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Working on the Chickley River. December 9, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
Tags: , , , , ,

The Chickley river in Hawley took a massive hit from Tropical Storm Irene over a year ago, and has since been cleared of storm debris and redirected into a channel which doesn’t threaten Route 8A.

But the clearing left the river looking more like a canal than a wild river; Hawley’s head of public works had all obstructions removed, and deepened and straightened the channel. Locals protested, but up here in the Hilltowns, there are plenty of people in positions of power who don’t give a crap about girly stuff like fish habitat and letting Nature be Nature.

Thankfully, several State agencies stepped in and imposed a program of re-naturalizing the river, rebuilding it to where it might not only return to being a viable hatchery for native species, but might also stand a chance of surviving future floods.

Here, an ET&L excavator is replacing boulders previously removed from the riverbed and adding contours to the banks to slow seasonal run-off:


The banks are still a mess, and I expect the raw spots to be colonized by fast-growing invasives like Japanese knot-weed, which was taking hold here before the flood and will likely take advantage of the open space afforded it.

But at least there will be trout habitat, and something in the channel to slow the Spring floods:


This work is nearing its end, and the sad turbidity of the worked-in water will give way to the clarity of winter, only to be followed by Spring’s reworking of what Man has done.

I feel bad for the people of Hawley, many of whom objected to the inappropriate channelization of the river, and all of whom (and their children and grandchildren) will be paying for the bond needed to fix this avoidable mess.



1. Philoking - December 10, 2012

Gotta give credit to the Connecticut River Watershed Council who pushed those several state agencies to act and insured no one wimped out on putting the river back. CRWC’s work is invaluable and folks should consider throwing a few bucks their way as a thank you. Hawley folks should think long and hard about the quality of their elected officials.

2. littlebangtheory - December 10, 2012

Thanks for that hat-tip to those who deserve to be thanked and supported, Philoking.

3. Peter Gill - December 10, 2012

+ 1 for CRWC

4. John Kokoszka - December 10, 2012

Good work on something that is not understood by the general public.

5. TheCunningRunt - December 10, 2012

Peter, thank you. And John, welcome to Little Bang Theory. Part of what I do here is to present this area in a favorable light, showcasing the good stuff and explaining the obscure stuff. I’m glad you found this to be effective in that way.

6. susancrow - December 13, 2012

Rivers do prefer to wander; it’s not about the destination but the journey.

littlebangtheory - December 14, 2012

Well, that’s deeper than My Daily Nature tends to go, but when prompted by more thoughtful folks, I’m inclined to agree! đŸ™‚

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