Save Salmon and Seeforellen in Connecticut! Take action by April 1st to keep the Kensington Hatchery open!

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The budget proposed by the Governor has cut the funding needed to run the Kensington Hatchery. This is the only hatchery in the state where Salmon and Seeforellen Brown Trout can be raised here in Connecticut. Closing of this hatchery would not only mean a halt or dramatic decrease in the stocking of Salmon and extinction of a unique strain of trout, but one unique and valuable education program, Salmon in the Schools, will cease to exist and another, Trout in the Classroom, will be in jeopardy. Both the Salmon in the Schools and the Trout in the Classroom programs make Science, Math and Writing concepts tangible for students.

The power of reinstating this funding to the budget currently lies with the Conservation and Development Appropriations Subcommittee, if the funding is reinstated, the budget then moves to the General Assembly. This will be an ongoing process until June. If the funding is reinstated at the Subcommittee level, this does not guarantee that it will stay in the budget. This issue will require vigilance for the next few months. This site will be updated regularly.

On March 25th, the Environment Committee passed Bill 6047: An Act Providing Proper Funding to State Hatcheries. This is great news! But as there are no funding provisions for the next year in this bill, if funding is not reinstated for the Kensington Hatchery in this budget, we will lose Kensington.

I have seen many well-intended people instructing people to call or write to Governor Malloy. At this point, the power to reinstate this funding does not lie with the governor!!

How can I help? MARCH 26 UPDATE

Check the list of members of the Conservation and Development Appropriations Subcommittee below.

IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT of any of these legislators, please contact them by email, phone or letter by APRIL 1st!!!!!!!

If you don’t know who you legislator is click here to find out.

Here are two useful documents to help formulate your message: For a Sample Letter click here and to see the testimony of the Fisheries Advisory Council, Greg Sharp, click here.

Name Party Aff Dist Senate District Towns p=partial Email Phone Room
Rep Mark Tweedie Republican 13 mark.tweedie@housegop.gov (860) 240-8700 4043
Rep Peter Tercyak Democrat 26 Peter.Tercyak@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 3804
Rep Melissa Ziobron Republican 34 melissa.ziobron@housegop.ct.gov (860) 240-8700 2703
Rep Greg Haddad Democrat 54 Gregory.Haddad@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 4115
Rep Roberta Willis Democrat 64 Roberta.Willis@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 1802
Rep Craig Miner Republican 66 craig.miner@housegop.gov (860) 240-8700 4204
Rep Toni Walker Democrat 93 Toni.Walker@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-0394 2701
Rep Matt Lesser Democrat 100 matthew.lesser@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 2405
Rep Charles Ferraro Republican 117 charles.ferraro@housegop.gov (860) 240-8700 4052
Rep Ezequiel Santiago Democrat 130 Ezequiel.Santiago@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 4111
Rep Kevin Ryan Democrat 139 Kevin.Ryan@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 4108
Rep Patricia Miller Democrat 145 Patricia.Miller@cga.ct.gov (860) 240-8585 4033
Senator Beth Bye Democrat S5 West Hartford, Burlington, Farmington (p), Bloomfield (p) www.senatedems.ct.gov/Bye-mailform.php (860) 240-0428 2700
Senator Joan Hartley Democrat S15 Prospect, Waterbury (p), Naugatuck (p) Hartley@senatedems.ct.gov (860) 240-0006 3100
Senator Mae Flexer Democrat S29 Thompson, Putnam, Killingly, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Scotland, Windham, Mansfield www.senatedems.ct.gov/Flexer-mailform.php (860) 240-8634 1800
Senator Clark Chapin Republican S30 Salisbury, North Cannan, Canaan, Sharon, Cornwall, Winchester, Goshen, Torrington (p), Kent, Warren, Litchfield, Morriss, New Milford, Washington, Brookfield http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/contact-chapin/ (860) 240-0445 3204

Contacting via Email

  • In the Subject Line: Reinstate Funding for the Kensington Hatchery.
  • It is best in this case to include your message in the body of the email as opening attachments can be tedious when receiving large volumes of mail.
  • Clearly include your name and where you live at the start of the body of the email
  • Copy and paste from the sample letter if you wish or formulate your own language. Helpful information is provided below.

Contacting them via phone

  • When the aid answers (or voice mail), identify yourself by providing your name and address and let her/him know you are a constituent.
  • Tell them you want them to help ensure that the $195,000 needed to run the Kensington Hatchery is reinstated to the budget
  • Tell them why it is important to you.

