• The Deerfield River is tributary to the Connecticut River, depicted here in Thomas Cole's famous 1836 painting

  • The Deerfield River in its floodplain eroding through the red sandstone that makes up Mount Sugarloaf.

  • Swimming hole on the Deerfield (photo: Art Schwenger)

  • Rafters enjoying a summer day on the river (Photo: Art Schwenger)

  • Sunset during December over the Deerfield Valley (photo: A Schwenger)

  • Autumn along the Deerfield RIver

November 2013 Meeting Minutes

DRWA Meeting Minutes November 19, 2013 in Shelburne Falls MA

 Attending: Board Members Richard Quinn, Rob Creamer, Michael Cole, Mark Burton, Robert May, Brian Yellen (presiding), Johanna Castilla (keeping Minutes), Polly Bartlett, Muriel Russell and guest Mitch Colby.


Minutes Approved for October 2013 as circulated via email (Board)-A paper copy will be brought to each meeting for review for Muriel.

Mail Distribution (Joah)-In the mail DRWA received a request to  become a member to the River Alliance as well as the Franklin Land Trust. The Board agreed, that given our modest budget as well as our mission, it would be more fruitful to build partnerships and work on collaborations on meaningful projects together. Brian will be writing a letter to both of these organizations expressing this, thanking them for sollicting us, as well as inviting them to attend a Board Meeting.

Treasurer’s Report (Mark)-DRWA is lean on expenses and needs to find a way to increase funds as our savings are slowly decreasing.

Introducing Mitch Colby (Polly)-Mitch works and lives in Shelburne Falls, he volunteers at the Trolley Museum. He studied aquatic biology in Minnesota. He would like to volunteer his skills and ideas with DRWA. His email is sand_pontil@yahoo.com

Fisheries Interest Group (Robert and Mike)- This group was created about a year and a half ago in an effort to work with and understand more closely the dam systems at TransCanada and Brookfield Power, this group came together after the LIHI recertification process came into question by DRWA and Matt Cole of TransCanada expressed the need for a closer rapport in order for better understanding of the conditions and circumstances surrounding this recertification and also to establish a better rapport with interested groups. The group consists of two reps from TU, two reps from DRWA, one rep from TC and two from Brookfield. Issues that are raised are:  (1) the possibility of creating a third release plateau between the 50 to 7/900 cfs release of about 150 to 300 cfs, to remain at this amount for about fifteen minutes before the total release. It is uncertain at this time whether this is something that the power companies can or are willing to do depending on their constraints. (2) issue in question is related to safety, like creating a warning system down the river at release time, as well as making sure the website is up to date on accurate dam releases (3) lastly is access to recreational fishery and creating predictable low water in the mornings and evenings a few days a week. TU has a very specific and steadfast agenda that is fast moving in relation to improving the cold water fisheries and also improving the ecology and have made it clear that they are not supportive of the fishing aspect even though DRWA argues that they are not mutually exclusive, and that DRWA also supports the same goals of protecting ecology and improving cold water fisheries as well. The two Boards need to come together to try to work as partners in order to approach the power companies in a united way so that their requests are more likely to be met. When meeting with TU DRWA will validate the topics that they do agree upon and ask about their urgency in taking action (letter of requests drafted for the power companies already) that DRWA would like to understand. Mark as a liaison between these two orgs has agreed to be a part of this discussion, Robert and Mike plan to attend the next TU meeting this Thursday. Motion approved for Mike and Robert to continue attending FIG and supporting their approach and choice of issues to be addressed.

M&M Trail (Polly)-The lower part of Bardwell Ferry, on the South River, there is a big wash out area, also on the lower part of the Mahican/ Manadnock Station Grounds there is another wash out, the area around Polly’s Bridge is eroded. Matt Cole of TransCanada will help finance the building of a stairway using stone piers and fiberglass steps, the trail will be modified, a detour will be made.

DRWA Suppport of UMASS Grant (Brian)-The Dept. of Engineering of UMass has submitted a grant proposal studying frequency of high flows and mitigation strategies. DRWA has supported the grant via Brian.

Bill About Water Rights (Brian)-As circulated via email, DRWA has opposed a bill that would allow ski resorts and land owners to indiscriminate water access and use.

Geology/Geography Collaboration Research Project at UMass- Christine Hatch and E. Vogel are studying fluvial geomorphologic erosion in order to find ways to bolster resiliency, their focus is on the Deerfield river watershed. They will be leading a field trip along with the stakeholders, they will be providing a science hike, handing out outreach education material. They will do an additional science hike for Riverfest (needs to be scheduled for Sunday). DRWA can be heavily involved in this project. This project will be studying three different stream orders and visiting on foot the following locations: The Deerfield at the Mohawk State Forest (unimpacted wide open flood plain), the Cold River (delta deposit) and Black Brook.

Meeting Adjourned 9 pm.