July Update from BRAT
Here’s to the glories of summer in Vermont: sunset walks, jumps into the local swimming hole, riding bikes along the river, day trips to favorite hikes…time spent out-of-doors! Lots of exciting stuff going on; I’ll fill you in on a few bits at a time so I don’t over-fill your inbox.
Since joining the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, BRAT has been making some great connections. The Golden Stage Inn of Proctorsville is now offering a Voluntourism Package — guests who book a stay at the Inn around the BRAT’s annual RiverSweep (this year on Sept. 6th) receive a discounted rate, a bag of home-made cookies, and a complimentary tote bag from the Inn. They also receive a free tee shirt from the BRAT and lunch from a local eatery as a thank you for their efforts during RiverSweep!
Two popular swimming holes are now tested every week for bacteria: Buttermilk Falls on Branch Brook has been officially adopted for a second year by Okemo Mountain Resort. Mike Doran of Okemo, trained by BRAT’s Bill Manner, collects a water sample every Wednesday morning all summer long, then drives it to the Ludlow wastewater treatment facility. It is then transported by courier to Endyne Labs in NH, tested, and bacteria levels are reported, recorded, and posted in time for weekend visitors to Buttermilk Falls.
Greven Field in Proctorsville sits along the Black River below the Ludlow wwtf, and boasts a lovely little swimming hole/kayak put-in. Amy Balogh of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber and Frank Provance of Diamond Realty team up to collect weekly samples and handle them in the same fashion as Buttermilk Falls. Greven Field is in need of official adoption…Okemo’s $500 “adoption fee” covers a whole summer’s worth of testing plus the installation of a beautiful sign on-site at the Falls. The fee can be split any number of ways between co-adopters, so let’s put our heads together and team up!
Latest and greatest — the LineKeeper at Hoyt’s Landing is getting plenty of use and attention! The campers and counselors of the YMCA Meeting Waters Day Camp are taking the summer shift, paddling down the Black River to monitor the LineKeeper every week. They empty the line, talk with anglers, and scout the shoreline for snagged or loose line that could potentially tangle birds and other wildlife or foul boat propellors. All the line and tackle is sorted by BRAT and recycled or disposed of in the proper fashion. The mono-filament line goes to the Berkley fishing company, which in turn recycles it (along with other plastic items) into their signature “Fish Habs” — nifty square “cages” that act as safe zones for small fish in ponds and lakes. Many thanks to John Lambert of Lambert Auto in Claremont NH for assembling the LineKeepers, to Ascutney Mountain Audubon Society for mounting and monitoring a second LineKeeper at Herrick’s Cove in Rockingham, and the kids and counselors of the YMCA camp for keeping an eye on the LineKeeper at Hoyt’s Landing. Stop by and check it out!
Sample-Palooza — the CT River Watershed Council is working with the State of VT to collect samples from all the major tributaries to the Connecticut River, including the Black River. We’ll be gathering a special sample from the lower portion of the river within the next few weeks, testing for nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, to put together a picture of the baseline conditions for the nutrient situation in Long Island Sound. We’ll keep you posted — might even make the newspaper!
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