Write them a letter

  • Be sure to provide your name and address
  • Identify yourself as a constituent
  • Use the sample letter provided if you wish or formulate your own message. Helpful information is provided below.
  • Remember that if you are mailing the letter is must be mailed ASAP to be received by April 1st!!!
  • Address the letter to:

    The Senator/Rep’s Name

    Legislative Office Building  Room XXXX (Use the appropriate room # listed)

    Hartford, CT  06106 – 1591

Helpful Information for Messaging

In regard to Educational Programs

  • Eggs from Kensington are donated to “Trout in the Classroom” operated by Trout Unlimited and “Salmon in the Schools” run by Connecticut River Salmon Association.
  • The two school programs reach approximately 15,000 students per year in 170 schools throughout the state
  • The programs provide students with a unique educational opportunity and a first-hand look at the growth and development of these two species from eyed eggs to juvenile fish during the January to June program cycle.
  • These school programs, carried out with the help of volunteers, are a cost-effective way of raising environmental awareness in Connecticut’s youth as well as a unique and accessible way to teach science and math.
  • The state’s other two hatcheries — Quinebaug and Burlington — are at full capacity and cannot take on the production of trout and salmon eggs that could be used in the school programs. And in the case of Salmon eggs, neither hatchery is equipped to do so.

In regard to recreational fishing:

  • If you voted for the legislator to which you are writing, it is a good idea to let them know.
  • Kensington is the State’s smallest hatchery, but it is unique in that it supports both the last Connecticut River genetic strain of Atlantic Salmon, and a unique strain of large Seeforellen Brown Trout.
  • The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at UConn projects that or every $1 spent on natural resources, $38 in economic activity is generated. In short, viewed correctly, Kensington is a profit center for the State, which generates more revenue than the operating expenses OPM is proposing to save by closing the hatchery.
  • License fees and excise taxes on the purchase of fishing equipment generates $7.3 million in revenue to State coffers combined.
  • In 2013, more than 1.2 million state-raised fish (trout, salmon) were stocked in Connecticut’s waters.
  •  Anglers went fishing in Connecticut a total of 4.4 million days, with an average of 14 days per angler. Total fishing-related expenditures in Connecticut amounted to more than $436 million in 2011, according to federal estimates. That covered everything from sales of fishing poles and boats to hotel and motel charges for the estimated 65,000 out-of-state anglers who came to try their luck in Connecticut waters.
  • Recreational fishing supports over 4,400 jobs in CT
  • The state’s other two hatcheries — Quinebaug and Burlington — are at full capacity and cannot take on the continued propagation of the legacy strain of Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon, the Seeforellens.

 

 

 

In Honor of Veteran’s Day…..A TRIBUTE TO PROJECT HEALING WATERS by Pamela Moran, Recreation Therapist, Newington Veteran’s Hospital

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“I am so grateful for all of the Project Healing Waters volunteers”.  This comment from one of the Veterans participating in the PHW program at the Newington VA is a sincere message conveying the sentiments of many.  The volunteers have partnered with the Veterans to form a wonderful alliance.   PHW members exhibit professionalism and provide camaraderie through their interactions.  They are teachers to the Veterans as well as mentors, buddies and teammates.

As a group, the Vets have been able to learn to tie flies, cast with a fly rod and understand the many elements to fly fishing.  Most of them have not been fly fishing and were not aware of the techniques of casting.  The PHW volunteers have taken the Vets under their wings to spend time in the ‘classroom’ as well as on the river and by the pond to work together in order to instill a knowledge and appreciation for the sport.  There have been a few who expressed, for one reason or another, that they did not think they could tie a fly.  However, when connected to a volunteer he/she ended up quite surprised and proudly held up that ‘first fly’ for all to view.

Jim Iannone, Program Leader for the PHW program that functions out of the Newington, CT VA writes:  “Since July 2012 the volunteers from the Farmington Valley and Candlewood Lake chapters of  Trout Unlimited have enjoyed ‘serving those that have served’ through the PHWFF program.  We particularly enjoy their reactions to tying their first fly and catching that ‘first fish’ on a fly that they have tied during our sessions.  I am pleased with the success of the program and glad I stepped up as Program Leader to get the program started.  It has been very rewarding to me and the volunteers from our chapters.”

Jim has organized a wonderful network of fly fishing enthusiasts who connect very well with the Veterans in the program.   The enthusiastic group with PHW have been very dedicated to the cause, coming in to the VA on a monthly basis to tie or meeting on the water to help Vets put into play the skills they have been working on together.

Project Healing Waters volunteers with the Newington program are also VA volunteers – they promote good will and positive experiences with their efforts.  Voluntary Service Assistant Chief Joe Canzanella worked with the processing of applications, etc to facilitate the volunteers to function within the VA system.  Joe is also a very active supporter of the program, including driving Veterans to the various locations that are used to exercise their skills.

A Veteran participant, David, wrote:

“This program has many different aspects:   First, there is the fly tying.  While there are accepted patterns of flies one can experiment with their own ideas.  One has to have a certain adeptness in order to be able to construct a fly as well as patience.  Members of the organization are there to answer questions, make suggestions, as well as encouragement.

The real proof in the pudding comes when one is able to see if their product works – does it catch fish?  But who knows, perhaps the water is cloudy, the sun is out, too hot, too cold, or there is a different hatch.  Your fly may work on a different day, or even a different fish!

But what could be better than to be out on a spring or summer day. The sun is warm, there are a few bugs, listening to water as it murmurs along the stream’s bank or chuckling as it flows over the rocks with birds singing in the trees.  What a bonus, if the fly that you tied brings in a fish!”

