Copy of Letter from Pete Diminco

Pete Diminico currently stewards 4.4 acres on the divide of the New Haven River and Lewis Creek watersheds            

Department of Fish and Wildlife,Troubled Rivers,Wild Trout and Policy

             I applaud the Department VF&W and Trout Unlimited efforts for organizing a much needed meeting on March 3rd regarding the future policies, conservation strategies and implementation of angling in this State.  This initial meeting affords Vermont anglers a special opportunity to help shape the future of angling strategies and objectives for our trout and rivers The recently updated 2018 Vermont Management  Plan for Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout is a consummate doc and a must read by anglers.  “This plan serves to update and document the many advances in our understanding of the threats to and management of brook, brown and rainbow trout, as well as changes in public opinion and desires which have occurred since the development of the 1993 Trout Plan”.

            The effects of climate change has been devastating to many rivers in Vermont including my home water of 50 years, the New Haven River.   Founder of New Haven River Watch and past president of the New Haven River Anglers has afforded me a very intimate view of this river.  Since 1991, this river has endured Tropical Storm Irene a Q 100yr. Event, in 1998 a Q500 event and 23  Q2's or higher, well you get the picture! In my opinion this river has reached its tipping point and I suspect many of our medium to smaller size streams need a closer look too. 

            In March of 2012, VF&W fisheries biologists Rich Kirn published an excellent partial assessment report titled: “Impacts to Stream Habitat and Wild Trout Populations in Vermont Following Tropical Storm Irene”.  This partial conservative assessment report estimated 77 miles of stream with major degradation of aquatic habitat due to flood channel alterations.   As stated in the report, VF&W will continue post TSI in-stream habitat assessments.  I feel strongly there is an opportunity here for angling  groups to assist VF&W with  stream side assessments and  in the future with restorative habitat work for  small to medium size  rivers. .  More discussion is needed moving forward finding ways to improve our wild trout habitats in which I am strongly in favor of. 

            This updated 2018 Trout Plan  presents  opportunity for changes in Trout policy and management.  Since the 1993 report, trout anglers demographics have changed and attitudes as well.    Are todays policies reflecting this demographic change?   I “hooked on to” these two surveys quickly.   One survey shows 20% instate and 50% out state anglers are fly fishers.  To date there is no fly fishing only sections on any river in Vermont.  Another survey revealed (50% resident & non-resident anglers) as “very important”for the overall support of wild trout management(no stocking) in candidate streams.   I passionately agree with these respondents in the second survey and even support “catch and release”, the New Haven River had the first in Vermont from 1983 to 1987.  Waters with special regulations help to sustain wild trout and provide diversity  to Vermonts' angling experience.

            Another survey question asked residents what were big problems facing our natural world?  The respondents listed climate change(64%) and fish and wildlife habitat loss(46%).  One objective and strategy stated in this Trout Plan is very encouraging, “Investigate the feasibility of establishing and funding separate staff positions and a separate unit to address the habitat protection, restoration and enhancement goals”.   It costs time and money to fund new programs and positions.  Many States have grappled with budget short falls and short term financing of riverine projects and some have resorted to very creative ideas.  N.H established a fisheries habitat account.  Maine has a wildlife scratch instant lottery.    In 2007, a Vermont Task Force looked into potential revenue sources to shore up VF&W budget shortfalls.  They supported the authorization to create a five year license( may need legislative approval).  The task group estimated revenues  may increase up to $300,000.  This revenue fund could help establish a dedicated trout and river habitat fund or the separate staff positions stated above.

             Going forward, anglers and Vermonters have a golden opportunity  to help our troubled rivers and shape the future of our trout angling policies.  It is paramount this meeting garners  a plethora of ideas that turns  into planning into action.  Let's raise the bar for the future of Trout Management and heighten a call to action to all Vermont anglers.  This important summit will create a new beginning era in trout management.  We as Vermont Anglers have an enormous task to implement effective change and frankly, VF&W has a much more daunting task but  working together “We” can be successful! Vermont is a special place and I trust “WE” will land on the right side of history.

 

High School Scholarships Annouced

The New Haven River Anglers are proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Conservation Scholarships.  These $500 scholarships are awarded at each of the three area high schools for a graduating senior pursuing higher education in a conservation related field.  This year's recipients are:

Ethan Sausville, Vergennes Union High School

Aine Alexander, Mt. Abraham Union High School

Alexandria Johnson, Middlebury Union High School

Bristol Boy Scouts, Fly Casting

Several of our members spent an evening with the Boy Scouts in Bristol. The scouts got a chance to use our clubs fly rods and received individual instruction in small groups.

Trout in the Classroom

This is a Trout Unlimited program in which Vermont Schools under the leadership of Joe Mark have become very active. There are now nearly 90 schools in Vermont participating. Here in Addison County we have 9 schools at present. The currently participating schools are in Middlebury (2), Bristol, Vergennes, Salisbury, Shoreham, Lincoln, and Ripton. Some are private, most are public. They include students from 3rd grade through 9th. In the past we have even had an AP Biology class of 11th and 12th graders. 

To really understand Trout in the Classroom go to their Vermont website  http://vermonttroutintheclassroom.weebly.com/tic-blog

The National Trout in the Classroom website is http://www.troutintheclassroom.org

Introductory Fly Fishing

The program itself is to try to encourage more women and children to join in the sport of fly fishing. We are also interested in helping any beginner get started with fly fishing. Our program is free to those interested. It includes time spent learning terminology and technique such as casting. Then we provide a guide to take the participants fishing to try out what has been learned. We finish the day with a picnic. This program is limited to 12 each year do to the available instructors. The sign up for this has not yet begun. We will put details on the website and advertise in The Addison Independent once our plans are finalized.

 Gerry Nugent explains equipment

Gerry Nugent explains equipment

Green Mountain Summer Camps

A program which helps to send Elementary aged children to a summer camp. The three area middle schools each receive one $250 grant to send one student at no cost to them to the Green Mountain summer camp. The guidance councilors from the schools will choose the student to be awarded this scholarship.

High School Scholarships

We give three scholarships of $500 each to graduating senior students who plan to study Environmental Science. There is one scholarship for Middlebury Union HS, one for Mt. Abe HS and one for Vergennes Union HS. Here again the individual school, not the NHRAA will select the recipients.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Trout Plan

The plan can be accessed through the link below

http://www.vttucouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Trout-Plan-2018-final.pdf

Clean Water Initiative

On April 24th members of the NHRAA and representatives from Central TU, Mad Dog TU and Southwest TU Chapters held an event on the Statehouse lawn to raise awareness of Vermont's clean water concerns with our legislators. Pete Kutzer from Orvis as well as others offered casting assistance to those interested.

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