Rebecca Quiñones, the rivers and streams project leader at MassWildlife, shared her expertise and ongoing research into the changes already happening in our cold-water streams. A startling fact is that temperatures are increasing faster in the northeast US than any where else in the country. The prevailing winds warm up as they cross the continent, and then the large ocean mass is cooler, not allowing the heat to shift away from the land. In central Massachusetts this means more stress our our cold-water fisheries as water temperatures rise even a modest amount. When water levels drop (like last summer) so far that fish can’t move up and down stream, that causes additional stress.
We talked about ways we can help. A principle way is to ensure that our streams stay connected to one another. Poor culvert design, which block fish passage from one side of the road to another, can hamper fish movement. There is already information about which culverts in the East Quabbin region are most in need of re-working. Various members were going to check out different areas to see if we can make improvements in our region.