Another Veteran who has been enjoying the program reflected when asked if she would like to contribute any thoughts: “It helped me to realize I’m a fisherman of men.”  Not only has PHW provided the first opportunity for her to participate in fly fishing, the experience allowed her to catch a fish on her first outing.

Many Veterans have become ‘hooked’ on the program—what a wonderful thing!  And a blessing that the PHW program continues year-round.  This provides the opportunity for the Vets to remain involved throughout the cold and wintry, ‘will spring ever arrive’ weeks.  More reason to keep tying in order to get those flies ready for when it’s finally time to get back out on the water.

Here are some more messages that the Veterans would like to relate about their experience:

“Thanks to Project Healing Waters I got to experience the thrill of catching my first fish”.

“I had never had the opportunity to try fly fishing.  Thanks to the Project Healing Waters volunteers I now have a new hobby”.

“Thanks to Project Healing Waters for all of the outings.  Also for teaching us how to tie dry and wet flies”.

“Fresh air, sunshine and fishing.  What a wonderful combination”.

“Awesome fishing and the volunteers are excellent with assisting.  It is very relaxing to get close to nature and appreciate the resources.  It’s been 20 years since I fly fished – it’s great to get back to it”.

“It’s a great program.  I had a wonderful day.  Fly fishing is lots of fun and I learn something new every time”.

“The Project Healing Waters volunteers are tremendous – very nice, great people”.

Thank you Project Healing Waters for all you have been doing to enrich the lives of many.

The Veterans and staff of the Newington VA truly appreciate your efforts, encouragement, enthusiasm and commitment to this art and those you have touched with your mission.

Didymo confirmed on the West Branch

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DEEP has confirmed the presence of a bloom of didymo on the West Branch of the Farmington River  that has created a thick layer on much of the stream bottom in Riverton between the Route 20 bridge, near the former Hitchcock Chair Factory, and the confluence with the Still River (approximately 1 km downstream)  and along the eastern bank of the river for approximately 200 meters below the confluence.

The angling community should be mindful that didymo can be transported from one section of the river to another on their clothing and gear. Especially on boots and waders.

What is Didymo?

Didymo is an invasive freshwater algae. During blooms, didymo can form thick mats on the bottoms of rivers and streams.

Why is Didymo bad?

Didymo not only reduces the recreational and aesthetic value of a river, but can also be devastating to it’s ecology. The thick mats produced by this algae cover the rocks and disrupt the life cycle of insects.  No bugs = no food for trout.

What can you do?

You can do you part by following a few simple steps:

CHECK – Before leaving a section of stream, remove all obvious clumps of algae and plant material from fishing gear, waders, clothing & footwear, canoes & kayaks, and anything else that has been in the water and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the site.

CLEAN: Soak/spray & scrub boats and all other “hard” items for at least one minute in either very hot (140°F) water, a 2% bleach solution, or a 5% dishwashing detergent solution. Absorbent materials such as clothes and felt soles on waders should be soaked for at least 40 minutes in very hot water (140°F), or 30 minutes in hot water (115°F) with 5% dishwashing detergent. Freezing thoroughly will also kill didymo.

DON’T WEAR FELT! – Didymo is harder to remove from absorbent items such as felt soles. PLEASE DO NOT WEAR FELT SOLES!

TELL YOUR FRIENDS – The word must be passed along to everyone you know who uses the river. For more information including how you can identify and report didymo blooms, you can download the following documents issued by DEEP:

2013 Didymo Update

Didymo Informational Brochure

Kensington Hatchery Funded!

Great news! The CT biannual appropriations bill HR 6350 was passed by both the House and Senate. The bill includes the item of $149,910 for Kensington Hatchery operations. Thanks to everyone who called and wrote to legislators on this issue. It made a difference!

WHAT’S THE NEWS ON STATE WIDE WATER PLANNING?

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UConn’s announcement that it was seeking additional supplies of water for its Storrs Campus in November of 2012, stirred up a bit of controversy and and outcry for better planning for our water resources in Connecticut. So what has happened? First of all, State Representative John Hampton convened a Water Summit in early November of 2013. A large panel made up of several legislators, government officials, industry representatives and conservation organizations met at the LOB to discuss state wide water planning and next steps. Sub-comittees were formed out of this Summit and met several times since the first of this year. The Summit will reconvene to discuss findings at a date TBD.

The University of Connecticut hosted the Strategic Water Resources Planning Conference and Workshop in February of 2014. The conference was attended by over 100 legistlators, government officials, industry representatives and conservation organizations. The event was extremely well facilitated and informative. It is our hope that the momentum contines and we see some progress in this year’s short legistlative session.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

The Water Planning Council already has the structure and involvement of necessary government agencies and stakeholders to move forward with water resource planning. However, it does not have the authoriy and resources to accomplish this. It is now up to the legislature and our Governor to grant these things to the Water Planning Council. It is up to the people of Connecticut to let them know that this is what we want.