Our focus this past year has been twofold: relicensing for five dams on the Connecticut River, and the Town’s purchase of the Hickory Ridge property in Amherst. I have participated - virtually - with regular LiveStream seminars through Connecticut River Conservancy touching on various aspects of the relicensing process. Two of these dams are in Massachusetts (Turners Falls dam, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project), three are on the Vermont/New Hampshire border (Wilder, Bellows Falls, Vernon dams). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be holding relicensing public hearings this summer.
Concerning Hickory Ridge, that property presently has a golf course on it. It is an important purchase in part because a mile and a half of the Fort River tributary flows through the property to meet the Connecticut River. The purchase has not yet been finalized. It is unclear at this point whether or not there will be any public hearings concerning uses for this property. A solar farm and area of affordable housing have been proposed in addition to protecting and restoring the Fort River watershed.
League members participated in last year’s annual cleanup of the Connecticut River organized by the Connecticut River Conservancy. Last year this cleanup resulted in a total of 34.9 tons of trash being removed from the river and its tributaries. This year the river’s cleanup will return to its usual one weekend only, September 24-26, 2021.
I participated - virtually - in World Water Day, a United Nations designated celebration of water since 1993. Local events included online presentations about local water issues. I also participated (virtually) in the Lobby for the Rivers Day 2021. We met (virtually) with staff for Senator Comerford and Representative Domb concerning critical water measures before the state legislature this year.