region, Middlesex and Essex counties, and replaces Fred Winthrop, who resigned from the board last fall. The board has various duties, including writing and overseeing all hunting and fishing regulations, Natural Resources and Endangered Species Act regulations, and is the appointing authority for the director of MassWildlife.

I would bet that most Massachusetts outdoor sportsmen and conservationists are extremely happy with Durand's appointment.

Why?

Durand has been an avid outdoorsman and conservationist his entire life, and in 2011 was recognized as such by the board when it awarded him the Francis W. Sargent Conservation Award. Prior to forming Durand & Anastas Environmental Strategies, he served four terms as state representative for Berlin and Marlborough, where he lives. He followed that with four terms as a state senator for the Middlesex and Worcester District, during which he chaired the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, and four years as Secretary of Environmental Affairs, under former governors the late Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift.

During his career as a public servant, Durand forged new bonds between the outdoor and sporting communities and environmentalists, bringing these advocates together to support initiatives that strengthened both. As a legislator, he wrote the Rivers Protection Act and the Community Preservation Act. As Secretary, he protected 150,000 acres of open space, including major bioreserves open to hunting and fishing; helped usher in the nation's first state regulations on coal burning power plant emissions; and oversaw a vigorous campaign to reduce mercury emissions that bioaccumulate in wildlife and people. He also created Biodiversity Days, an annual event that saw tens of thousands of school children from more than 500 schools fan out across the state to learn about and catalogue plant and animal species, and championed environmental justice and environmental education.

Bob has served as the President of the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation and served on the board of trustees for both The Nature Conservancy/Massachusetts Chapter and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

He has received many wildlife and conservation-related awards from various organizations, including Mahar Fish 'N Game Club, Massachusetts Bowhunters Association, Essex and Middlesex County Leagues of Sportsmen, Massachusetts Wildlife Federation, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Gun Owner's Action League and The Nature Conservancy.

Durand is no stranger to the Berkshires. For many years he has come out here to hunt. Ron Smith taught him how to turkey hunt back in the day and Bob frequently hunted turkeys with Gige. He also hunted woodcock, grouse and whitetail with Phil Hiser, Gige and Ginny Acabani and did some carp fishing and trout fishing on the Housatonic with Jay Baver.

Trout stocking

The following local waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week.

Rivers and brooks: Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Westfield River (East Branch) in Cummington and Chesterfield; Westfield River (Mainstem) in Huntington and Russell; Housatonic River (C&R) in Lee and Stockbridge; and Windsor Brook in Hinsdale.

Lakes and ponds: Greenwater Pond in Becket, Littleville Reservoir in Chester and Huntington, Pontoosuc Lake, Laurel Lake, Garfield Lake in Monterey, Windsor Lake in North Adams, Onota Lake and Richmond Pond.

Stockbridge Sportsmen's Spring Fishing Derby

Seventy anglers entered the SSC Spring Fishing Derby last Sunday, which ran from dawn until 3 p.m. at Stockbridge Bowl. For a change, it was rain free, with the temperatures near 80 degrees. The results are as follows:

Adults

Largest Trout: 16 1/2 inches, two pounds, two ounces; Lee Soules, of Lenox.

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Largest Bass: 19 1/2 inches, 5 pounds, 11 ounces; George Hess Jr. of Washington.

Largest Pickerel: 23 inches, two pounds, 15 ounces; Travis Santolin of Lee.

Largest Bullhead: 12 1/2 inches, one pound, one ounce; James Trumps of South Lee.

Age 12 and under Winners:

Largest Bass: 12 inches, 13 ounces; Mason Chamberlain, 6, of Lee.

Largest Trout: 16 1/2 inches, two pounds, two ounces; Trentonn Santolin, 5, of Lee.

Interestingly, for the first time ever they had a tie for the largest trout.

Annual Harry A Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby

The 27th annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby will take place Saturday, June 1 at the Frank Controy Pavilion at Onota Lake in Pittsfield from 6 a.m. to noon. No fishing license is required because it is Free Fishing Weekend in the state. The fishing derby is open to the public, and its purpose is to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Jimmy Fund in memory of Harry A. Bateman, a former member of Central Berkshire Bowman and I.U.E. Local 255 who was well known throughout Berkshire County, and who became a victim of cancer in 1992.

Fifteen trophies and prizes will be awarded to the winners of the fishing derby; eight trophies for the children, four trophies for Adults and three trophies that can be won by adults or children. There is even a special category for those fishing with a bow and arrow. All fish must be weighed in by noon and must be caught at Onota Lake from a boat or the shore. Don't be late! The scales will be removed immediately after noon.

Fishing tackle is given with the trophy prizes with two prizes for heaviest trout. A sportsman award will be given out to a child, which includes a tackle box with over $100 of tackle. The entrance fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 14 and younger. The fee includes food and beverages. All children receive a free gift and a children 5-14 years old will have a chance at winning a mountain bike.

Food tickets will be given for hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages. No alcohol is served at this event. Advanced tickets may be purchased at Avid Sports, Dave's Sporting Goods, and Onota Boat Livery. Everyone needs to register before fish can be weighed in. Individuals must be wearing wrist bands provided at the registration desk in order to receive food and to weigh in the fish.

Remembering Thomas King

Thomas Michael King passed away on May 16 at the age of 72. He had been a director of the Berkshire Beagle Club, a longtime member of the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, the Adams Outdoor for Youth and the Night Stalkers Bass Club. He was the Beagle Club's delegate to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen and was the 2009 recipient of its Sportsmen's Appreciation Award. He was also a volunteer for the Massachusetts Anglers Education Program.

He was an avid volunteer for the annual turkey shoots, work bees, pheasant and rabbit stocking programs, annual youth fishing events and game dinners. He was always performing Beagle Club tasks such as repairing fences, trimming brush and building boxes. Tom was an ethical sportsman whose goal was always to promote youth interest in hunting and fishing sports. He will be missed.

Memorial Day Weekend

Here's hoping you have an enjoyable holiday weekend. Whether you are spending it with your friends and loved ones barbecuing burgers and dogs, watching a downtown parade, decorating graves or spending it in solitude fishing a remote trout stream, you might want to take a moment to remember and thank those who gave so much to protect our democracy and ensure our freedoms.

Gene Chauge can be reached at berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com or 413-637-1818.


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