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  • The clear, cold tributaries of the Connecticut River offer ideal feeding and spawning habitat for myriad of freshwater life. Through our Connecticut River Program, the Conservancy is involved in an innovate partnership with the US Geological Survey and US Forest Service to monitor populations of brook trout and study the impact of poorly designed culverts, dams and road crossings on this native species. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • The U.S. Geological Survey has perfected the use of PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag technology to track fish passage in the area’s intricate network of small streams. Much like a car outfitted with an EZ-Pass, fish tagged with sensors send signals to streamside antennas, helping scientists learn more about their movements. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • In West Brook in Whately, Massachusetts, staff from the USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Lab first section off the stream with large nets. They then send an electric current through the water to temporarily stun the fish. The trout are collected, anesthetized and retrieved from the water for tagging. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • Fish like this juvenile brook trout are then measured, weighed and tagged – a process that takes less than one minute. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • Even on the smallest fish, the tiny tag does not impair its ability to swim, feed or spawn. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • Since this technology has been used on the Connecticut River’s tributaries for 11 years and 10,000 fish have already been tagged, the team often collects fish with an active 'EZ Pass' already in place. Recording their new length and weight provides valuable data on growth patterns. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • Once they’ve been weighed and tagged, the fish are returned to the same stretch of river where they were collected. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • 'Toll booths' like this one are installed throughout the watershed. As each individual fish passes through the culvert, sensors capture the fish’s signal. The data is helping Conservancy scientists learn how many miles of habitat a brook trout needs and what it does when it reaches a less than perfect fish passage. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • With the push of a button, scientists can access the travel history of an individual fish. And, by analyzing which 'toll booths' are most – and least – traveled, they can determine which culverts, dams and road crossings are too difficult for the majority of fish to pass. This data is critical to helping identify the barriers most need of restoration. © Kerry A. Crisley/TNC
  • A New Way for Water, the Conservancy’s newly released plan for preserving and restoring Massachusetts’ waterways, states that an additional 5,000 miles of re-connected streams are needed to sustain our rivers and streams for the future. Read more about other freshwater strategies we employ on the Connecticut River at nature.org/massfreshwater. © Tim Watts
Massachusetts
Connecticut River Fish Passage Slide Show

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