Androscoggin Headwaters: Young Trout, Young Science
Project Descriptions and Reports
Project Name: “Androscoggin Headwaters: Young Trout, Young Science.”
Project Location: Dead Diamond River, and tributary Loomis Valley Brook (LVB), Upper Androscoggin Watershed, located in Second College Grant, north of Errol NH.
Goals/Objectives/Methods Including Specific Conservation/ TU Objectives:
The Dead Diamond River contains the largest population of wild Brook Trout (EBT) and arguably the best fishery in NH. LVB has the highest production of juveniles in the Dead Diamond River and for this reason we are targeting this brook to determine its importance to this watershed, which will inform future management.
1) Identify key tributary: Radio tag and track movement of over 500 EBT including adult and young-of-year (YOY) EBT to determine importance to mainstem recruitment and thermal refuge. Using migratory patterns determine if dynamic changes at the confluence impact movement and determine need for potential in-stream habitat restoration; 2) Preserve, protect and enhance critical EBT spawning areas by conducting research to determine groundwater influence on wild EBT spawning sites and juvenile growth; 3) Sustain-strengthen TU Mission by providing field research experience to interns pursuing fisheries management careers; 4) Strengthen TU Impact, Education, and Outreach by providing opportunities for TU volunteers from 9 chapters in two states to assist in critical research through scientific presentations and publications.
Scope of Impact and Partners: 1) Tributaries benefit wild EBT in a 200,000-acre multistate watershed;2) Support career opportunities in Fisheries Science; 3) Involve 1000+ TU members from 9 chapters in supporting, following, and assisting in project activities; 4) Partners include NH Fish & Game, Dartmouth College, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and local sportsmens’ associations.
This historic interstate effort, for a small investment, will provide scientific data informing wild EBT management in this unique watershed, and develop groundbreaking tools for identifying and protecting spawning areas beyond the project site.
The upper Androscoggin River Headwaters covers over 3,400 square miles (200,000 acres) in
Maine and New Hampshire, and provides critical habitat for Eastern Brook Trout (EBT). The Dead Diamond, Swift Diamond and Magalloway Rivers and their tributaries form the backbone of the drainage; from below the Aziscohos Dam, the three rivers offer a completely interconnected system of more than 50 miles. The system further benefits from the thermal refuge (summer and winter) provided by the bottom release Aziscohos Dam.
Ammonoosuc River Stream Crossing Assessment Project
We have completed the field work portion of this project. Current activities include modeling of the data and planning community outreach. This is a critical phase of the project in order to address areas identified with the most immediate need to improve and restore connectivity in the watershed.
Nash Stream Restoration
Ammonoosuc Trout Unlimited (TU) members have assisted with the fish surveys and PIT tagging to help NH Fish & Game to monitor the fish population improvements in Nash Stream and its tributaries. The habitat and stream improvements along Nash Stream and its tributaries are a model for work that we are undertaking in the Ammonoosuc watershed.
We are partnering with Plymouth State University and NH Fish & Game to bring Trout in the Classroom and other educational programs to the youth in our communities.
Clean Water/Healthy Trout
Ammonoosuc Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU), New Hampshire Fish & Game (NHFG), Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT), and Plymouth State University (PSU) formed Clean Water/Healthy Trout (CWHT) in 2013. The goals of CWHT center on the idea that what’s good for brook trout is good for all life. We all need clean water; that means protecting streams. This partnership combines biological research, community outreach, and stream conservation to promote local stewardship of natural resources. Brook trout are an indicator species of stream health; their presence or absence in the Ammonoosuc watershed drives further conservation efforts.
Annual Fishing Derby
Our Annual Fishing Derby is held in cooperation with NH Fish & Game and Twin Mountain Parks and Recreation as part of their Memorial Day celebration.
Randolph Community Forest Partnership
We are pleased to announce the beginning of a new partnership with the Randolph Community Forest. The Forest is a protected 10'000+ acre tract of unspoiled land that includes an important section of the Israel River headwaters in the Stag Hollow region of Jefferson. The Randolph Forest Commission envisions a working forest similar in structure to the Second College Grant in the Dead Diamond Watershed. We will be going over previous studies and data to form a plan of action to begin this year. Work this summer will include continued temperature and flow monitoring, fish surveys and culvert assessments. This will lead to applying for grants to complete necessary culvert replacements and restoration work in the near future.