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Watershed Council Plants Trees to Restore Chickley River

HAWLEY — Approximately 400 native trees and shrubs are currently being planted along the Chickley River in Hawley, the final phase of restoration work to repair flood damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011. The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) was hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection, through a public bidding process, to complete the tree plantings.

CRWC staff and volunteers, with Trout Unlimited volunteers, are completing the plantings on May 14, 17, 19, 23, and other dates through the end of May. West County Equipment Rentals is donating the use of backhoe to assist with the plantings. Approximate hours of work will be 9 a.m. to noon each day. Work will take place in Hawley at various sites along Route 8A. For more information about planting locations on specific days, contact CRWC Massachusetts River Steward Andrea Donlon at (413) 772-2020, ext. 205.

The Chickley River, a tributary of the Deerfield River, is a cold-water river that experienced major flooding during the 2011 hurricane. The town first hired a construction company that straightened, dredged, and bermed the river for five miles, some of it through endangered-species habitat. CRWC raised an alarm to state agencies and then intervened in an enforcement appeal. The enforcement action served to get the river channel restored in 2013 and provided funding to plant trees, control invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, and monitor the planting sites.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. To learn more about CRWC, or to join the effort and help protect the region’s rivers, visit www.ctriver.org or call (413) 772-2020, ext. 201.

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