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WRWA sponsors or participates in a variety of events during the year. Many of these events offer opportunities for volunteers to get involved with watershed issues. The listing below includes some specifics for 2013 events.
Atlantic Salmon Egg-Rearing Program (ASERP): WRWA provided chillers and tanks (and other supplemental equpment) for seven local schools to participate in this program during the Spring of 2013. This year's schools were St. Mary's Elementary, and the North and South Middle (2 tanks) Schools in Westfield, Fausey Elementary in West Springfield, Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, Powder Mill Middle School (2 tanks) in Southwick, and Berkshire Trails Elementary in Cummington. About 300 salmon eggs were delivered to each site in February. Students monitored the hatching of the eggs and will care for the fry until they are stocked in local streams in May or early June. Thanks to Justin Britton, Leo Finnegan, Diane Genereux, Sarah Shearer, Fran Siska, Rosina Songrov, Phil Sousa, Dan Wright and Mike Young for help with the fry release activities.
19th Annual River Symposium: The 19th Annual Westfield River Symposium was held on Saturday, March 23 in the Scanlon Banquet Hall at Westfield State University. This year's theme was "Our Urban Watershed", and speakers explored a variety of topics related to how Westfield and its neighboring towns interact with their rivers. The event, which attracted nearly 150 attendees, began with a keynote address by Mark Cresotti (Westfield's City Engineer), which was followed by half a dozen other speakers or sessions, and wrapped up with field trips to the West Parish Filters off Granville Road and the Westfield Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Atlantic Salmon Stocking: This was the final year of salmon stocking in the Connecticut River watershed, following the US Fish & Wildlife Service's decision to end the salmon restoration effort. We helped support the effort on Saturdays, April 13 and 20, with a particularly strong turnout for the first of those events, when stocking was done along Dickinson and Munn Brooks in the Granville area. On the 20th a smaller crew met to stock along the Middle Branch of the Westfield River above the Littleville Dam.
Earth Day River Clean-Up: Our first spring cleanup was held on Saturday, April 20 to deal with a site that was missed last fall and two others that have since come to our attention. A strong turnout from Lane Construction Co. ensured a successful morning, with lots of material being cleaned out along Powdermill Brook and at other sites. Thanks to Mark Damon (572-9991) for organizing this event.
Kayak/Canoe Demo Day: In conjunction with Wilderness Experiences (Southwick), we held our fourth annual Demo Day on Saturday, May 18 from 10 AM to 4 PM at Hampton Ponds State Park in Westfield. Attendees had an opportunity to test-paddle a variety of kayaks and some canoes, and there was be a slate of "in the water" and "shoreline" programs and demonstrations throughout the day. There was also a raffle for a kayak and other great prizes.
Fish Ladder Open House: WRWA's annual open house at the fish ladder in West Springfield was held on Sunday, June 2 from 10 AM to 3 PM. WRWA Board members will provide tours of the facility, and there's always the chance that a returning Atlantic Salmon will have been captured for attendees to view. Parking will be at 150 Front St. in West Springfield (look for signs along Rt. 20 directing you to the site).
Westfield River Canoe Cruise: About 35 paddlers joined us on Saturday, June 22, for our annual scenic, mostly flat-water, six-mile paddle from the new Great River Bridge in Westfield to Robinson State Park in Agawam. An admission fee of $10.00 per person and $25.00 per family helped cover shuttle service, insurance and beverages and snacks at the end of the cruise, as well as support for WRWA's annual education, recreation and stewardship activities. Registration was from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the parking lot off Meadow Street near the south end of the Great River Bridge in Westfield. Group departures took place around 11:20 and 12:20, and everyone enjoyed the trip. Thanks to Fran Siska for organizing this year's event, and to Phil Sousa, Lynn Bannon, Alan Guagliardo, Gary Marcoullier, Art Sousa, George Reichert and Bill Rose who helped out with various phases of the day.
Storm Drain Labeling: Volunteers have labeled more than 800 storm drains in Westfield (mostly in neighborhoods along Western Avenue and in the eastern sections of town) so far this late spring and summer (during half a dozen work sessions), and have also labeled the central portions of Russell and Huntington. Thanks to Bill Rose, Terry Xavier, Michael Xavier, the WSU Environmental Science Club, several Americorps volunteers (Alexander, Alex, and Jimmy), WSU students (at HOOT Day in early September) and Mike Young for helping out with this project.
Kayak/Canoe FUN Race at Hampton Ponds: WRWA attempted a new event for Hampton Ponds on Saturday, September 14: a kayak/canoe race (for fun) organized by Phil Sousa. Turnout was minimal, but we'll try this again next year, perhaps during the summer and at a different location. Thanks to Phil for his hard work in organizing the event.
Fly-Fishing Clinic: In conjunction with the Western Massachusetts Fly-Fishing Association, WRWA held a fly-fishing clinic at the Rt. 20 turnout in Huntington on Saturday, September 21. Attendees had a chance to learn fly-tying, to try casting, and to identify some of the macroinvertebrates that live in the river. This free event ran from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Thanks to Bill Rose and Mark Damon for organizing!
Annual River Cleanup: In conjunction with the the Connecticut River Watershed Council's "source to sea" cleanup, our annual fall cleanup along the Westfield River and its tributaries was held on Saturday, October 5. As in past years one group (37 volunteers) met at the Westfield Gas and Electric substation parking lot off Meadow Street in Westfield, just east of the south end of the new bridge, and a second group (40 volunteers) met at Pynchon Point in Agawam (the mouth of the Westfield River, where it joins the Connecticut), both at 9:00 a.m. (with work continuing til 1:00 p.m. or so, depending on location). The haul included more than 130 large plastic bags filled with trash, more than a dozen tires, plus mattresses, a sleep sofa, a grill, and many other sizable items. Thanks to Mark Damon (Westfield) and Sheryl Becker (Agawam) for organizing this event.